Friday, October 26, 2012

Friday’s Film: Northanger Abbey


A tale of intrigue, adventure and romance, this enchanting, remastered dramatization captures the romance of Jane Austen’s classic novel Northanger Abbey.


The setting is eighteenth-century Bath, a society of decadence and deceit, into which Catherine Moreland arrives bursting with freshness, integrity, and a passion for macabre gothic novels. In a time when materialism, not love, governs marriage, Catherine’s head is full of fantasy and fiction, of maidens being abducted to sinister castles and heroes riding to the rescue on white horses. When romantic Henry Tilney invites her to his ancestral home, Northanger Abbey, a dark mystery starts to unfold that makes her blood run cold. Are her fantasies coming true? What does the brooding General Tilney want from her and will the truth destroy her chance for love…?

movie review

One cannot do a Jane Austen—inspired chills and thrills week without having Northanger Abbey as the Friday Film.

I have been a bit hesitant to watch the movie adaptations of Northanger as I have heard poor reviews of both adaptations. When BBC America Shop offered me a review copy of the 1987 edition, I jumped at the chance to review it.

imagesCAXCPYGJ Remastered in 2004, this adaptation of Northanger Abbey originally aired on Masterpiece Theatre. I will admit the producers and the screenwriters failed to understand and convey the satire that Northanger is known for but the authentic Bath locations and brilliantly done costumes were spot on.

That aside, I found that I really enjoyed watching this adaptation.imagesCA7515PD The characters—even though I felt that actors portraying them were a bit too old—truly made the film believable. And the authentic settings of Bath gave the movie a truer feeling. However, I wished they would have found a different setting for Northanger Abbey that had more of the feel of a gothic abbey.

Overall I would watch this film again.

Fun Facts:

bodiam Bodiam Castle, Bodiam, East Sussex severed as Northanger Abbey

no 1 Number One, Royal Crescent, Bath served as the Allens’ bath lodgings

Mrs. Morland wears a striped muslin dress, which was worn in the 1996 adaptation of Emma by Harrit Smith, by Susan Price in the 1999 Mansfield Park, and by Marianne in the 2008 Sense and Sensibility.

You may purchase a copy from BBC America Shop HERE


Movie Details: Starring: Peter Firth and Katherine Schlesinger, Release Date: 1987 rereleased in 2004, Run Time: 90 minutes, Source: BBC Shop America

Until We Meet Again,

angela new

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mr. Darcy’s Bite by Mary Lydon Simsonsen

ppwdarcybite[5]MR. DARCY HAS A SECRET…

Darcy is acting rather oddly. After months of courting Elizabeth Bennet, no offer of marriage is forthcoming and Elizabeth is first impatient, the increasingly frightened. For there is no denying that the full moon seems to be affecting his behavior, and Elizabeth’s love is going to be tested in ways she never dreamed…

Darcy has more than family pride to protect: others of his kind are being hunted all over England and a member of Darcy’s pack is facing a crisis in Scotland. It will take all of Elizabeth’s faith, courage, and ingenuity to over come her prejudice and join Darcy in a Regency world she never knew existed. (from the back of the arc)

 book reviewFYI: Book review appeared on Royal Reviews

My first thought after reading the blurb:

Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley a werewolf…this could be interesting! Although the blurb on the back of the arc is a bit misleading as I thought that the novel would be about someone hunting down werewolves.

My Thoughts:

I love adaptations of Pride & Prejudice, although when it comes to paranormal versions of the novel I am a bit hesitant. The storyline needs to be believable, one misstep in the believability and the novel goes down the drain, and I am happy to report that Mr. Darcy’s Bite was believable. What I am about to say may sound a bit odd, but I can truly see Mr. Darcy as a werewolf. That would explain his character traits, so I believe that this type of paranormal fits better than the others that I have read.

I had previously read and enjoyed A Wife for Mr. Darcy so when I started reading Mr. Darcy’s Bite, I was happy to see that the characters of Darcy and Elizabeth remained the same, other than the whole I’m-a-werewolf-can-you-still-love-me aspect of it.

I do have one complaint about this book-it could have been longer, although I may just be saying that because I never wanted this novel to end.

Overall, Mr. Darcy’s Bite was an adorable paranormal take on the love story that is Darcy and Elizabeth. If you want an amazing addition to your P&P collection, then you definitely need to give this book a go.

Until We Meet Again,

angela new

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange


 p7p7v 6691280


My hand is trembling as I write this letter. My nerves are in tatters and I am so altered that I believe you would not recognize me. The past two months have been a nightmarish whirl of strange and disturbing circumstances, and the future…

I am afraid.

If anything happens to me, remember that I love you and that my spirit will always be with you, though we may never see each other again. The world is a cold and frightening place where nothing is as it seems.  (from the back of the book)

book review

My Thoughts:

This is the honeymoon tour that never ends…it goes on and on my friends. The author started writing it not knowing when to end (or when to include paranormal themes or fresh conversation or much else for that matter)…Everybody sing now! This is the honeymoon tour that never ends…

Pardon the little impromptu sing-along but in all honesty that was first thing that came to mind upon finishing the novel.

As a fan of Amanda Grange’s Austen-inspired work, I was eager to sink my teeth into this novel. When I won a copy from Sourcebooks, I was as happy as a lark. However, when I started reading the book my happiness soon evaporated.

Nothing—and I mean nothing—really happened in this book. It is filled with a lot of ‘do you remember when this happened or when I said this snarky comment or you said that prideful thing’ and not much else. While the author tried to add mystery and aloofness to the character of Darcy it made him seem disconnected.

As for the paranormal aspect, it didn’t really appear until page 209 and when it did appear it was weak at best and then it was over in the blink of an eye. It was more like a blip on the radar rather the subject of the book and considering that the been was titled Mr. Darcy, Vampyre I was extremely disappointed. If I was looking at this solely as a Regency romance it would have been okay read—just okay nothing more nothing less, but looking at it as a paranormal read it was a flop.

While I highly recommend Amanda Grange’s other Austen-inspired novels, I am afraid that Mr. Darcy, Vampyre is a look before you leap kind of book and I strongly recommend potential buyers to check this book out at their local libraries or borrow it from a friend before actually buying the book.

Overall thoughts: No gore and a lot of bore.

Cover thoughts: Was expecting so much more given the drops of blood and cameo with two bite marks in the neck.

Fun Fact:

What I did find amusing was the fact Darcy’s Uncle was named Count Polidori. Although not a Count—or a vampire—John William Polidori, doctor to Lord Byron, wrote The Vampyre, the first story that successfully infused elements of vampirism into literature.

The Vampyre was written in the summer of 1816 at the Villa Diodati. Having been kept indoors due to incessant rain, Lord Byron challenged his guest, which included Polidori, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, and Claire Clairmont to write a work of Gothic fiction. Not only did this writing session produce the first vampire novel, it also produced Frankenstein, also known as The Modern Prometheus.

Book Details:

Title: Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, Author: Amanda Grange, ISBN: 978-1-4022-3697-6, Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark $14.99 U.S./$18.99 CAN/£7.99 UK, Format I read: Trade Paperback, Source: won the book in a giveaway

Until We Meet Again,

angela new

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Vampire Darcy’s Desire by Regina Jeffers


4300886922_0feda4355f Tormented by a 200-year-old curse and his fate as a half-human/half-vampire dhampir, Mr. Darcy vows to live forever alone rather than inflict the horrors of life as a vampire on an innocent wife. But when he comes to Netherfield Park, he meets the captivating Elizabeth Bennet.

As a man, Darcy yearns for Elizabeth, but as a vampire, he is also driven to possess her. Uncontrollably drawn to each other, they are forced to confront a "pride and prejudice" never before imagined--while wrestling with the seductive power of forbidden love. Meanwhile, dark forces are at work all around them. Most ominous is the threat from George Wickham, the purveyor of the curse, a demon who vows to destroy each generation of Darcys.

Written in authentic Austen style and faithful to its Regency-era setting, Vampire Darcy's Desire retells the greatest love story of all time in a hauntingly imaginative fashion. (from the back of the book)

book review

FYI: This review was previously posted over on Royal Reviews

My thoughts:

I have often noticed that when Pride & Prejudice turns paranormal it either shines or falls flat, there is no middle when dealing with this type of spin-off. The author must construct a storyline that is paranormal yet believable while maintaining the elements Jane Austen infused into the character as well as the novel.

In Vampire Darcy’s Desire, author Regina Jeffers ups the ante even more by basing the core of the plotline on the traditional Scottish ballad “Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender”. I was half expecting to fling this novel against the wall, although I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how well this novel was composed.

Over all: I rather enjoyed this novel and found that the elements fused together quite nicely without feeling forced or impossible to believe. Although if the novel were to stand with just the paranormal spin-off quality, without the addition of the ballad I am not sure that I would have enjoyed it as much. For me, it was the incorporation of the ballad that sold it.


Book Details: Title: Vampire Darcy's Desire, Author: Regina Jeffers, Publishers: Ulysses Press ISBN: 978-1-56975-731-4. Format: Paperback $ 14.95

Until We Meet Again,

 angela new

Monday, October 22, 2012

Halloween Traditions of Regency England


imagesCAQ65B79It may come as a surprise to learn that the customs and traditions that we associate with Halloween have their roots deeply embedded in Celtic culture. The early Celts had only two seasons Spring, or Beltane as it was called, beginning at dawn on the 1st of May and Winter, or Samhain (sow-ain) .

Samhain, also known in Scots Gaelic as Oidhche Shamhna, or End of Summer Festival, was celebrated in the dark on the 31st of October. The Celts would build bonfires in hopes that they would please the sun and it would once again return at Beltane as well as rid their lands of evil spirits. Oidhche Shamhna, or Samhain as it is now known, was also the end of the Celtic year.

This was believed to be a time when the veil between the seen and unseen world was at its thinnest and the past and present merged. Doors and windows were left unlocked so that the spirits of the dead who had crossed over from the otherworld could come and enjoy the festivities or warm themselves at their former hearth. Food and drink were put out on the doorsteps for ghost during the remembrance feast and the living were forbidden to touch it. Although, representatives of the “silent community”, which comprised of the poor and needy, would walk door-to-door, chanting a rhyme such as the traditional Celtic “Soul Cakers Song”, which goes as following:

“Soul, Soul for a Souling Cake; I pray, good missus, a Souling Cake; Apple or pear, a plum or a cherry; Any good thing to make us all merry.”


They often received flat, round buns of oat flour, called Dirge Loaves. If you complied with the ritual you were honored with good fortune in the New Year, if you did not you often awoke to find that that a nasty trick had been played upon you or that your garden had been destroyed.

The Celts could not predict who would come to their home on Oidhche Shamhna, so they would disguise themselves to trick malevolent ghosties, bogles, and kelpies. They would also ware protective charms to aid them in their trickery.

In the Eighth century Pope Gregory III intentionally united the Christian All Saints’ Day to the Celtic Oidhche Shamhna. Where previous Popes had tried to stamp out the Celtic traditions Pope Gregory III found a way to incorporate them into the Christian holiday. Although some traditions fell by the wayside, the major of the customs survived and have transformed into the ones we see and practice this very day.

The tradition of begging for Soul Cakes became away to remember lost ancestors and each one that was ate by the poor now represented a soul freed from Purgatory. Today it has molded into the sugar-filled tradition called beggars night or trick-or-treat.

Disguising still took place although they were no longer to hide from the evil spirits they became a way to honor Saints, as I sit and write this a multitude of costumed children parade down the street practicing this time-honored tradition. Bonfires are still lit although they are no longer used to summons the return of spring, they now are use to roast marshmallows, welcome cold weary travelers and remind us of the season.

While Ireland and Scotland kept with these traditions, England tended to shy away from them. During the Regency period, the customs of All Hallows Eve were mainly kept to the country folk if practiced at all.

The American Almanacs did not include Halloween as a holiday until the early 19th century. The transatlantic migration of nearly 2 million Irish following the Irish Potato Famine (1845-1849) finally brought the tradition to the United States. Scottish traditions trickled down from Canada.

Here are a few more examples of the customs that have Celtic roots that would have been used in Regency Scotland and parts of rural England.

Pumpkin Carving


In Scottish tradition, pumpkin carving can be traced back to the time of Druids who’d gather at Carlinwark to sacrifice  their enemies. They would then carve neeps, or turnips as we call them, and place a lit candle inside to chase away the powers of darkness.

imagesCAPRF0P3On All Hallows Eve, Irish children would carve out turnips, potatoes, beets, or gourds, and place a light in them to ward off evil spirits and keep Stingy Jack at bay. These were called Jack’s Lantern- the original Jack O’Lantern.

Who was Stingy Jack?


Irish legend tells the tale of Stingy Jack, a miserly drunkard, banned from heaven and barred from hell due to a nasty trick he played upon the devil. Condemned to wander the earth for eternity, Jack snatched a coal from hell and thrust it into a turnip to light his solitary way.

When the Irish and Scottish immigrants came to America, they discovered that the American pumpkin was easier to carve.

imagesCAJBEVYKDunking for apples was also a custom that came from Auld  Scotland. They old wives would say that if you captured an apple between your teeth on Hallowmas Eve you would have the power to see the days to come.

Nut Crack Night—one of the known Regency customs—hzwas  when you would throw two hazelnuts into the fire, one named for you and the other named for the one your heart desires. You would then say the rhyme, “If you hate me spite and fly. If you love me burn awa.” If the nuts burned side-by-side, he was the one for you. If the nuts fly apart, you two were meant to be apart.

Until We Meet Again,

 angela new

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Sunday Post—First Edition



Upon that night, when fairies light On Cassilis Downans dance, Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze, On sprightly coursers prance; Or for Colean the route is ta’en, Beneath the moon’s pale beams; There, up the cove, to stray and rove, Among the rocks and streams To sport that night.

Among the bonny winding banks, Where Doon rins, wimplin’ clear, Where Bruce ance ruled the martial ranks, And shook his Carrick spear, Some merry, friendly, country-folks, Together did convene, To burn their nits, and pou their stocks, And haud their Halloween Fu’ blithe that night.

The lasses feat, and cleanly neat, Mair braw than when they’re fine; Their faces blithe, fu’ sweetly kythe, Hearts leal, and warm, and kin’; The lads sae trig, wi’ wooer-babs, Weel knotted on their garten, Some unco blate, and some wi’ gabs, Gar lasses’ hearts gang startin’ Whiles fast at night.

                     ~HALLOWEEN by Robert Burns

You will find the entire poem HERE

Hello My Lovelies,

I hope that this post finds you all well and warm and equipped with a stack of Jane Austen, or Austen-inspired, novels.

What a cold and drizzly week it has been here! Yet I suppose, dear readers, it is a rather fitting way to herald in autumn and kick-start Addicted to Jane Austen’s two weeks of Thrills & Chills. Plus this nasty weather gives me an excuse to curl up with a stack of Austen-inspired books and watch a movie or two (or my complete collection of Austen adaptations, but were not going to talk about that).

My town goes to the extremes for Halloween—they deck out the historical homes, hold three beggars nights, host a few ghost walks, as well as a dozen more activities. My neighbors, they are more extreme than the town. Every weekend they host Halloween parties that go on until the wee hours of the morning. Last night I was treated to a poorly mixed cd of haunted house sounds until 3 am. I ended up having a mini Jane Austen read-athon (more about that next week).

Looking for Austen-inspired fiction to gear up for Halloween? Here are a few that I found on my shelf.

  1. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange
  2. Emma and the Vampires by Jane Austen and Wayne Josephson
  3. Mr. Darcy’s Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen
  4. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters
  5. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith
  6. The Phantom of Pemberley by Regina Jeffers
  7. Mr. Darcy’s Vampire Desire by Regina Jeffers
  8. Murder at Mansfield Park Lynn Shepherd
  9. Pride & Pyramids: Mr. Darcy in Egypt by Amanda Grange & Jacqueline Webb
  10. Pulse and Prejudice by Colette L. Saucier

Here is what is happening this week:

October 22-Halloween Traditions in Regency England

October 23-Review of Vampire Darcy’s Desire by Regina Jeffers

October 24-Review of Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange

October 25-Review of Mr. Darcy’s Bite by Mary Lydon Simonsen

October 26-Friday Film—Northanger Abbey

Do you have a favorite book you read at this time of year? Or a favorite movie you watch? Or do you have particular traditions that you take part it? I would love to hear about them.

Until We Meet Again,

angela new