Sanditon Character Review: Sir Edward Denham

The schedule for the Character Review posts will be changing to Friday (or Saturday at the latest from now on).

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the book and the television show Sanditon. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the show. There is something to be said about a well-written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Fans of Jane Austen know a bad boy when they see one. He says and does all of the right things. He appears to be sincere and in terms of courtship, what the heroine is looking for in a spouse. But underneath the smiles and niceties is an ulterior motive that will eventually be exposed.

In Sanditon, that bad boy is Sir Edward Denham (Jack Fox). He is not above lying, fudging the facts, or pretending to be something that he is not to get his way. Living in a rundown mansion with his step-sister, Esther (Charlotte Spencer) Edward believes that he is entitled to the good life and his aunt, Lady Denham’s (Anne Reid) fortune. He and Esther are competing with their cousin, Clara Brereton (Lily Sacofsky) as to whom will be their aunt’s heir.

He also tries to impress (under his aunt’s direction) Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke). Edward is quickly shot down.

When Lord Babington (Mark Stanley) comes calling for Esther, she immediately turns him down. She can only see her stepbrother, who is a master of manipulation. But when Edward sleeps with Clara while their aunt is ill in a bid to find her will, his true character is revealed. Disinherited and without a penny to his name, Edward is forced out of Sanditon.

When he returns, he is out for revenge. Knowing that Esther is happily married to a now off-screen Lord Babington, he does everything in his power to ruin that happiness. Now an officer in the military, he has impregnated Clara and continues in his manipulations. He makes everyone believe that Esther (who has already had a couple of miscarriages) has lost her marbles and wants his and Clara’s son for her own.

But, like in the past, his schemes are revealed and he is once more sent away. Clara gives her son to Esther to raise, knowing that she will never be able to give him the home he needs.

To sum it up: He clearly is driven by his ego and insecurities. When one relies on these facets of themselves, their judgment and abilities to make decisions are hampered. Edward can only see to the end of his nose and his needs. What others want is unimportant.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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The Summer Place Book Review

Family is complicated. We love them and we spend time with them. That does not mean, however, that it is sunshine and roses all of the time.

Jennifer Weiner‘s new novel, The Summer Place, was released back in May. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sarah Danhauser’s 22-year-old stepdaughter Ruby announces that she is engaged. Moreover, Ruby is determined to marry her fiance in three months’ time. The preferred location is the family’s summer house in Cape Cod.

Despite the fact that Sarah is doing her best to support Ruby, it cannot go unignored that Ruby spoke to her safta (grandmother) before telling her parents. Veronica (Sarah’s mother) would like one last hurrah before the property is sold to someone else.

As the months go by and the wedding gets closer, each character starts to reveal themselves to the reader and the secrets that they have been hiding. When they finally reveal the truth, it becomes a question of how that truth will be accepted (if at all).

I loved this book. It is an exceptional read that immediately pulled me in. The people in this novel are three-dimensional and human. In going through their individual journies, they reveal our common humanity and the flaws that we all have.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Summer Place is available wherever books are sold.

Aryeh Shechopek Was Killed in Jerusalem Simply Because He Was Jewish

Jerusalem is a beautiful city. Both ancient and modern, it is home to the world’s three great faiths. Walking through her streets is to walk through history and in the footsteps of the generations that have come before us.

It is also a site of murder, hate, and destruction. Earlier this week, two explosions shook the town. By the time to smoke cleared, eighteen people were injured and one person was killed.  Aryeh Shechopek was fifteen and had dual citizenship in both Israel and Canada.

This boy, who had his entire future ahead of him, was only killed because he is a Jew living in Israel. Nothing more and nothing less.

What I don’t get is why the Palestinian leadership continues to think (and brainwash their citizens) that violence is the answer. It is obviously not. We are here to stay. This is our ancestral homeland, just as it is the ancestral homeland of the Arabs and the Christians.

What I want for the region (and for the rest of the world, as pie in the sky as it seems) is peace. No one, especially a child, should die because of who they are or where they live.

I am going to end this post with a quote from Golda Meir. It is as timely now as it was during her era.

If the Arabs put down their guns there would be no more fighting. If the Israelis put down theirs there would be no more Israel.”

May his memory be a blessing. Z”l.

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