Sanditon Character Review: Lord Babington

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.

Love is a complicated thing. We can hope and pray that the one we love returns our affection. But that is not always the case. As painful as it is, the only choice is to walk away. But what if we can’t? In Sanditon, when Lord Babington (Mark Stanley) meets Esther Denham (Charlotte Spencer), he is immediately smitten. Esther, on the other hand, is not impressed.

Encouraged by her aunt, Lady Denham (Anne Reid), he continues his suit. But Esther keeps pushing him away. She only has eyes for her stepbrother, Sir Edward Denham (Jack Fox). A less determined man might walk away and put his hopes on another woman who is not continuously putting roadblocks in his way. But not Babington. It is Esther or no one.

Babbington finally gets his chance after Edward and Clara Brereton’s (Lily Sacofsky) plan to locate their aunt’s will is revealed. Declared to be persona non grata by Lady Denham, Esther is now her aunt’s heir. Seeing her stepbrother for what she is, Esther is able to look at Babington with new eyes. When proposes, she says yes. When we last see him, he is happily married and in the thrall of newlywed bliss.

From a modern feminist perspective, Babington could be seen as a problematic character. He does not seem to understand that Esther keeps saying no. Instead of heeding her words, he keeps coming back to her. But, from a romantic perspective, he is a man in love. A man in love will do crazy things to secure the person he wants the most.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Finding Me Book Review

No one gets through childhood without an emotional scar or two. What matters is how we respond to those scars.

Finding Me is Viola Davis‘s memoir/autobiography. To say that her childhood was far from idyllic is an understatement. The last to youngest of five children, she grew up with an alcoholic father and a mother who was forced to scrape the bottom of the economic barrel to get by. Living in Rhode Island, Davis was one of a handful of black children in the community and was bullied for her skin color.

As she got older and started on the path to becoming a successful performer, she was forced to reckon with her demons. It was only when she sat down and dealt with her past did she finally make peace with it.

In telling her story, Davis is raw, emotional, and unapologetically open. It is a tale of perseverance, strength, and the willingness to move beyond what is holding you back.

I loved it. This is not an award-winning actress talking. This is the real person underneath the Hollywood glam machine. I find her journey to be an inspiration. If Davis was able to heal her wounds, make her inner child smile, and have it all, then maybe the rest of us can.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Sister Novelists: The Trailblazing Porter Sisters, Who Paved the Way for Austen and the Brontës Book Review

For everyone who makes a crack in the glass ceiling, they stand on the shoulders of someone else who made that crack possible. Lovers of classic literature are (hopefully) well-versed in the lives and works of Jane Austen and the Brontes.

What has been lost to history is that without Anna Maria and Jane Porter, neither Austen nor the Brontes would have been able to become published authors. The story of the Misses Porter is told in Devoney Looser‘s new book, Sister Novelists: The Trailblazing Porter Sisters, Who Paved the Way for Austen and the Brontës. Published last fall, Looser introduces modern readers to the sisters and their numerous works.

They lived what can only be described as a double life. Though they were respected authors/celebrities of their era, the Porters were never financially secure. Debt and poorly made monetary decisions followed them from the time they were young. They were also posthumously buried by the male writers of their era (Sir Walter Scott to be specific), who never publicly named the Porters as the inspiration for their own works.

It goes without saying that the book would be completely up my alley. It goes without saying that it is for a niche audience. But that’s fine. What Looser does so well is to bring her subjects and their world to life. I felt like I knew them as human beings, not as icons and proto-feminists. While she kept to the standard womb-to-tomb biography format, it was far from the dry academic title that it could have been.

I think it is pretty safe to say that every female writer since then, regardless of genre or format, owes the Porters a debt that can never be repaid.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely. It is a must-read.

Sister Novelists: The Trailblazing Porter Sisters, Who Paved the Way for Austen and the Brontës is available wherever books are sold.

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