Category Archives: Jane Austen

The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh Book Review

One of the great things about fanfiction is that the writer has the opportunity to shine the spotlight on characters who the reader knows very little about in the original text.

The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh by Molly Greeley, was published at the beginning of the year. The novel focuses on Anne de Bourgh. In Pride and Prejudice, Anne is the daughter of Lady Catherine de Bourgh and the cousin of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Supposedly sick from birth and engaged to her cousin, she fades into the background without the audience truly knowing who she is as a person.

The Anne we are introduced to in Greeley’s novel is not the quiet, retiring character that exists in Austen cannon. She is vivid, intelligent, and curious. But because her imperious mother continues to believe that her daughter is unwell, she is prevented from the experiences that she would have had otherwise. Finally gathering enough nerve to break with Lady Catherine, Anne flees to London, where is she welcomed by her cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam.

When Anne’s strength has recovered, she begins to see what life can truly offer. But being that she has been locked away from society her entire life, she is unprepared for the not so polite underbelly of the season. This includes love with a person that she could have never expected. Anne must not only contend with forbidden romance, but with her mother, who is still determined to rein her daughter in.

I loved this book. This is how fanfiction is done. The balance between what the reader knows about Anne de Bourgh and where Greeley goes with the character is fantastic. I loved the LGBTQ twist that she adds, elevating what could be a predictable narrative into a story that the reader does not see coming.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Fanfiction, Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen’s Novel to Film Book Review

Though it appears that a film or television appears as a finished product as if out of thin air, the reality is that it takes a lot of people working together to bring the magic that feels seamless.

The 1995 book, The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen’s Novel to Film, takes the reader into the process of making the 1995 adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, Sense and Sensibility. Written by the movie’s screenwriter and star Emma Thompson (who played the lead role of Elinor Dashwood), the book contains the complete screenplay and Thompson’s diaries of the making of the film.

This book is so much fun to read. Seeing the screenplay in black and white was a treat. Thompson’s journal from the period is bawdy, funny, honest, and full of delicious minutiae of movie making that only adds to the joy of this beloved classic.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, Jane Austen, Movies, Sense and Sensibility

Clueless Character Review: Christian Stovitz

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

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. 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 sometimes makes us believe what we want to believe, regardless of how far from the truth it is. It is up to us to decide if we are devastated from the truth, or accept it and move on.

In Clueless, Christian Stovitz (Justin Walker) enters the scene, Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) is intrigued. Due to his parent’s divorce, Christian spends one half the year with one parent and the other half of the year with another parent. She immediately sets her romantic sights on him, but her attempts to claim him for herself ultimately fail. Like his literary predecessor, Frank Churchill, he is elusive, but in a different manner.

When her friends tell her that Christian is gay, Cher does not believe it. When they hang out at her house, he prefers to watch a movie than sleep with her. He is oblivious to her unsuccessful attempts to seduce him. Ultimately, they remain friends due to her appreciation of his love of art and fashion.

To sum it up: Not every love interest is going to walk into the sunset with the main character. Sometimes they are better off as friends. opening the door to not only growth for both characters, but for each to find a partner that can make them happy. Christian stands out because his relationship with Cher leads to her ending up with her step-brother, Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd).

P.S. Back in the 1990’s, the idea of members of the LGBTQ community being visible and open with the world was only beginning to find acceptance. Though Christian is just one character, his mere presence in this film is a significant one in the long and hard march towards equality.

This will be the last character post for Clueless. Come back next week to find out the next group of characters I will be reviewing.

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Clueless Character Review: Mel Horowitz

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

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. 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. Being the father of a teenage daughter is a curious and complicated thing. It is obvious that your little girl is no longer a little girl. As much you want to protect them, there comes a point in which they have to be set free.

In Clueless, Mel Horowitz (Dan Hedaya) is the father of Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone). A widower and a high priced lawyer who has had several relationships since the death of his first wife, he is also the former step-father of Josh Lucas (Paul Rudd).Though he is none too pleased with some of his daughter’s outfits, he is proud of Cher’s unconventional academic achievements, and her striving to be a better person.

Mel also encourages Josh in his professional future as an environmental lawyer by inviting him to join him on work related projects when additional hands are needed. He also lets Cher get involved, but he gets frustrated by her inability to follow directions.

To sum it up: Mel is no different than any father. He wants the best for his daughter, but he gets aggravated by some of her actions, which to be perfectly frank, are normal for her age. Though he is far from the main character, he is not as clueless (get it?;)) as other parents in the genre.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

P.S. As New York accents go, his is old school in the best way possible.

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Clueless Character Review: Elton Tiscia

I apologize for not posting last week. Life got in the way.

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

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. 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. Every campus has their own BMOC. This person is at the apex of the social hierarchy. If you are seen with this person, your status rises. But this person can also ruin a classmate’s life if they want to.

In Clueless, Elton Tiscia (Jeremy Sisto) is the BMOC. According to Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), he is one of the few boys who it is acceptable for Tai Frasier (the late Brittany Murphy) to go out with. Elton humors Cher by having a picture of Tai in his locker, it is only there because it is Cher he would prefer to be dating. Though he plays the hero when Tai is knocked out by a shoe, Elton is a snob like this literary counterpart, Mr. Elton. When Cher rejects his advances, he deserts her instead taking her home after a party. To make matters worse, Elton starts seeing Amber Mariens (Elisa Donovan) to publicly spite Cher and Tai.

To sum it up: Elton is a first rate asshole. who pretends to be a decent guy. Just because he is a BMOC, he believes that he is entitled to certain things and people. Though he never changes, the people around him do, realizing that Elton is not worth their time.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Clueless Character Review: Travis Birkenstock

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. 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. When it comes to love, there is sometimes a tug of war as to whom we want to be with vs. who others think we should be with. In Clueless, Travis Birkenstock (Breckin Meyer) doesn’t exactly rank very high on the social ladder. He is an underachieving skater boy who is looked down on by Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) and her friends.

When Travis and new girl Tai Fraser (Brittany Murphy) start crushing on each other, Cher steps in. Like her regency era counterpart, Emma Woodhouse, Cher cannot and will not see her friend/protégé hook up with someone who she perceives to be beneath her. Just as Emma convinces Harriet Smith to turn down Mr. Martin’s proposal in favor of a potential match with Mr. Elton, Cher tries to convince Tai that BMOC Elton Tiscia (Jeremy Sisto) is the better choice.

When Elton reveals his true f*ck boy nature, Cher backs off. Tai and Travis are given the opportunity to be a couple and let fate take its course.

To sum it up: It has been said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Though Travis may not appear to be anyone’s ideal romantic partner, he is eventually revealed to be a good guy who is the right person for Tai.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Clueless Character Review: Amber Mariens

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. 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. There are two types of people in this world. The first are tried and true, staying with us through whatever life throws at us. The second type have ulterior motives that may or may not be obvious to the people around them.

In Clueless, Amber Mariens (Elisa Donovan) is described by Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone) as Monet.

“From far away it’s okay, but up close it’s a big old mess.”

A modern version of Augusta Elton, Amber can be described as a fair weather friend. She hangs out with Cher and her best friend Dionne Davenport (Stacey Dash), but only to gain the access she needs to usurp their social status. When it comes to Cher and Dionne, everything with her is a competition. Though she tolerates Tai Fraser (the late Brittany Murphy) post-makeover, it is only because she has joined their social circle. When she sees an opportunity to hook up with Elton Tiscia (Jeremy Sisto), this adaptation’s answer to Mr. Elton, it is her chance to get one up on Cher and Tai. This is after Elton turns down Tai and Cher rejects Elton’s advances.

To sum it up: If there has to be a baddie in this film, Amber comes pretty close. She is only it in for herself and when the door opens to use her “friendships” to gain the upper hand, she will use it. We, as the audience, may not like her and may see through her, but her existence creates the balance needed to increase Cher’s likability.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

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Clueless Character Review: Josh Lucas

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the movie Clueless. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the movie. 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. In every relationship, whether familial, platonic, or romantic, there has to be an emotional balance. One person can be the dreamer with out there ideas while the other is level headed and realistic.

In Clueless, Josh Lucas, (Paul Rudd) is the former step-brother of Cher Horowitz (Alicia Silverstone). Due to his being in college compared to Cher still being in high school, he tries to enlighten her about the ways of the world. Though Josh tries to get along with her, they tend to but heads. He thinks that she is a superficial ditz who only thinks about clothes and shopping. Her perception of him is that he is not cool, too serious for his own good, and a politically, a little too soft. His career ambition is to be a lawyer and is spending time with Cher and her father, Mel (Dan Hedaya) to gain some real world experience. But as the narrative rolls on, both Josh and Cher begin to see that perhaps they have more in common than they initially thought.

To sum it up: Though Josh can be the annoying older brother type, he is also not as quick to mansplain as his literary counterpart, Mr. Knightley. Like his step sister and future girlfriend, he has a good heart, but he sees the world in a different way. Which makes them compatible and will hopefully lead to long, healthy romantic partnership.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

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Celebrating Jane Austen on the 204 Anniversary of her Passing

Today is the 204 anniversary of the passing of Jane Austen. To say that she was extraordinary in her time and ours is and will always be an understatement. Though her physical remains are long gone, her name and her work will last forever.

Z”L.

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Filed under Books, Emma, Feminism, History, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Writing

Jane Austen: Writing, Society, Politics Book Review

Art does not come from nothing. It comes from the world around us and the experiences that have shaped our lives.

Jane Austen: Writing, Society, Politics by Tom Keymer, was published last year. In the book, Keymer walks the reader through the Regency era and how that world had a hand in developing her voice as a writer. He goes into the politics of the period, the complete disenfranchisement of women, and how a strict, but slowly fading class system played a role in her work.

I loved it. It was short, concise, and a reminder as to why Austen’s work continues to be timeless and universal. I will say, however, that it is aimed at two specific and different groups of readers. The book can be read in an academic setting, but it is neither dry nor stuffy. It also squarely falls into the Janeite camp. My one warning is that to truly enjoy it, the reader should be well versed in her life and work. Otherwise, they may not understand the nuances and the details that a long-time Jane Austen fan can easily identify.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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