Sanditon Character Review: Young Stringer

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

I apologize for not posting last week. I had other writing that had to be done.

*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.

We all have dreams. What happens when those dreams clash with what our parents want for us? In Sanditon, Young Stringer (whose legal name is James) (Leo Suter) wants to be an architect. He and his widower father, known as Old Stringer (Rob Jarvis) work for Tom Parker. While he dreams, Young Stringer knows that it will take work and drive to get to where he wants to be. He also comes home to a father who would prefer that his son set his sights a little lower.

Encouraged by Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams), Young Stringer sees a professional future outside of Sanditon, even with the stringent class structure that could hold him back. He also develops feelings for Charlotte, who is equally ambitious and not afraid to get her hands dirty. But she leaves him in the friend zone.

After an accident disables Old Stringer and then a fire kills him, Young Stringer decides to stay in Sanditon, even after being offered an apprenticeship that could open doors for him.

To sum it up: Young Stringer is a young man with heart, enthusiasm, and a bright future. The question is, where does that future lie? In making that decision, he proves that success on one’s own terms is possible, even with the obstacles in his way.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Advertisement

Sanditon Character Review: Sidney Parker

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.

It is easy to judge a book by its cover. It is harder to get to know them and understand the circumstances that made them into who they are. In Sanditon, Sidney Parker (Theo James) does not make a great first impression. Like his predecessor, Fitzwilliam Darcy, he comes off as rude, arrogant, and a snob.

One of four children (three boys and a girl), Sidney is the dark sheep of the family. Tom (Kris Marshall) is the dreamer. Arthur (Turlough Convery) is the layabout. Diana (Alexandra Roach) is the worrier. He has been away for many years and would rather be anywhere else than be in the company of his family.

When he meets Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams), it is hate at first sight. Sidney perceives Charlotte to be a naive country girl. Charlotte thinks that he is a little too full of himself.

Things start to change when there is an accident in the town and Charlotte steps in to help. He begins to see her intelligence and her willingness to step in when necessary. They go back and forth for a while. It gets rocky when Charlotte does not understand the pressure that Sidney is under to keep his ward, Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke) safe from golddiggers.

When they finally get together, it is a moment that has been a long time coming. It seems that Charlotte and Sidney’s future is all settled. But before Sidney can properly pop the question, he has to settle some business issues for Tom (again).

When he returns, he has bad news. The only way to save the family is to marry his ex, Eliza Campion (Ruth Kearney). Eliza is a wealthy widow who abandoned Sidney for her late husband. Upon previously encountering Charlotte, she promptly switched into Mean Girls mode, mocking her for her “low” upbringing.

Unfortunately, the next time we hear of Sidney, he is dead, leaving everyone around him heartbroken.

To sum it up: Sidney’s arc is one of opening up and learning to love. Not just romantic love, but the love of family. It is that love that forces him to make the decision to ultimately marry for money.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Sanditon Character Review: Lady 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.

In a society in which rank and wealth rule, the belief by some in the upper classes is that their advantage also gives them the right to be a know it all. Whether or not others have this same perception depends on the individual. In Sanditon, Lady Denham (Anne Reid) is the town’s queen bee.

She is a woman of a certain age who has been widowed twice. As a result, her fortune is substantial. Lady Denham hangs her fortune over her neighbors and family like an anvil, threatening to take it away when she is displeased.

The largest investor in the town’s growth, she is not one to idly sit by and trust that her money is being put to good use. When Tom Parker‘s (Kris Marshall) plans are met with a few speed bumps, she is quick to threaten the withdrawal of her funds.

When it comes to marriage, she believes that it is a business arrangement and not based on love. She married both of her late husbands for their bank accounts. While one of her nieces, Esther Denham (Charlotte Spencer) marries Lord Babington for love (Mark Stanley) and becomes a wealthy woman in the process, her other relations are not so lucky.

Sir Edward Denham (Jack Fox) tries to court heiress Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke) as per his aunt’s wishes, but it does not go well. When he and Clara Brereton (Lily Sacofsky) scheme to find a copy of her will while she is ill, they are found and disinherited. They also get pregnant and ultimately walk away from their son, giving him to Esther to raise.

In an interesting twist, Lady Denham seems to semi-understand that Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) has a different opinion when it comes to matrimony. Though she completely disagrees with Charlotte, she gets to the point at which she gives up. That, however, does make up for the racist questions directed at Georgiana.

To sum it up: Though Lady Denham is similar to other Austen villains who are wealthy and titled, she does show a streak of humanity every now and then. In doing so, she proves that she can be more than the dragon lady who lords over everyone.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

Sanditon Character Review: Georgiana Lambe

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

*I apologize for not posting last week. I had other writing priorities that came first.

*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.

It blows my mind, that in 2022, race is still an issue. Instead of being seen merely as skin color, it is used to judge one another. Back in Jane Austen‘s era, the very thought of probing this topic was revolutionary. Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke) is Austen’s first and only character of color.

Georgiana is a biracial heiress from Antigua whose mere presence in the town ruffles feathers. Among those who are a bit too curious is Lady Denham (Anne Reid). Without any direct family to support or provide for her, she is under the legal guardianship of Sidney Parker (Theo James). Feeling constrained by her circumstances, Georgiana bristles against Sidney and her house mother, Mrs. Griffiths (Elizabeth Berrington). One of her few outlets is her friendship with Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams).

When her past love, Otis Molyneux (Jyuddah Jaymes) arrives in town, both Georgiana and Charlotte play a game of subterfuge. Sidney does not approve of Otis because he believes that he only wants to marry her for her fortune. Later on, when Otis is up to his eyeballs in debt, he uses her name as collateral. This turns into a kidnapping which is only stopped by Sidney. As expected, Georgiana tells Otis where he can go.

When we see her again in the second season, her guardianship has been switched to Tom and Mary Parker (Kris Marshall and Kate Ashfield). Now that she is nearing her majority, it is even more important to ensure that she marries well. When Georgiana meets artist Charles Lockhart (Alexander Vlahos), she is initially skeptical of him. But over time, the skepticism turns into romance. That romance fizzles out when Lockhart reveals his true colors.

It would have been easy for her to crumble, given both her past and her present circumstances. But Georgiana has a backbone and is not afraid to speak her mind. What I personally like about her is her strength, knowing full well that a well-bred woman keeps her opinions to herself in that era.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

Sanditon Character Review: Tom and Mary Parker

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

*I apologize for not posting last week. I had other writing priorities that came first.

*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.

The best relationships, whether they be personal, romantic, or professional, are ones in which one person balances out the other. In the  PBS/Masterpiece television series, Sanditon (based on the unfinished Jane Austen novel of the same) the narrative is kicked off when the carriage carrying Tom and Mary Parker (Kris Marshall and Kate Ashfield) crashes. Briefly taken in by the Heywood family, the offer to give the eldest daughter, Charlotte (Rose Williams), an opportunity to spend time with them in Sanditon.

Tom is the dreamer. Mary is a pragmatist. His dream is to turn this small seaside town into a fashionable and popular tourist destination. Unfortunately, his financial means are limited and he is not exactly a details kind of guy. The money comes from Lady Denham (Anne Reid). The nitty-gritty of the business comes from his brother Sidney (Theo James). Sidney also happens to be Charlotte’s first love.

Mary does more than take care of their children and maintain their home. She has the ability to bring her husband back to reality when necessary. When it becomes obvious that their carriage is in need of imminent repair, it is Mary who speaks the truth. Her husband would prefer to believe that everything is fine. That does not mean, however, that she does not lose her cool when Tom goes too far. When she finds out that he bought her a necklace when they are in debt, she is furious (as she should be).

To sum it up: In an era in which marriages were often a business arrangement, this is a love match. What Mary lacks, Tom has, and visa versa. It is this balance that allows their relationship to flourish and prove that love matches are possible.

Which is why they are memorable characters.

Sanditon Character Review: Charlotte Heywood

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.

Growth does not come from taking the easy way out. It comes from walking on an unseen path, not knowing what lies ahead. The heroine of the PBS/Masterpiece television series, Sanditon (based on the unfinished Jane Austen novel of the same) is Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams). Born to a rural farming family, her world opens tenfold when Tom and Mary Parker‘s (Kris Marshall and Kate Ashfield) carriage crashes.

Grateful for their brief respite, the Parkers offer Charlotte to stay with them for a short time in Sanditon, a growing seaside community. Among those who she meets are Tom’s younger brother, Sidney (Theo James), and Miss Georgiana Lambe (Crystal Clarke). Sidney is a realist while Tom has his head in the clouds. Georgiana is a biracial heiress and is much as an outsider as Charlotte is.

Charlotte is also eager to spread her wings and not find love (at least not yet). She is eager to expand her mind and takes it upon herself to get involved with Tom’s business ventures.

Like many couples, Charlotte and Sidney’s relationship does not start off well. There are misunderstandings and miscommunication. But that eventually turns into mutual attraction, which turns into love. But there is no happy ending for Charlotte and Sidney. To save the family business, he must marry his widowed and wealthy ex. He then dies soon after, leaving her heartbroken.

After spending time at home recovering from her loss, Charlotte returns to Sanditon. Joining her is her younger sister, Alison (Rosie Graham). Alison is in the same emotional place that her sister was previously. Determined not to marry, Charlotte accepts a position as the governess for Alexander Colbourne (Ben Lloyd-Hughes). She also meets Colonel Francis Lennox (Tom Weston-Jones). As with an Austen-ian love interest, there is a question of who is telling the truth and who is a good liar.

To sum it up: Through friendship, falling in love, and heartbreak, Charlotte starts to mature. Even when she is down in the dumps, she finds the strength to move forward and find happiness/purpose. Considering the time and place that she lives in, this is both refreshing and modern. The way I look it at is that if she can pick herself up and move on, then so can the rest of us.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

Thoughts On the Persuasion Trailer

If I were to rank Jane Austen‘s novels, Persuasion would be on the top of my list. This story of second chances is one that over 200 years later still hits readers in the heart and sends a few tears down our cheeks.

The trailer for the newest adaptation of the book was released earlier this week.

The film stars Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot, Cosmo Jarvis as Captain Frederick Wentworth, and Henry Golding as Mr. Elliot. For those unaware, the plot is as follows: eight years before the book starts Anne Elliott and Frederick Wentworth were young, in love, and newly engaged. She was persuaded to end their relationship due to his lack of status and income. Cut to the present and Anne is still single, still hurting from her decision. Wentworth is back in her life. He is a war hero, wealthy, and considered to be a catch. He is also still bitter from their breakup.

I would love to say that I am jumping for joy, but I have a few reservations. I am going to try to keep my concerns at bay because this is only the trailer. Trailers don’t always match up with the full movie.

  1. The dialogue in the scenes that we see so far seems to be loosely taken from the original text. Maybe it’s the Janeite in me, but I would prefer the wording to be as it is in the novel. To paraphrase her brilliant writing (especially in a reboot set in the Regency era) could be seen as a shanda (disgrace).
  2. The casting of Dakota Johnson as Anne. I have nothing against Johnson. I have a bias against American actors playing lead characters in Austen adaptations. It goes back to the casting of Gwyneth Paltrow in the 1996 Emma. Her portrayal of the character rubbed me the wrong way. But who knows, maybe Johnson will prove me wrong.
  3. Her hair should not be down unless it is either the beginning or the end of the day. Only young girls wore their hair loose. By the time they got to their mid to late teens, their hair was up. On a side note, that was my only beef with Sanditon. Charlotte Heywood’s (Rose Williams) hair should have been up.
  4. It comes off a little too rom-com-like. I like a romantic comedy as much as the next person, but Persuasion is not and has never been one. To turn this story into a rom-com is a double shanda and sure to turn off the fanbase.

On the upside, we see the early romance between Anne and Frederick. In previous film versions, the audience is only told about this experience.

That being said, I am willing to have an open mind and not condemn the film before it is released.

Persuasion will drop on Netflix on July 15th.

Role Playing Reaction GIF by Hyper RPG - Find & Share on GIPHY

Regency Review Roundup: Sanditon and Bridgerton Season 2 Reviews

*There will be spoilers for Sanditon.

The Regency era is an interesting time in human history. Looking back, it is easy to see that, as a species. we are on the road to the modernity that is life today. But we are also still clinging to the rules and social structure of previous generations.

Bridgerton

After a year and a half wait, season two of Bridgerton premiered last weekend on Netflix. It’s been nine months since the narrative of season one ended. Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Bassett (Phoebe Dyvenor and Rege-Jean Page, who decided to move onto other projects) are happily married and have a baby boy. The oldest Bridgerton son Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) has decided it is his time to settle down. Among the eligible women of the ton, he chooses Edwina Sharma (Charitha Chandran). But before they can walk down the aisle, he has to get through her overprotective older sister, Kate (Simone Ashley). She is tough, smart, and unwilling to compromise on whom she sees as her future brother-in-law. The problem is that there is something between Anthony and Kate that cannot be ignored.

If last season one was hot, this season has the fire of several volcanoes exploding at the same time. The chemistry between Ashley and Bailey is intense. The enemies to lovers/slow-burn narrative is so perfect that I would recommend that anyone who wants to write a good romance novel watch this series. It’s that good.

Sanditon

Its been nine months since the audience has spent time with the denizens of Sanditon. After the death of her first love, Sydney Parker (Theo James), Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) has returned to the seaside town and the Parkers. Bringing her younger sister, Alison (Rosie Graham) with her, Charlotte reunites with old friends while making new male acquaintances. Among them are Charles Lockhart (Alexander Vlahos) and Colonel Francis Lennox (Tom Weston-Jones).

With her usual tenacity and intelligence, Charlotte is trying to move on with her life. But she is still grieving (as I suspect the viewers are as well) for what might have been, had things gone in another direction. As much as we all miss Sydney, I feel like this is opening the door for new opportunities for her in both the romantic and career arenas (as much as a woman could have back then). Akin to Matthew Crawley (Dan Stevens) dying in a car crash at the end of the third season of Downton Abbey, it was a heartbreaking loss. But I feel like if we look at it from a modern perspective, this unexpected change is normal. Not everyone spends their life with the first person they fell in love with. It sometimes takes a few years and a few relationships to find your other half.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Bridgerton is available for streaming on Netflix. Sanditon airs on PBS on Sunday night at 9PM.

Best New TV Shows of 2020

  1. Bridgerton (Netflix): This Jane Austen inspired series is based on books by Julia Quinn. Sexy and romantic with a feminist twist, it is the perfect BPD (British Period Drama) to lose one’s self in.
  2. Saved by the Bell (Peacock): The re-imagining of this much loved 1990’s teen comedy program will thrill both new fans and old.
  3. Cursed (Netflix): Based on the comic book by Frank Miller, it revisits the Arthurian myth via Nimue (Katherine Langford).
  4. World on Fire (PBS): This PBS/Masterpiece follows a group of individuals as World War II is on the horizon.
  5. Mrs. America (F/X/Hulu): In the 1970’s, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) was close to becoming the law of the land. A tug of war begins between one group of women that is for it and another that is against it.
  6. Sanditon (PBS): Based off the unfinished book of the same name by Jane Austen, we follow Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams), a young woman who leaves her family for the seaside resort town of Sanditon.
  7. The Baby-Sitters Club (Netflix): This Netflix series is based on the books by Ann M. Martin.
  8. Flesh and Blood (PBS): Natalie (Lydia Leonard), Jake (Russell Tovey), and Helen (Claudie Blakely) are unsure about their widow mother’s new boyfriend.
  9. The Weakest Link (NBC): A delightful reboot of the early 2000’s game show of the same name. Hosted by Jane Lynch.
  10. The Windemere Children (PBS): World War II has just ended. 300 child survivors of The Holocaust are taken to England to heal. The adults have their work cut out for them.

Sanditon Book Review

When someone dies young, there are questions of what this person might have accomplished had they lived longer.

When Jane Austen died in 1817 at the age of 41, she left behind grieving family members, six completed novels and fragments of other novels. One of these fragments is Sanditon. Where Jane Austen left off, write Kate Riordan stepped in to complete the story.

Charlotte Heywood is a young woman who has never traveled far from home. Her fate changes when the carriage carrying Tom and Mary Parker turns over. After their carriage is repaired, Charlotte travels with Mr. and Mrs. Parker to the small seaside village of Sanditon. Tom’s goal is to turn this sleepy seaside village into the must-see vacation spot. Charlotte’s world expands in multiple ways, especially when she meets Tom’s brother Sidney.

Jane Austen is one of those writers who is often imitated, but never properly duplicated. Ms. Riordan was able to perfectly match Austen’s tone, dialogue, voice and narrative in such a way that I was not sure where Austen ended and Ms. Riordan began.

Among those of us who know and love her novels, we know that Austen is subversive when it comes to her opinion of the world around her. In this book, her opinion is in your face. Unlike other unmarried young people, Charlotte’s reason for traveling to Sanditon is not to find a wealthy spouse. It is to see the world and expand her horizons. She also included her first character of color. Georgiana Lambe is a bi-racial heiress who is fighting for her own identity and her own choices in a world that would deny her both.

I absolutely recommend it.

%d bloggers like this: