Friday, 31 August 2012

**Cover Reveal** The Modified by C.A. Kunz


How snazzy is this cover?




What would you sacrifice to save the one’s you love? To save the one who holds your heart? To save the world?

Kenley Grayson is all too familiar with these questions.

After Earth is thrust into its first intergalactic war with an unknown race called the Bringers, our military forces begin to suffer heavy losses. Desperate for a solution, the Allied Federation issues a worldwide draft for every able seventeen-year-old to enlist. As Kenley turns seventeen, she finds herself thrown into the very war that took her older brother’s life.
This year’s draft is a little different than in the past though. A new program, known as the Magnus Project, has been introduced, and only the best and brightest qualify. Kenley is amongst a select few whom are chosen to join this elite group of soldiers, and as a part of this project, undergoes a modification procedure that leaves her and her peers endowed with powers beyond their wildest dreams.
As Earth continues in its struggle against the Bringers, Kenley is transported to a high-tech training facility, the Magnus Academy, to prepare for the major battle that lies ahead. It’s here that she meets the California heartthrob, and son of a legendary war hero, Landon Shaw. As unexpected feelings toward Landon begin to develop, Kenley wonders if this is the right time or place for romance to bloom, especially when those feelings start to interfere with her training.
With the weight of the world on her shoulders, Kenley is constantly reminded of how important she and the rest of the Magnus cadets are to the fate of humanity. She is one of the Modified, Earth’s last line of defense against utter destruction.

The Modified releases this Fall!

Like the cover for The Modified? Well then head over to Nathan Szerdy’s website and peruse his amazing collection of works. We guarantee that you won’t be disappointed!

The mom and son author duo, C.A. Kunz, thoroughly enjoys writing about things that go bump in the night and futuristic action-packed romances while drinking massive amounts of English breakfast tea and Starbucks coffee. To find out more about this duo and their books visit their blog, or find them on Facebook and Twitter!





















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Northanger Abbey - Guest Review - Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Many thanks to Alex from A Girl, Books and Other Things for sharing her thought on Northanger Abbey



A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s “Gothic parody.” Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.



The Deal:
Catherine Morland didn’t always look like she was going to be a heroine - her being rather tomboyish, one in a family with 10 children - but such was her path and, at the age of 17 she gets her chance for adventure when her neighbors, the Allens, invite her to go with them to Bath.

At first, things at Bath aren’t as fun as she expected, because she doesn’t really know anyone there, but she soon meets Henry Tilney, a kind young man with whom she becomes friendly.

My Thoughts:
I found Northanger Abbey to be a funny, silly, lighthearted story, it has the tone of a parody and it does poke a bit of fun at the Gothic stories that Catherine enjoys reading, but it’s not rude about it.

There are a few misunderstandings and all, but it’s all in good fun for the most part.

I did notice two things about this book: First, the voice of the narrator is felt heavily, almost as if this omnipresent narrator were a character also. Usually, when I’m reading a book in third person, I can get lost in the story but in Northanger Abbey I never stopped feeling like someone was telling me a story rather than me discovering it on my own.

And second, this feels like a younger book than any of the others I’ve read by Jane Austen. Both Catherine and Henry read very young; their mistakes are those of very young people. They are charming and nice but na├»ve in a way I don’t think many heroes and heroines in the Austen universe are. 



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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Emma - **Giveaway** Emma by Jane Austen

Making up for the rubbishiness of this week guys :)

The giveaway is international and the prize is a paperback of the novel in question.






a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Emma - My Favourite Mr Knightley Quotes

I am sorry everyone, I know I am scraping the bottom of the barrel a little this week but I just can't build up any enthusiasm for this book. 

So I give you my favourite Mr Knightley moments. 

It was badly done Emma, badly done
Does that make anyone else feel like a little kid being told off?

My dearest Emma," said he, "for dearest you will always be, whatever the event of this hour's conversation, my dearest, most beloved Emma...
Ok, if that isn't enough to make you go jelly legged I don't know what is *sigh*
I cannot make speeches, Emma... 
Yeah, Mr Darcy had the same trouble and look where that got him. Insulting someone while trying to propose... At least Mr Knightley manages a bit better huh :)


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Monday, 27 August 2012

Emma - Screen Adaptations

I have only seen two of the Emma adaptations that are roaming out in the wild but I have a firm favourite between the two. 

But first I had better say which ones I have seen. 

Emma (1996) - the film with Gwyneth Paltrow 

and

Emma (1996) - the TV adaption with Kate Beckinsale







Don't get me wrong, both of these are good in their own way  - which is saying a lot when you consider that I don't even like the story ;)

My favourite of the two though is the TV adaption because it actually does the impossible and helps me tolerate Emma. It doesn't make me like the story anymore but I can watch it without wanting to throw an iron at the screen turn it off. 

The film version I find to be a little too quirky - does that make sense (it does in my head). It feels a bit too...modern and it doesn't quite it well with me. 



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Sunday, 26 August 2012

Emma - Novel Adaptations

Some more shout-outs my darlings :)


Want to know what happens after the last page?

Emma & Knightley: The Sequel to Jane Austen's Emma by Rachel Billington

A year later, Emma and Knightley are still living at Hartfield, surrounded by the Westons, the Eltons and the Bateses. But as events unfold, the couple must deal with the return of Frank Churchill, now widowed, and Knightley's apparently endless patience is tried by events in his brother's family, as well as his beloved Emma's whims and fancies. 
But the irrepressible Emma is restless ... 
Emma wants Knightley to stop treating her like a child. Knightley meanwhile wants his young bride to love him as a husband, not as the man she's always looked up to. With tragedy in the offing, and events unfolding that include beloved characters from Emma, the couple must find their way to each other, and to perfect happiness. 
With a wonderful grasp of the manners and style of the day, this warm and witty exploration of a marriage between a sheltered (not to say spoiled) young lady and the man she looked upon as an older brother fulfills the romantic longings of Jane Austen lovers everywhere.



Or maybe you want to know what was going through Mr Knightley's mind?


Mr. Knightley's Diary (Jane Austen Heroes #2) by Amanda Grange

Relive Jane Austen's Emma- from Mr. Knightley's point of view.

Between managing his estate and visiting his brother in London, Mr. Knightley is both exasperated and amused by his irresistibly beautiful, outrageously mischievous neighbor, Emma Woodhouse, whose misguided attempts at matchmaking are wreaking havoc in the village of Highbury.

But when a handsome newcomer arrives and catches Emma's attention, Mr. Knightley is shocked by his reaction. Amusement gives way to another emotion entirely-for his unreasonable dislike of the handsome newcomer seems suspiciously like jealousy. 





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*Descriptions and images from goodreads.com*

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Emma - Emma the Musical!

Emma the Musical!

Who knew?

 Well, I did obviously but only after doing some random goggling about 6 months ago :)






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Friday, 24 August 2012

Emma - My Grumbles on Emma by Jane Austen

Beautiful, clever, rich - and single - Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen's most flawless work



I am afraid that this week is going to be one of the most un-enthusiastic of the seven.

Why?

Because I just don’t like Emma *ducks for cover* - the book as a whole or the character. I just haven’t been able to gel with her character at all and it doesn’t matter how I look at it or how hard I squint I just don’t like her one little bit.

I don’t like how she acts or her attitude. She strikes me as the kind of person who knows what she is entitled too and will make sure that everyone else know too – but will do it in such a way that it will make her look like a saint.

Nope, I don’t like her one little bit.

The one redeeming feature of this book in my eyes is the character of Mr Knightley. Yeah, call me shallow if you like but there is no denying that he is a sweetheart and I love him all the more for giving Emma a telling off when she needs it and although he loves her he is not blind to her faults. 





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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Mansfield Park - Changes to the Character? Good or Bad?

Welcome to another post where I talk myself in circles :)


No doubt like most Austen, Dickens and Bronte etc fans I do a happy dance round my living room whenever I hear about a new adaptation being made. (admit it, you guys do that to don't you? And I bet you get that  look from your family too. You know that one? The one that says they have no idea why you are so into that kind of thing anyway).

But the one book to TV adaption that I am always dubious about is Mansfiled park, because - in my humble opinion - it is something that has not been pulled off properly since 1983. 

What do I think makes it all go wrong?

They can never seem to get Fanny's characters right. They always seem to try and change her and maker her more...more...well just MORE that what I think she is. The think about Fanny - in my mind anyway - is that she possess a silent strength and she is the kind of person that can be in a room and chances are that no you would not notice her. She is not the kind of person to draw attention to herself. 

I do not know if it is the actresses that have played the part since or if it is the way that they have gone about portraying Fanny but they seem to have too much (to quote the Mad Hatter) muchness when in the presence of others. 

I would really recommend watching the 1983 TV adaption guys. By far one of my favourite adaptions not just of Mansfield Park but of all the Austen books. 









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Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Mansfield Park - Mansfield Park and Murder...

Shout out Time! (again)


 Murder at Mansfield Park by Lynn Shepherd
In this ingenious new twist on Mansfield Park, the famously meek Fanny Price--whom Jane Austen's own mother called "insipid"--has been utterly transformed; she is now a rich heiress who is spoiled, condescending, and generally hated throughout the county. Mary Crawford, on the other hand, is now as good as Fanny is bad, and suffers great indignities at the hands of her vindictive neighbor. It's only after Fanny is murdered on the grounds of Mansfield Park that Mary comes into her own, teaming-up with a thief-taker from London to solve the crime. 

Featuring genuine Austen characters--the same characters, and the same episodes, but each with a new twist--MURDER AT MANSFIELD PARK is a brilliantly entertaining novel that offers Jane Austen fans an engaging new heroine and story to read again and again.



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Monday, 20 August 2012

Mansfield Park - Mansfield Park with Mummies. Oh My

Shout out time!


Mansfield Park and Mummies by Vera Nazarian
Ancient Egypt infiltrates Regency England in this elegant, hilarious, witty, insane, and unexpectedly romantic monster parody of Jane Austen's classic novel.



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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Mansfield Park - Cousin Edmund is an Idiot


WARNING – in this post I am going to be all over the shop and I will no doubt contradict myself too.

*flings book across the room*

*thud*

Mansfield Park is one of the few books that I have read where I wanted with all of my heart for the leading lady to end up with someone other than who she ended up with.

Yip, Cousin Edmund BUGS THE LIFE OUT OF ME! I cannot help but see him as weak willed and more than a little dim, and, well…milksop(ish) . Nope I really don’t like him and every adaptation that I have seen only backs this up. I want to grab him and shake him for being so stupid.

And that is why I wanted Fanny to end up with Henry Crawford.

Picking the bad boy is always portrayed as being bad – and even when the bad boy is chosen he is often the best of the bad boys and not as bad as the baddest bad boy (OK are you dizzy yet?)

Personally I think that Henry is the better man. There is of course the argument that he would have not remained faithful to Fanny had they married but I think that he did love her. But then there is also the argument that Edmund always loved Fanny and was too stupid blind to see this until it hit him like the proverbial bolt from the blue…

See, I told you this post was going to be confusing and all over the place.

But I think that what I am trying to say is that I did not feel that Edmund was worthy of Fanny.

What do you guys think?

Agree?

Disagree?


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Saturday, 18 August 2012

Mansfield Park - Who Are You? I am Fanny Price

Sylvestra Le Touzel as Fanny Price in Mansfield Park (1983)

Ah yes, that question that I bet every Austen fan asks themselves. Guys who ask themselves what fictional heart throb in a top hat they are and ladies, do you pour over the pages trying to figure out who you see yourself in the most.

Now I, like many of you have no doubt done, have squinted at my own character trying to warp what I know of myself to fit into the box of my favourite character.

Yip, you know all about what I am talking about don’t you?

Anyhoo, moving on.

Out of all of the main Austen heroines I see myself as Fanny Price.

I am left till last, have been since I was a child. If my grandmother was going on a trip somewhere she would always take my cousins (who are both the same age as me) and leave me behind *gets out the violins*.

I have been trodden on and passed over – but I suppose that is my fault as I do not like to cause issues – I always have a bit of a fear that I would be causing a fuss over something that didn’t warrant one.

But I would like to think that despite liking to avoid confrontation I still hold fast to what I believe is right.

But then again knowing my luck I would end up with a dim wit like Cousin Edmund – one of my least favourite Austen ‘heroes’ (I use that term very lightly in this case). More on Cousin Edmund later.

So, who do you see yourself in?



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Friday, 17 August 2012

Mansfield Park - Thoughts on Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Wow, is it just me or is time just flying by?

Welcome to Mansfield Park Week!

From my various friends who are into the classics I have gathered that Mansfield Park seems to be one of the least liked books of the Austen bunch.

But, as I have never been one to go with the flow, I am going to have to admit that next to Persuasion (which goes on and off the like list depending on my mood) Mansfield Park is my favourite of them all.

Why?

Well my reason for liking it seems to be the same reason that most don't.

Fanny Price.

She is just a normal person. She is not looking for adventure or out to be a heroine - in her own life or anyone elses. She is a genuinely nice person who tries to make the best of her situation without kicking up a fuss or drawing more attention to herself than needed.

But - and I know some will disagree here - she was not a pushover and when she firmly believed in something she was not swayed from her own personal belief.

And in the end this is very much a Cinderella story.


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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Pride and Prejudice - Thoughts - Lost in Austen


I loved this series when it was on TV and as soon as it was released it was proudly added to my Austen collection. If you are an Austen fan who has wished time and time again to jump head first into your favourite Austen novel I would highly recommend this series - although you may change your mind about the wisdom of wanting to pay 18th Century England a visit by the end of it.

We follow Amanda an avid fan of Pride and Prejudice who has spent her whole life measuring up every man she has ever been involved with to Mr Darcy. And then she meets Elizabeth Bennett in her bathroom and she gets to experience her favourite novel more up close and personal than she ever imagined.


This is utterly brilliant. I think we all have some romanticized idea of what the time was like and how we would act if some magic event whisked us into the pages of our favourite Austen novel and the hero of the moment fell head over heels in love with us. Well it is a lovely dream and makes for some nice swoon worthy imaginings on our part but chances are we would be beating at the pages trying to get back to flushing toilets and electricity.

To begin with we just wouldn’t fit in. To everyone else we would act funny, talk funny and even walk funny. We would stick out like a sore thumb. And that is just what happens to Amanda. She gets herself into one embarrassing situation after another and at times has no idea what is going on. And that is what I love about the series. I usually cannot stand embarrassing bit in programmes – it is one of the reasons I do not watch reality TV, but seeing Amanda facing situations and reacting in a way that any 21st Century woman would was priceless.

And, to top things off, this turns everything we know about favourite characters on its head, chucks it in a blender and zaps it up a bit.


To quote Amanda ~~


“Duh-uh-uh! Hear that George? That’s Jane Austen spinning in her grave like a cat in a tumble-dryer”

And the thing is that all of Amanda’s dreams of Mr Darcy go up in smoke when she meets him. After all at the beginning he is an arrogant, pompous prat and it is funny having Amanda seeing him this way and not as the romantic hero of her dreams.

“Elizabeth, what can I say? You’re welcome to him. Miserable sod”


But, my most favourite spin has to be the tilt that is put on Wickham. He is a darling in this and is a true support to Amanda when she needs it.


“Everyone you love, Miss Price, will one day prise your finger from the raft and watch you drown. Everyone Miss Price. Except for me”


I cannot recommend this show enough. It is only 4 hours long (1 hour an episode) but is an Austen fans dream come true.



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**The images do not belong to me**

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Pride and Prejudice - Love, Lies and Lizzie by Rosie Rushton



When Mrs Bennet inherits enough money to move into the kind of village she has always dreamed of, her daughters find themselves swept up in a glamorous life of partying & country pursuits. However, Lizzie & her sisters soon discover the truth.

-----
Mrs Bennet has finally been able to realize her dream of living the life of pims and garden parties. And it is in this new world that her daughters Jane and Lizzie meet the men of their dreams, or in Lizzie's case - NIGHTMARES!


While Jane is falling head over heals in love with the caring Charlie, Lizzie is being driven mad by the prideful Jame Darcy who is dead set against Public School students.
-----
 
I got off on a pretty bad footing with Lizzie in this book.

Why?

The very first paragraph.
"So you dumped him? Just like that? In the middle of the school trip? Are you crazy?"
So I spent the rest of the book until it was explained just why she dumped her boyfriend being not all that fond of her. 

Love, Lies and Lizzie follows the skeleton plot of Pride and Prejudice with the characters having the same prominent characteristics as in Austen's work.  

Mrs Bennett is just as over the top,ridiculous and indulging of Lydia - although I found her ten times for annoying in this re-telling. And Lydia is just as stupid and selfish as ever. In fact I found her for so in this, there were risks enough back in Austen's times but NOW those risks have multiplied and this stupid girl gives no consideration to her actions and how it it affecting her family. 

All in all a quick and entertaining modern re-telling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. 


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Monday, 13 August 2012

Pride and Prejudice - Guest Austen Author - Sharon Lathan

*curtain rises*

Say hello to Austen Author Sharon Lathan everyone! 

*clap, clap, clap*

Austen and the Romance Novel
by Sharon Lathan

For all that some refuse to label Jane Austen’s novels as “romance” (and indeed they are more than simply that) there is no doubt that finding one’s “true love” was a large part of the plot line. Elizabeth Bennet, Anne Elliot, Catherine Morland, Emma Woodhouse, the Dashwood sisters, and Fanny Price ended their respective novels with mates perfect for a host of reasons, but with love a prime factor.

Was Austen writing of a popular notion for the era?

Historically in England, once out in Society a woman had one duty to fulfill: Find a suitable match. By “suitable” the objective was not a man who one loved but one who possessed wealth and rank. A woman who did not secure a good marriage would forever be reliant upon her family or the charity of others to survive. While this may have worked out well for some, in general marriage was the only hope, thus requiring her to make a very wise choice.

This concept is foreign to us yet for the lady of the past it was the way of things. Most women of the gentry class or aristocracy gave scant consideration to choosing out of deep passion. Of course, women are by nature sensitive creatures so emotions often got in the way! Hence the “wisdom” of allowing rational parents to become involved, the daughter knowing that her future security was at stake and thus trusting that a potential husband’s pedigree and wealth was thoroughly examined before he was offered. Indeed this was the whole point of staying within the ton and meeting at places like Almack’s Assembly where only those who were of the best quality and had passed inspection hung out!

Yet by the 18th century the idea of marrying with love as an incentive was gaining ground. Both males and females were deciding that this could add to the union in a positive way. Go figure! However, while this notion advanced and was desirable, practicality did not quickly disappear. Parental approval was necessary for the woman under 21 to marry and although a man certainly had greater freedom in his choices, he too may be beholden to a parent’s pocketbook or Society’s favor. Dashing off to Gretna Green solved the problem of marrying without approval but in most cases only led to worse complications.

By the way, Gretna Green was not the Las Vegas of historic Britain! It was simply the first town over the Scotland border. Scotland and England were not united at this time and did not share the same laws, so a marriage could be conducted anywhere in Scotland without parental consent or proper reading of the banns.

The Regency was an era of high romanticism to be sure, but it followed closely on the heels of the previous eras where ideals were quite different. Strict rules of conduct between the sexes were rigidly enforced in large part because of the rise in romantic sensibilities. You see this in the response of Mrs. Bennet to Lizzy refusing Mr. Collins. To her mother, a woman from the previous generation, marriage to a man with a career and who was heir to Longbourn was far more valuable then waiting for love or passion as a deciding factor. Conversely the effect upon the family by Lydia’s actions (if Mr. Darcy had not saved the day) reveal the penalty for behaving with passionate emotions reigning.

Thus the answer to my question - Was Austen writing of a popular notion for the era? - is yes. However, in each of her novels she tempered the belief in marrying for great love and passion with pragmatism. Each of her heroines married men out of love but they were also well established or as in the case of Mr. Darcy fabulously rich!

That definitely sounds like a romance novel to me! What do you think? And of the Austen lovers, which couple is your favorite and why?




Sharon Lathan bio--
Sharon Lathan is the best-selling author of The Darcy Saga seven volume sequel series to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Sharon began writing in 2005 and her first
novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One was published by
Sourcebooks Landmark in 2009. Her eighth novel will be released in April 2013, The Passions of Dr. Darcy an epic tale of an English physician in Georgian Era India.

For more information about Sharon, the Regency Era, and her novels, visit her website/blog at: www.sharonlathan.net or search for her on Facebook and Twitter. She also invites you to join her and other Austen novelists at Austen Authors: www.austenauthors.com

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Pride and Prejudice - Pride and Prejudice, Canine Style!

BEWARE THE CUTENESS!

SmileyWhat’s the story, Wishbone?Smiley

Who remembers Wishbone?

I remember it as being one of those series on TV that wasn’t regular so every time I cought it on the TV I was glued to it for half an hour.

Moving on.

For those of you who have never heard of Wishbone, it was a TV show where a dog (who could talk to us but not the people in the show) would play out a classic novel.

And guess what?

Pride and Prejudice was one of the episodes.

Furst Impressions (the title taken from the original title of Pride and Prejudice. First Impressions)

I am not sure if you can get this on DVD but I am sure if that marvelous invention YouTube would be helpful ;)

Wishbone as Mr Darcy (ain't he cute?)










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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Pride and Prejudice - My Favourite 'Pride and Prejudice' Character - Mr Bennett


Mr Bennett played by Donald Sutherland
My favourite character from Pride and Prejudice is Mr Bennett, and this is purely my own opinion (but of course I am all knowing ;)) but I think that he has to be one of the most overlooked and unsung gents of Austen’s work.

Seriously, this guy deserves a medal.

Why?

Benjamin Whitrow as Mr Bennett 

  • Nervous and neurotic wife.
  • 6 women in the house – need I say more.
Those 2 points alone put him in the line for sainthood in my eyes.

But he is by no means perfect. He is weak willed, and does not take on all of his responsibilities to his family as he should. He is more than happy to lock himself into his library and allow his wife to get on with the task of seeing to his children. Perhaps appropriate for the time but he is still the father and he had the final say it whatever was decided on.

I think that it is his faults that make him that little bit more likable – especially as he does register hid faults. He knows his own character and does not try to fob the blame for anything that occurs because of his lack of motivation onto anyone else. Now that is the mark of a true person I think.

So, who is your favourite character from Pride and Prejudice?

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