Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

Premise:

Wendy and her brothers go on a fantastic adventure with Peter Pan, a boy who lives in the Neverland and never grows up.  They encounter mermaids, fairies and the infamous Captain Hook.  Though they go on many adventures, eventually Wendy and the boys must return home to grow up.

My thoughts:

My son and I read Peter Pan together for our homeschooling and I must say that it surprised me quite a bit.  I grew up watching Disney’s Peter Pan, so I was expecting a tame and mostly innocent story.  Let me tell you, the original Peter Pan is not all fluff.

Captain Hook and the Lost Boys do plenty of killing and maiming in their fights, though at least it isn’t described graphically.  Even innocent little Michael ends up killing a pirate in the final fight scene.

The Disney version got the story line mostly correct, but the book’s delivery is much more wordy and old-fashioned in its language.  I enjoyed it, but I could tell that my son’s attention was flagging at times because of the side tangents and complexity of the language.  For that reason I’d say this book is best suited to older elementary and up — unless your child has a great attention span.  Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it will be a one-time read for me.

I recommend Peter Pan to those who enjoy classic childhood adventure stories.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Advertisements

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Premise:

As children, Heathcliff and Catherine are inexorably drawn together.  Despite their differing natures and weaknesses of character, one can scarcely exist without the other.  Catherine’s haughtiness drives Heathcliff away and stirs him to make his way in the world.  When Heathcliff returns, life at Wuthering Heights will never be the same.  Heathcliff can’t let go of the past and seeks revenge for every real and imagined slight he suffered there.  He and Catherine are like two stars destined to crash into one another and destroy everything near them.

My thoughts:

I first read Wuthering Heights in high school because it was required reading.  I don’t even remember what I thought of it back then, except that it was a bit spooky.  Reading it now, it’s not the spookiness that struck me so much as the examination of human nature.  Heathcliff is such a diabolical character and seems completely beyond redemption.  And yet, despite the fact that he was a dastardly villain, I couldn’t bring myself to truly dislike him.  There’s a part in all of us which feels satisfaction in seeing someone else get revenge on those who have done them wrong.  I’m not saying I condone it, but something in my psyche wants Heathcliff to avenge himself.  Perhaps that’s the lasting draw of this novel — its ability to make the reader examine good and evil in his fellow man, but also in himself.

When you think about when this book was written, it was a very daring tale for its time.  Especially when you consider that it came from a relatively inexperienced young lady.  It’s impressive that she was so adept at capturing human nature and what makes the human race feel hatred, love, and every shade of emotion in between.

This was such an engrossing read for me, that the last part of the book kept me up until the wee hours of the morning.  I simply couldn’t put it down and had to learn the fate of Heathcliff, as well as his young charges.  The ending is so fitting and perfect.  It was a completely satisfying read.  Highly recommended!

I recommend Wuthering Heights to fans of classic literature and anyone who enjoys a messed up love story.

Possible Objections:

  • A little bit of bad language
  • A derogatory term for a loose female is used a few times
  • Some violence

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy by Nathan Hale

Notable: Book #1 in the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series

Premise:

Nathan Hale is a young man who has enrolled at Yale to become a teacher, however, the Revolutionary War sends him down a different life path.  Hale enlists in the army and is promoted within a short period of time.  Though he commands other troops, Hale doesn’t see a lot of action.  In a bid to prove himself, he volunteers to be Washington’s first spy–to learn what he can about the plans of the British army.  Unfortunately, things take at turn for the worse for this promising young man once he enters enemy territory.

My thoughts:

Since this is the first book in the series, it introduces readers to the three ongoing main characters: the Hangman, the British Soldier and Nathan Hale.  The premise is that while Nathan is waiting on the gallows to be hanged, he’s swallowed by a giant history book and absorbs all of the knowledge that it contains about U.S. history.  When he comes out of the book, he convinces the Hangman and Soldier to wait to hang him until he can tell them his story.  (After his story, they agree to wait so that he can tell them another interesting story from American history.)  I should also mention that the books in this series don’t really need to be read in order.

Hale’s personal story is fairly simple.  He was a young man with dreams of doing something brave for his country and that was largely denied him because he was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Once he volunteers to spy for Washington, it’s easy to see that he’s not exactly the ideal candidate, but it’s admirable that he is willing to give all in the service of his country.  A spy needs to be a bit more jaded and cunning than Hale was, and his naiveté worked against him in his role as spy.  It’s sad that his life was cut short at such a young age, but he certainly wasn’t the only young man to die during that time period to secure freedom for America.

At the end of the the book there’s a bit more biographical information about some of the more colorful characters in the story, and a section with the story of Crispus Attucks–both very interesting.

This book isn’t my favorite in the series, but I think that’s because the author was finding his way and experimenting with this first book.  In later books, I think he has managed to hone his style and creativity in storytelling a little more.  With that said, I still think it’s a worthwhile read.

I’ve really come to like the author’s style of illustrations.  They definitely appeal to a younger audience, but I think they’re just as engaging for older folks, too.  I love learning about history this way!  Both of my boys read the book, and they want to read the entire series.  No problem, boys!

I recommend Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy to kids who enjoy graphic novels and would prefer to learn about history through that medium.  Even for older folks, it’s a fun way to learn about history.

Possible Objections:

  • Violence (though the illustrations are not graphic)

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Books We Own: Terry Pratchett

My husband introduced me to the wonderful realm of Discworld some years ago.  I had never heard of Terry Pratchett and at first his books struck me as somewhat odd.  What exactly were these books?  They were definitely fantasy, but unlike any fantasy I had ever read.  I soon discovered that this was a magical and wondrous world, and I wanted to discover all of its delightful secrets.  If you are a fan of English humor and fantasy books, you will love the Discworld novels.  They are simply brilliant!

We are in the process of trying to build a complete set of Pratchett’s books, but they are not as easy to come by here in the States.  Also, I like to add to my book collection by finding the odd book at a thrift sale or Goodwill.  It’s like finding hidden treasure.  The few times I have found one of Pratchett’s books at Goodwill, I’ve wanted to start running through the aisles, waving the book around for everyone to see and shouting out my exultation.  Sweet, sweet victory!  I refrain, though.  Who wants to get carted off by the police because you got overly excited about a book, y’know?

**You can see a slideshow of the books at the end of this post.

♥ = we own the book

This post contains affiliate links.

Discworld Novels in Order:

  1. The Color of Magic
  2. The Light Fantastic
  3. Equal Rites
  4. Mort
  5. Sourcery
  6. Wyrd Sisters
  7. Pyramids
  8. Guards! Guards!
  9. Eric
  10. Moving Pictures
  11. Reaper Man
  12. Witches Abroad
  13. Small Gods
  14. Lords and Ladies
  15. Men at Arms
  16. Soul Music
  17. Interesting Times
  18. Maskerade
  19. Feet of Clay
  20. Hogfather
  21. Jingo
  22. The Last Continent
  23. Carpe Jugulum
  24. The Fifth Elephant
  25. The Truth
  26. Thief of Time
  27. The Last Hero: A Discworld Fable
  28. The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
  29. Night Watch
  30. The Wee Free Men
  31. Monstrous Regiment
  32. A Hat Full of Sky
  33. Going Postal
  34. Thud!
  35. Wintersmith
  36. Making Money
  37. Unseen Academicals
  38. I Shall Wear Midnight
  39. Snuff
  40. Raising Steam
  41. The Shepherd’s Crown

For Younger Readers:

  1. Dodger
  2. Dodger’s Guide to London
  3. Dragons at Crumbling Castle
  4. Johnny and the Bomb
  5. Johnny and the Dead
  6. Nation
  7. Only You Can Save Mankind
  8. The Abominable Snowman
  9. The Bromeliad Trilogy (Truckers, Diggers, Wings)
  10. The Carpet People
  11. The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner
  12. Where’s My Cow?

Other Titles:

  1. A Blink of the Screen
  2. A Slip of the Keyboard
  3. A Tourist Guide to Lancre: A Discworld Mapp (also by Stephen Briggs)
  4. Death’s Domain: A Discworld Mapp
  5. Good Omens (also by Neil Gaiman) ♥
  6. Guards! Guards!: The Play (also by Stephen Briggs)
  7. Maskerade: The Play (also by Stephen Briggs)
  8. Mort: The Play (also by Stephen Briggs)
  9. Mrs. Bradshaw’s Handbook: To Travelling Upon the Ankh-Morpork & Sto Plains Hygienic Railway
  10. Nanny Ogg’s Cookbook
  11. Seriously Funny: The Endlessly Quotable Terry Pratchett
  12. Shaking Hands with Death
  13. Small Gods: A Discworld Graphic Novel (also by Ray Friesen)
  14. Strata
  15. The Art of Discworld (also by Paul Kidby) ♥
  16. The Compleat Ankh-Morpork: City Guide
  17. The Compleat Discworld Atlas
  18. The Dark Side of the Sun
  19. The Discworld Mapp (also by Stephen Briggs) ♥
  20. The Folklore of Discworld (also by Jacqueline Simpson)
  21. The Long Earth
  22. The Long War
  23. The Long Mars
  24. The Long Utopia
  25. The Long Cosmos
  26. The New Discworld Companion (also by Stephen Briggs) ♥
  27. The Pratchett Portfolio
  28. The Science of Discworld (also by Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen)
  29. The Science of Discworld II: The Globe (also by Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen)
  30. The Science of Discworld III: Darwin’s Watch (also by Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen)
  31. The Science of Discworld IV: Judgment Day (also by Ian Stewart & Jack Cohen)
  32. The Streets of Ankh-Morpork Mapp (also by Stephen Briggs) ♥
  33. The Unadulterated Cat
  34. The Unseen University Cut-Out Book (also by Alan Batley & Bernard Pearson)
  35. The Wit and Wisdom of Discworld
  36. The World of Poo
  37. Turtle Recall: The Discworld Companion. . .So Far (also by Stephen Briggs)
  38. Wyrd Sisters: The Play (also by Stepehn Briggs)

Discworld Books by Other Authors:

  1. The Authorized Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Magazine from SFX ♥

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I just noticed that my camera seems to have a scratch on the lens.  That’s awesome.  😦

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Premise:

Follow the adventures of four woodland friends: Badger, Toad, Mole and Rat.  They have adventures in the Wild Wood, lazy days boating on the river, and trouble with a motor-car.  When Toad’s reckless ways land him in a heap of trouble, it will take all of the friends to make things right again.

My thoughts:

I absolutely love this book!  It’s not the first time I’ve read it, but it has just as much charm as I remember.  Grahame has an uncanny knack for writing in a manner which is both charming and playful, as well as describing nature in a singularly unique way.  It’s as if he sees all of nature as a living being.

The story is somewhat meandering (though still completely satisfactory) because it simply follows the characters in their day-to-day life.  The meat of the story is the episode in which Toad steals a motor-car and all of the drama that ensues because of his actions.  Certainly there are other events in the book and though they aren’t particularly dramatic, they are just as enjoyable to read about.

The characters are wonderfully written and developed.  Who would think that you could feel so much in common with woodland animals?  Yet Grahame makes his animals come to life and embody human characteristics to such a masterful degree that you feel like they are old friends.  I think Badger is my favorite character.  He’s a bit gruff, but still kindly and down-to-earth.  He would be like your favorite gruff old uncle who is hiding a heart of gold underneath.

I recommend The Wind in the Willows to children in their later elementary years and up, families, and those who enjoy classic literature.  This is a fun adventure which appeals to all ages!

 

Possible Objections:

  • The a-word is used several times (as the English might use it to refer to someone who’s making a fool of themselves)
  • Some animals brandishing & shooting guns
  • A couple of the animals smoke pipes (not very frequently)
  • A few mentions of drinking alcohol: beer & champagne
  • The vocabulary might be a bit advanced for younger readers

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel (Original Text)

This post contains an affiliate link.

Title: Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel (Original Text) by Charlotte Brontë

Premise:

Jane Eyre has lived a largely loveless and harsh life, first under her aunt’s roof and later at the infamous Lowood School.  When Jane becomes a young adult she ventures forth from her stifled existence, ready for the next chapter in her life.  When she arrives at Thornfield Hall as the new governess, however, she has no idea the pleasures and pain that lie in store for her.

My thoughts:

I wanted to share just a quick note on this book.  It’s a graphic novel which is totally awesome, not only for younger readers, but also for Jane Eyre aficionados.  There is a whole series of these graphic novels based on classic literature, and I will definitely be reviewing more of them in the future.  Also of note, each title comes in at least three different text formats: Original Text, Plain Text, and Quick Text.  These come in handy for different reading levels, making the story accessible to people of all ages.

On to the story!  The story line was followed quite faithfully in the graphic novel version (with only a few minor changes), and this being the Original Text version, the dialogue was also quite faithful.  It’s fun to see the artists’ imagining of how the story looks.  Seeing their imagined facial expressions and the characters’ mannerisms, along with the dialogue, is just another fun way to explore the story of Jane Eyre.  I really enjoyed it!

The illustrations are nice, though for some reason they remind me of 1970’s illustrations.  Don’t ask me why.  Also, the book is divided into chapters, so that provides some good stopping points along the way and keeps the reading manageable for those who want to digest it in stages.

I recommend Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel to young readers who want an easier introduction to the story, as well as to Jane Eyre fans.  It’s a fun way to explore a wonderful classical story.

 

Possible Objections:

  • some violence

 

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Jane Eyre - Graphic Novel - Original Text 2.jpg

English Teatime Giveaway — Cross Promotion — CLOSED

giveaway-2

Here’s February’s giveaway–a box of Bigelow English Teatime!  It’s another of my absolute favorite teas and I want to share it with one lucky winner.  I hope that they will enjoy it, too!

Enter by following the link below.  It’s open to participants in the 48 contiguous United States and will end on Feb. 28, 2017.  The winner will be announced on my blog and contacted through email.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Save

Save

Little Bee: A Novel by Chris Cleave

Little Bee

This post contains an affiliate link.

I finished Little Bee last night, another book from my Rainbow Cover Reading Challenge.  This is the book that had a very non-specific blurb on the back, so I had no idea what to expect.  My review will give away some of the plot, so stop reading now if you’d rather not know before reading it for yourself.

How to start?  This story is about a married couple and how their lives intersect with that of a young Nigerian girl.  Something quite horrific happens on a Nigerian beach, and it changes the course of all of their lives.  Fast-forward a couple of years, and Little Bee, the Nigerian girl, finds her way into this family’s life once again.  Tragedy strikes again, and the two women must find a way to uphold and help one another.

Towards the end of the book things seem as if they will turn out alright, but we’re left with a sinking feeling at the end of the book.  I can’t give you a lot of details because that will totally ruin the plot line for you, even though I really do want to discuss it in more depth.

The characters in this story are great!  Just when you think you have somebody figured out, you find out that there is another facet to their personality.  It’s never a question of who is good and who is bad.  It’s a matter of which traits they are displaying at any given time.

The writing itself alternates between the two main female characters.  This is a really nice literary device that helps the reader see the story from different angles and gain understanding about what makes each character tick.

I also like how the story explores the theme of illegal immigration, refugees and detention centers in the UK.  The author stated that the inspiration for this novel came from the real-life story of an illegal immigrant from Angola.  When he and his son were going to be deported back to their country, the father hanged himself so that his son wouldn’t be sent back (according to a law in the UK, which prevents unaccompanied minors from being deported).

I had one nitpick about the story, when it comes to the part where they are driving around Nigeria.  (My husband lived there for several years and I visited there for about a month.) It says that the women would leave their hotel in the morning, drive into the south and return to their hotel at night.  First, driving in Nigeria is not that simple.  It might be okay in Abuja, but once you get outside of a large city, the roads can be quite treacherous and slow-going.  It’s also not feasible that they could simply drive around where ever they wanted.  They were not accompanied by a man (asking for trouble), and there are actually checkpoints along the roads which are manned by soldiers.  So, that part of the story wasn’t very accurate.  Not a major issue, but it just stood out to me.

A favorite quote:

“On the girl’s brown legs there were many small white scars.  I was thinking, Do those scars cover the whole of you, like the stars and the moons on your dress?  I thought that would be pretty too, and I ask you right here please to agree with me that a scar is never ugly.  That is what the scar maker wants us to think.  But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them.  We must see all scars as beauty.  Okay?  This will be our secret.  Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying.  A scar means, I survived.”  (p. 9)

I would recommend this book to adults who enjoy exploring social justice issues through the medium of a fictional work.  Sometimes that’s a good way to look at difficult issues. You know it isn’t a real person you have to pity, but you still get the underlying social message that the book is trying to convey.

Possible Objections:

  • Some violence
  • Some language
  • Some sexual themes

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Save

Save

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

This post contains affiliate links.

I checked this book out on a whim.  Whenever I read the newspaper, I notice that list of popular books right next to the crossword puzzle.  I never have looked at any of those books–until now.  I thought it might be fun to see what’s so great about the current popular books out there.

I finished reading The Girl on the Train a couple of days ago.  It’s not the type of book that I normally pick up, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  It’s a little hard to classify.  I’d call it a cross between a psychological/crime thriller and peoples’ personal memoirs.  It sounds a bit strange, but the book focuses equally on events and peoples’ thought lives.

Each chapter focuses on an individual character and records their thoughts and actions in diary form.  The chapters jump around from one character to another, where we learn what happens in the story, the characters’ motives and thoughts, and what they think about one another.

This book is interesting in that you don’t really know who the “good guys” are until the end.  In the beginning you will probably think that you have it figured out, but as the story progresses and peoples’ thoughts are exposed, you will come to a new understanding.  The book really got me thinking about what makes a person good or bad.  Outward appearances can be deceiving.

I don’t want to tell you a lot about the plot because that will totally ruin the book for anyone who hasn’t read it yet.  I will tell you that it’s about a woman named Rachel whose husband (Tom) divorced her for another woman.  Rachel can’t move on and she becomes an alcoholic.  While riding on the train past the row of houses where she used to live, she witnesses something that is seemingly inconsequential, but that has a major impact on the other characters in the story.  There are other characters who become entwined in the story–Anna (Tom’s new wife), Scott and Megan Hipwell (neighbors of Tom’s), Kamal (a therapist), Cathy (Rachel’s flatmate), etc.

I would recommend this book as an interesting and engrossing read.  It kept me guessing almost up to the end about who the “bad guy” was.  It’s also a good study on human nature and what makes people tick.  I would say that it’s appropriate for adults because of the language, sex, and violence.

Possible Objections:

  1. Bad language–quite a bit of it.
  2. Sexual themes.
  3. Violence.

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot

All Creatures

This post contains an affiliate link.

I went back recently to read a book from one of my favorite series–the memoirs of James Herriot, an English veterinarian from the 1930’s.  This book is called All Creatures Great and Small.

It starts off following James as he enters practice after just having graduated from school.  He lands a job with Siegfried Farnon, an interesting employer.  The book is full of a series of interesting episodes that happened in Mr. Herriot’s life.  Some focus on his patients, some on the people he interacted with, and some on his colleagues.  One thing they all have in common is that they are entertaining.  It’s not just that the stories are entertaining, they are also touching.  You get caught up with the characters and care about their struggles and triumphs, embarrassments and pride, humor and ill-humor.

Mr. Herriot had a refreshing knack for bringing the stories in his past to life for others to enjoy, too.  His writing is wonderful and I thoroughly enjoy it.  I suspect you will, too.  Just be warned that his books are best for adults or older teens.  They have a fair bit of mature subject matter in them.

Possible Objections:

  • Some bad language.
  • Plenty of talk about animal anatomy.
  • Other adult themes.

 Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Save

The Color of Magic – TV Mini-Series 2008

This post contains affiliate links.

The hubby and I watched The Color of Magic last night.  Having recently read the book, I was better able to compare it to the movie.  The movie title is slightly misleading because it actually tells the story of both The Color of Magic and The Light Fantastic, though in abbreviated form.

The overall look of the movie is great–fantastic cinematography, great CGI, appropriate costuming, and spot-on settings.  You can tell that this is a very professional production.

It also has an all-star cast–Christopher Lee as the voice of Death, Sean Astin as Twoflower, Jeremy Irons as the Patrician, Tim Curry as Trymon, David Jason as Rincewind, and David Bradley (think Argus Filch) as Cohen the Barbarian.  I can’t rave enough about how well each part was played.  Death’s subtle sense of humor is to die for (pun intended).  Jeremy Irons’ role as the Patrician, though brief, is wonderful.  Tim Curry is just about the best ‘bad guy’ out there and he delivers yet again in this movie.

The original overall storyline is followed very closely, though a few parts are shortened or changed, and some lesser scenes are left out.  Since the plot is so complex, it would be nearly impossible to make any major changes to the story and still have it make sense.

If you love Terry Pratchett’s books, then I am quite certain you will appreciate this movie.  It is a well-executed treatment of the Discworld that really brings to life its unique places and enchanting characters.  It’s kind of like meeting old friends on the screen–heartwarming and endorphin-releasing.  If you haven’t read any Terry Pratchett, then this movie will seem completely fantastical to you, but that is exactly what it’s supposed to be.

Possible Objections:

  • The d-word is said several times.
  • One instance of “hell” as an epithet.
  • A whole lot of violence, some of it rather startling/up close.
  • A scantily clad dragon rider, and references to things of a sexual nature.
  • The part where Trymon is possessed could be rather frightening to some.

 

Rated: NR

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER THE COLOR OF MAGIC POSTS:

Save

Northanger Abbey – Movie 1987

This post contains affiliate links.

I’m trying to catch up with these movies!  The pile of Jane Eyre adaptations really threw me for a loop!  Well, today we’re talking about Northanger Abbey.  This version stars Katharine Schlesinger as Catherine Morland, and Peter Firth as Henry Tilney.

I was not wowed by any of the characters in this movie.  They all seemed lacking in one way or another.  Catherine was young, naïve and happy.  At times her emotions were not nuanced enough and came across as shallow.  Henry Tilney didn’t get a lot of screen time, and when he did it was difficult to discern his feelings and motivations.  I think they wanted him to come across as somewhat of an enigma, and in that they thoroughly succeeded.  Isabella Thorpe was silly, simpering, flirtatious, shallow, and constantly seeking flattery.  Her method of speaking was inane.  John Thorpe was creepy and lecherous.

There were a couple of characters whom I liked.  Elinor Tilney’s acting was natural, which made it a wonderful relief.  General Tilney’s character was strange, but well-played.  I like how Robert Hardy gave him a very distinct manner of talking and behaving.  He was more eccentric than forbidding.

This adaptation added a character who was a bit strange–General Tilney’s friend from France and her young servant.  If you watch the movie, you’ll see exactly what I mean about her being like a neon light stuck in a film about table lamps.  You just want to say, ‘Huh?’

The look of the movie was alright, but there were a few things that were off.  Look closely at the ball scenes–there is a profusion of tall feathers.  I think it was a little overboard.  You can also see the 80’s style enter into some of the hairstyles and clothing.  And please don’t get me started on the cheesy 80’s music.  Oh Mylanta–saxophone music and mermaid singing!  Are you kidding me?

The beginning of the film is rather strange–starting with Catherine’s daydream of a Frankenstein-like villain preying on a young, helpless heroine.  Catherine’s dreams continue throughout the movie, changing as she meets new characters.  They are melodramatic and feed right into her overexcited imagination, which has been fueled by sensational gothic novels.  The end of the film is not quite to my liking.  I take issue with Henry and Catherine having a make out fest before he has even proposed to her.  Not realistic at all.

In closing, I don’t recommend this film to anyone.  View it at your own risk and be prepared to laugh heartily or groan as appropriate.

I’m curious now to get my hands on an authentic gothic novel to see if they are really that sensational.  Let me know if you have any recommendations!

Possible Objections:

  • The d-word is said several times.
  • Mrs. Allen is shown sewing through her fingers in one of Catherine’s dreams.

Rated: NR

Rating: 1 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER NORTHANGER ABBEY POSTS:

Emma – TV Mini-Series 1972

This post contains affiliate links.

It took me two nights to finish the last Emma movie in the stack.  It stars Doran Godwin as Emma, and John Carson as Mr. Knightley.  This one is not for the faint of heart–it’s over 4 hours long!

Godwin was technically a decent Emma.  She recited all of her lines well and had great enunciation.  She also had the air of a lady about her.  However, there was an aloofness to her character which I thought didn’t fit Emma well.  The numerous instances where she was downright rude to her father were so out of character.  It also seemed like Godwin was a bit old to play Emma.  Carson was a respectable Mr. Knightley.  His behavior, language and manner all fit.  I just wish his character had been a little more charming, or something that would make the viewer care about him.  He also seemed a little old to me.

I don’t know why this should bother me, but I thought Harriet was much prettier than Emma.  For some reason I think that Emma should be quite pretty.  Emma’s sister was downright annoying–there really is no nice way to put it.  Her voice was grating and I couldn’t take her character seriously.  In fact, there were several characters who just didn’t seem to fit their intended role, including Mrs. Weston and Frank Churchill.  Jane Fairfax was quite an enigma.  Most of the time she seemed to fit, but there were a few instances when she had major emotional outbursts that were mystifying and ridiculous.  Jane’s piano playing and singing were subpar, as well.  I suspect that some of these acting issues stemmed from the use of stage actors who were perhaps unused to acting for TV.

Mr. Woodhouse was an interesting character in this version.  He was quite active and sprightly, though worrying about everybody’s health all the while.  Something that I thought didn’t fit is that he was largely ignored by Emma and Mr. Knightley.  That simply isn’t true to the book at all.

The costumes were alright, though some looked chintzy.  There were a few frocks trimmed with white feather boas that caused me some consternation.

The overall plot of the story was fairly faithful to the book, with only a few scenes left out or changed.  The dialogue was also very similar to the book, though I did notice some additions.

Probably the biggest letdown was the scene in which Mr. Knightley declares his love to Emma.  It was so devoid of real emotion that he could have been talking about what he had eaten for dinner that day.

So, I would not recommend this version unless you are one of the most stalwart Jane Austen fans on the planet.  You’ll be bored.  😦

Rated: NR

Rating: 1 Star

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER EMMA POSTS:

Save

Jane Eyre – Movie 1973

This post contains affiliate links.

I never thought I’d be so glad to be done watching Jane Eyre (though I discovered that there is still one version I haven’t seen yet). Last night I finished the version that stars Sorcha Cusack as Jane, and Michael Jayston as Mr. Rochester.

The film quality is very good, especially when you consider how old it is.  There was something amiss in the look of the movie, however.  The 70’s intruded in clothing and hairstyles, and even some props.  In one of the scenes at Lowood, all of the girls are distinctly seen wearing dresses with long zippers down the back.  In the pajama scene when Rochester’s guests assemble in the hall because of the nighttime scream, the 1970’s take over.  The women’s robes are all shiny fabric and gauzy necklines.

The dialogue is mostly true to the book, however, there were a few parts that were added or changed.  If you’re looking for an adaptation that is most like the book, this would be the movie for you.  It is very long and hits on all the major points of the book, sticking quite faithfully to the original plot.

The characters were mostly well done.  Adele was charming and likable, and her accent was believable.  Rochester was surly, impatient, and commanding.  Jayston did a great job in his role as Rochester, and it was easy to see his interest in Jane throughout.  Cusack was a fairly good Jane, but I felt there was something lacking in her performance.  Maybe it was a flatness in expressing emotion at times.  For some reason, I was particularly gratified by the kitchen scene between Jane and St. John’s servant, Hannah.

There were only a couple of things that really bugged me about this movie.  The first would be Jane’s somewhat shallow evidence of her attachment to Mr. Rochester.  Nothing in her performance really made me believe that she felt strongly about him.  The second thing is very trivial.  For some reason I couldn’t take my eyes off of Sorcha’s eyebrows.  You’ll know what I’m talking about if you watch the movie.  It was a distraction to me.

Rated: NR

Rating: 3 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER JANE EYRE POSTS:

 

 

Emma – TV Mini-Series 2009

This post contains affiliate links.

Wouldn’t you know it, I watched another version of Emma?  This one stars Romola Garai as Emma, and Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley.

Garai was a superb Emma!  She was self-assured, lively, full of wit, charming, and knew how to get her way, as only Emma could.  Miller was a very good Knightley.  He was mature, thoughtful, warm, and genuinely concerned for the welfare of Emma and her father.  In relation to Emma, Miller acts like a concerned older brother for much of the movie.

This movie had some very strong supporting characters.  Mr. Woodhouse’s character was developed more than even the book does.  We are shown the reason for his overwhelming concerns for the health of his family and friends.  I also like how they added depth to Miss Bates’ character.  Though she prattles, she is delicate and thoughtful.  The suffering of both herself and her mother are shown, though subtly.  Jane Fairfax is very likable in this adaptation, in my opinion.  She is more warm and open, and enjoys a healthier relationship with Emma than in other versions (though opposed to the book itself).  Mr. Elton is humorous in his affected gallantry.  Miss Taylor/Mrs. Weston is wonderful in her ease and familiarity.  Okay, I’ll stop now.  I don’t really need to comment on every character, do I?

The overall look of the movie was fantastic–really nice scenery, furnishings, and costuming!  There were some dialogue changes, but I think they were meant to update the story a bit for modern audiences.  I noticed that in this version there is much more interaction between Emma and Mr. Knightley than in other versions.  I’m sure this is made easier because of the extended length of it.  The dance scene was nice and lively–much more spirited than generally seen in movies depicting this time period. The final thing I’d like to comment on is the believability of the relationships between the different characters.  It is easy to imagine their relationships and attachments to be real.  I love that in a good movie!

In case you couldn’t tell, this is my favorite version of Emma.  I would suggest it to all Jane Austen fans and those who enjoy a good romantic story.  Happy viewing!

Rated: NR

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

OTHER EMMA POSTS: