July 27, 2015

Persuasion & Prayers Read-Along :: Day 11


Yay for final week of this read-along! Although it's also a bit sad. I want this story to continue forever! (Well, maybe not forever, but I'd settle for a whole other continuing book. ;) Yes, I love this story that much. It just makes me happy! Anyhoo, now we're getting to the really good stuff. From now until the last chapter, so much happens and my heart just says "yes!". So let's dig in, shall we? :D

{Head over to Amber's blog for all the discussions going on there.}

Day 11 :: Persuasion Chapters 17-18

Quote(s) to Ponder:

"Anne was obliged to turn away, to rise, to walk to a distant table, and, leaning there in pretended employment, try to subdue the feelings this picture excited. For a few moments her imagination and her heart were bewitched."

{This is a moment I appreciated because just for a few seconds, Anne is dazzled by the perfect image of living in Kellynch Hall, her home. And who can blame her? She loves where she grew up with all the memories of her mother there. It's a perfect dream, but she knows that's precisely what it is. A dream. And dreams are never as perfect in reality. I just love that she's wistful for her happiness there, that she takes a moment to allow her heart to be girlish again before coming back down to real life.}

"She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped."

{Such truth! Perfection is way overrated. If everyone loves you, if you never say a wrong thing, how are you truly living? I love that Anne can see this in Mr. Elliot, but I also love that she knows he (possibly) isn't really happy and wonders if one could even trust such a person. Especially with her heart. She's had years to create in her mind the type of man she wants to give her heart to (the type of man she did give her heart to :) and isn't willing to settle for less.}

"Poor Frederick!" said he at last. "Now he must begin all over again with somebody else. I think we must get him to Bath. Sophy must write, and beg him to come to Bath. Here are pretty girls enough, I am sure. It would be of no use to go to Uppercross again, for that other Miss Musgrove, I find, is bespoke by her cousin, the young parson. Do not you think, Miss Elliot, we had better try to get him to Bath?"

{Um...YES. Silly question, Admiral. If only you knew! ;) But speaking of, I still wonder exactly how much he and Sophy know of Anne's past with Wentworth. He acts unknowing, but I'm still not 100% convinced....}

19317307Observation:

First off, Mary's letter to Anne is hilarious! You'd think she could see her own hypocrisy in it, but I suppose she's uppity enough to not go back and reread what she's written. Or even if she does, she probably cannot even understand the hypocrisy there. And I do appreciate that she gives Anne the best news ever! (At least for now. We all know the best news of all is yet to come. :)


Now then, let's talk Mrs. Smith. She was such a wonderful friend to Anne when they were younger and I love that Anne now gets to return the favor! Such a sweet bit of turnabout. Plus she gives Anne the perfect opportunity to show her growing backbone in the face of her father's snobbish ways. (I did find it amusing that Austen uses him to mention how commonplace the name 'Smith' is. We're all thinking it anyway, most likely. :D I also loved that bit where Anne bites her tongue about Mrs. Clay and lets her father kind of take care of the situation she had been concerned with before. Nicely done and she didn't even plan it! ;) The best part though, of the two friends meeting again, is that Mrs. Smith gives Anne such a beautiful role model of making the best of your hard circumstances. Anne has already been moving that direction (as I mentioned before, she's accepted her feelings and is now actively moving into her future), but spending so much time with someone who has it much worse than she and is still able to enjoy life to the fullest is just what she needs at this point. Especially now that she's back around her family all the time and feeling their neglect constantly. It boosts her confidence and keeps it growing.

My heart squees at every moment Anne thinks of Wentworth! She's so decided in her feelings now. There's no doubt, even if he marries someone else (which now we know he won't!!!! Yay!!), that her heart is fixed on him and she's content with that. She won't settle for anything less than someone who will make her feel as he does. Of course, we know what's to come, but she doesn't. And reading those moments when she's finally able to allow a tentative bit of hope in is "Aaawww"-inspiring. :D Especially with how concerned she is for how he's dealing with Louisa's news! In those moments, she's more anxious for his happiness and that's what love does.

Question :: Who is your favorite character in the story so far, and what is it that you love most about him or her? What can you learn from that character?

My absolute favorite is Anne! But I've gushed so much about her that I decided I should probably talk about why I love Wentworth and the Crofts for a little. (Although it's not like I haven't gushed about them before either, is it? ;)

The walk and conversation between Anne and the Admiral (and all the other moments that Anne notices he and Sophy out and about, not to mention all the priceless little side comments he gives on the other people they meet on their walk!) once again shows why I love them so. They're so friendly and nice, and Hamlette pointed out in her comment the other day that "Admiral and Mrs. Croft both take people as they find them, and seem adept at seeing things from others' points of view. In this, they're like Anne, so they're quicker to understand her." So perfectly true! I simply think you'd be guaranteed to have a lot of fun whenever you were around them. They seem the type of people who draw others to their warmth and enthusiasm.

Hamlette, likewise, had this to say about Wentworth, "Captain Wentworth, I think, starts out like Lady Russell -- everyone must clearly think this because I think it. When Anne doesn't do as he would, he gets angry. Once he learns that not everyone thinks the way he does -- that's when he and Anne can be together. He has to learn this by observation, while Anne knows it instinctively. Lady Russell never does learn it, I think." Very astute, my friend! And I agree. Plus he loves Anne! He's always loved Anne and was able to see how incredible she is from the very beginning. That's enough to make me forgive him for how he treats her when they meet again. Also, I know I'm getting ahead of myself, but that letter he writes......!!! That settles it for me. :D



July 26, 2015

Persuasion Adaptations


{Yes, as I'm still reading through this story, it's still on my mind. So I'm still going to gush about it some more! Sorry not sorry.}

For me, watching Persuasion adaptations is like owning four copies of the book itself. :) I'm pretty sure I've seen all the versions out there, of which there are only three that I know of, 1971, 1995, and 2007. (Interestingly, when I went to look this up officially, I found this website which states that The Lake House movie also references this story. I haven't watched that one in an age, but I do recall that the book is mentioned.)

Anyway! I love any and all versions of this story, simply because I love this story to bits! (As if you didn't know, right?) I like the '95 version for how it sticks so closely to the book. I like the '07 version for the actors and the overall feel and flow of the story. As for the '71 version, as I recall it's rather dry and dull and I don't remember liking it nearly as much as the newer ones. It has been several years since I've even seen it, however, and I don't own it, so....

Last Tuesday, Amber, Courtney, Julie, and I twitter-watched the '95 version together. And as we talked about what we liked and didn't like about it, it made me think of the '07 version (which I promptly pulled out once our twitter-watch was over) and have been pondering which actors/actresses I liked the best and the least. Which leads me to the point of this post! I'm no good at trying to pick out new people to play the roles (although I am still waiting for the perfect harmony of an adaptation which has the right actors, and all the scenes where they're supposed to be, and flows nicely), so I thought I'd just choose which actors from the current adaptations I like the best.

And you are welcome to disagree with my choices! I promise I don't mind if you do. Although I wouldn't mind knowing why, if you care to share. Because it's always fun to chat about Persuasion! Let's get to it, shall we? :)

Anne Elliot

Amanda Root

Sally Hawkins



Truthfully, I can't really decide between these two. I appreciate Amanda's Anne for how we can actually see her "bloom" and her interactions with Wentworth do feel charged with all she's feeling, but not saying. Yet Sally's Anne has some wonderful facial expressions also! And her chemistry with Rupert was very good. Especially in the scene where Wentworth comes to ask if Anne is going to marry Mr. Elliot. (Okay, so he doesn't actually ask that question, but he's definitely thinking it! ;)


Captain Wentworth

Rupert Penry-Jones
Rupert wins, hands down! Ciaran does a wonderful job, but Rupert is simply much more handsome. In my opinion! :) His "bursts of feeling" seem real and as I said above, I liked his chemistry with Sally. Plus he's just so nice to look at! A shallow reason to be sure, but there you go.


Sir Walter Elliot

Corin Redgrave
He's hilarious and ridiculous as Sir Walter! Plus did you notice his outfit in that picture? I mean seriously! Only Sir Walter would think such fabric was the thing to wear. :D


Elizabeth Elliot


To be truthful, I don't really like either actress from either adaptation. So I decided I wasn't going to force myself to choose one.


Mary (Elliot) Musgrove

Sophie Thompson
She's annoying, yes. But much less annoying than the other one. I can laugh at Sophie's Mary, while I just get frustrated with Julia Davis' Mary.


Charles Musgrove

Simon Russell Beale
I can feel the friendship and caring that he feels for Anne. And I just overall like his acting better, maybe? I don't know. He feels more jolly, I think.


Lady Russell

Susan Fleetwood
Susan's Lady Russell exudes haughtiness, just as I picture she would. Plus the hats and outfits she wears! The costume people had fun with her, I imagine. :D


Admiral and Mrs. Croft

John Woodvine & Fiona Shaw
They just act as jovial and fun as I picture the Crofts are. Constantly smiling and overall awesome! Their Crofts are the ones I'd love to meet in real life. :)


Louisa & Henrietta Musgrove
 
Emma Roberts & Victoria Hamilton
They seem slightly less annoying, maybe? I'm not sure I can really pick which Musgrove girls I like the best. But I'm going with these two. Maybe because I just have a soft spot for Victoria.


Captain Harville & Captain Benwick

Robert Glenister & Richard McCabe
Finlay Robertson
Joseph Mawle
Yeah, so I couldn't really choose among them. I like them all for different reasons! :)
 
 
William Elliot
 
Tobias Menzies
I chose Tobias because I like his hair better. :D But both actors make Mr. Elliot appropriately creepy and annoying.
 
 
 
 
 
And I'm posting this picture again just because it's pretty and I wanted to end with a nice picture, not one of Mr. Elliot. :D
 
So who would you choose? Do you have a perfect cast in mind?
 
 
 
 


July 25, 2015

Persuasion & Prayers Read-Along :: Day 10 {and my review of The Prayers of Jane Austen by Terry Glaspey}


Well! Finally on the last post for week two, after everyone else is completely finished with both books entirely! I'm way behind, but hoping to get caught up soon. Today I'm here with more thoughts on The Prayers of Jane Austen plus my review of this sweet little book. Onwards to the fun stuff! :)

{If you would care to read more discussion of either book, head over here and enjoy!}


Day 10 :: The Prayers of Jane Austen :: Prayer # 2

Quote to Ponder:

"For all whom we love and value, for every friend and connection, we equally pray; however divided and far asunder, we know that we are alike before Thee, and under Thine eye."

Observation:

Ms. Austen is just as eloquent in her prayer life as she was in her fictional life! :)

23883181Question :: Did this prayer speak to you and your current situation in life? If so, how?

Having lived in California for so many years, I have a great lot of friends who live far away. I miss them all very much and my thoughts often wander their way. As well as my prayers! Especially more recently as a dear friend lost a family member and I wasn't able to be there with her. I just loved this little reminder from Ms. Austen that we all serve the same Father who is taking such good care of us. He really is! And I'm grateful that He can be there for my friends when I can't. :)


My Review:

This is such a pleasing and tender little book! Ms. Austen is so expressive, as she always is in her writing, yet gentle. There's just something so soothing about reading these prayers. She covers almost every topic, there's no one person or situation that isn't prayed over. All three prayers could easily be read/spoken when your heart is in a moment it can't seem to find the words.(Don't we all have those moments?) And the artwork! The artwork is quite lovely and truly adds to the experience. I loved all the details drawn and they remind us that this is Jane Austen speaking, because some of them are taken from her stories I believe. Wonderfully written, each prayer feels genuine and sincere and blessed me greatly. It deserves a place on your bookshelves! :)

**I received a complimentary copy from Harvest House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.




July 23, 2015

Persuasion & Prayers Read-Along :: Day 9


Hello my lovelies! I'm here to chat about Persuasion again. (I know. Big surprise.) We get quite the in-depth look at our Elliot family in these chapters! There is much to talk on, so how about I just get right to it? :)

{Once again, hop over to Amber's blog for all the details! She still has one more copy of The Prayers of Jane Austen to giveaway, so check it out.}

Day 9 :: Persuasion Chapters 15-16

Quote to Ponder:

"It was now some years since Anne had begun to learn that she and her excellent friend could sometimes think differently; and it did not surprise her, therefore, that Lady Russell should see nothing suspicious or inconsistent, nothing to require more motives than appeared, in Mr. Elliot's great desire of a reconciliation."

{Did you notice that Anne has known for years she and Lady Russell don't agree on everything? She doesn't let it change their friendship, but neither does she give in to what Lady Russell may desire to persuade her to now. I just love that we get another proof that Anne knowing her own strength began long before chapter one!}

Observation:

And we also get another verification of Anne's ability to see into other people's hearts and judge their motives. Like I said on Day 8, she is quite skilled at that and so far she hasn't been wrong. I find it so funny (and ironic)that her family, who all take such pride in connections and wanting to be seen with the right people, cannot see someone who is doing the exact same thing to them right in their very midst! Not one can see any smudge of dark in Mr. Elliot, to them he is all sweetness and light. Yet our discerning Anne can see it. She doesn't fully understand it, but she definitely knows something isn't right beneath all of his "good speech" and "fine manners".

3234126
Amber mentions in her observation, I'm proud of Anne for being on her guard while still appreciating his friendship and attention and I completely agree. I love that Anne can see something questionable there, but so far it appears harmless so she is still able to enjoy his conversations. She has been severely lacking in someone to actually listen to her! Even if it has to be Mr. Elliot, I'm still grateful for her sake because that's what she needs to grow more confident. Don't we all? When someone listens to us and seemingly truly enjoys chatting about the same things we like and maybe even flatters us a little, it builds our confidence in our own ability to hold someone's attention. To feel like we matter. Anne is at the perfect point in her life (and her character growth) for this kind of attention to develop her sense of self-worth without being taken in by Mr. Elliot.

Speaking of, how clever must he be for Anne to be the only one who can see his subterfuge? I get the feeling from Austen herself, as well as other books set in this time period, that people in those days learned to falsely flatter their way through society. I'm sure some were better than others and clearly Mr. Elliot is one of the best! No one but Anne has any inkling of what may be lying behind that charming smile....

Question :: If you were in Anne's place, how would you get along in Bath? (How would you handle the rudeness and peculiarities of your family? In what ways would you try to amuse yourself? Would you trust Mr. Elliot and seek to continue your acquaintance with him?)

I'm not sure I'd handle the rudeness and peculiarities of her family very well at all! They are so terribly selfish and cannot see beyond their little circle and what may or may not affect them. I can only assume that Anne's mother was as warm and loving and giving as Anne is, because she certainly didn't get any of her personality from her father! Good grief, for all the one or two moments when Sir Walter is nice to her, he (and Elizabeth!) have about twenty times as many awful moments. They frustrate me so as fictional characters, I'm not certain what I'd do if they were real! ;)

Also I am not nearly as astute as Anne is, so I'm afraid I wouldn't be as discerning of Mr. Elliot's motives. But I don't think I'd have any choice on whether to continue his acquaintance or not. If her father is so accepting, then there's not much a daughter could do back then. (Which makes me grateful that we live now and not then!)

As for amusing myself? If the concert that we see in the 1995 adaptation of Persuasion is anything like a real one would have been, then I can safely say I would not have enjoyed those. And the idea of going to a ball and having to deal with a crush of people as well as potentially dance with a strange man and attempt conversation at the same time....yeah, I'm more and more grateful that I live in this modern age. Where I can stay home with a good book if I want to! :D




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