Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Pride and Prejudice - Naxo Audiobooks, read by Emilia Fox

This has been my best purchase in a long long while!!!!!!!!! ( just to emphasise I misplaced two of the cds amidst ferrying the different disks between my house and the car, after 2 hours of searching I had resolved to dry my tears and purchase another. After a good nights sleep and awakening with a clear head I found the missing disks, words cannot do justice to my happiness on finding them).

I do not always get the time to read, so this is perfect as I was able to listen to it in the car without anyone saying "oh she's reading that again!!!"

Emilia Fox is one of my favourite actresses, she stars in the BBC 1 drama Silent Witness which I love, but also played Georgiana Darcy in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth!

Emilia Fox - Silent Witness

Emilia is so talented and really brought this book to life, I felt much of her character voices were similar to that of the 1995 P&P Adaptation.  Although I feel this is because as a reader you probably need to imagine how the characters are, so that you are clear on how they will sound when you read them.

I cannot do voice changes or accents to save my life, even when reading to my kids, my dragon sounds the same as my mouse. So I have the most praise indeed for Emilia, her accents and variations in tones where great. Her Lady Catherine was absolutely brilliant, she definitely sounded older and I do not know how she did it but she made it sound like her tongue was rolling slightly. Mrs Bennet was the most hilarious, sometimes I had the volume up because I was on the motorway and jumped many a time when she did her voice.

The whole time I was listening to this audio version, I have been most eager to be in my car, happy to volunteer gym and football runs where ever possible. Annoyed when I did not get stuck in traffic and annoyed when people drove like idiots as their foolishness would make me lose concentration!

So many times I was laughing in my car or smiling, although I would urge you to keep your emotions in check when stationary with pedestrians about. One day I was smiling when Emilia read
"Good gracious!'' cried Mrs Bennet, as she stood at a window the next morning, "if that disagreeable Mr Darcy is not coming here again with our dear Bingley! What can he mean by being so tiresome as to be always coming here? I had no notion but he would go a-shooting, or something or other, and not disturb us with his company. What shall we do with him? Lizzy, you must walk out with him again, that he may not be in Bingley's way.''
Some guy who was walking down the road thought I was smiling at him!!!

This audio version certainly does more justice to the book than I could ever do by reading it myself. Not to mention that you need do nothing but listen.

Emilia Fox reads this wonderfully, her English accent is great and she sounds very aristocratic. Emilia's command of the English language is truly excellent.

"My dearest child,'' she cried, "I can think of nothing else! Ten thousand a year, and very likely more! 'Tis as good as a Lord!

Emilia Fox as Georgiana Darcy
I would recommend any Austen fan to make a wise investment and purchase this post haste!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Consequences By C.P.Odom

I really do not know how to write this review without giving anything away! Where do I begin? Okay maybe I should start by confessing I have been more naive than Lydia Bennet when it came to reading this book! Reading an excerpt of the book I thought I knew what this book was about, how wrong was I. While not intending to read this book just yet, a few reviews had me intrigued, one in particular from Austenprose said "There were times that the writing was so moving that I had to put the book down and just reflect for a bit! - Kimberly Denny-Ryder

So while sitting in the car during my son's football practice, I began....

At first the story was mostly a recount of parts of Pride and Prejudice using much of Austen's original prose and I felt I was just going through the motions (although I did acknowledge that this was probably for the benefit of people who are not familiar with Austen's work). But looking back now I see I was actually being led up the garden path, into a false sense of security. When I reached the excerpt I had read previously, I thought here we go! Thinking I knew exactly where I was going. Ha well that must be the biggest understatement of the year, because I never could have imagined the emotional roller coaster I embarked on from that moment in the car until five am the following morning! 

"So severe was the shock on his first sight of Miss Bennet’s attractive form and her expressive face that he almost imagined himself struck by lightning." - P.O.Odom

Five in the morning and at the midway point in the book my emotions were so spent and at breaking point that I cried my self to sleep. I am glad I had time to sleep on it because if I had not I would have been in a melancholy mood the whole day. My temper I would not have been able to vouch for (partly due to lack of sleep, but also because Mr Collins and Lady Catherine had left me incensed beyond belief). Please understand that I have no regrets, I just did not see the rug being pulled from under my feet (hence the naive Lydia comment from earlier).
Of course finishing the book then took precedent over all else and by the next evening I had accomplished just that and am pleased to say it was with a smile.

"She closed her eyes in pain, as she comprehended the unwelcome truth that her angry and absolute rejection of Mr. Darcy unwittingly made it a certainty Mr. Bingley and Jane would forever remain separated." - P.O.Odom

 This book is pure genius, so deep in retrospection that I will never look at regret in the same light again. The start of every chapter begins with a quote which leaves you deep in thought, which is a delightful extra indeed! I fear or should I say I know, I have told you nothing of the book. So hear it is in a nutshell P.O Odom has given us a double dose of JAFF 'what if' scenarios whilst performing an autopsy on P&P, the consequences of one's actions, of ignorance and of presumption. The price of fear, gullibility and the influence of societies norms and values. They are laid bare in this book. Can we really rely on chance and good fortune? What if Elizabeth missed Darcy by five minutes at Pemberley, what would be the consequences? Well you will  have to find out for yourself, as I highly recommend you go get this book!!!!

"Elizabeth glared furiously at Darcy. “Humour, Mr. Darcy? You have developed a sense of humour and have decided to display it during soup? I must insist on adequate warning next time, sir!” -P.O.Odom

Feel free to share your thoughts!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Loving Mr Darcy by Sharon Lathan

 but regret? I could sooner regret breathing than to regret having you as my wife” –S.Lathan

Seriously did Darcy just say that! Swoon!                

 Lathan’s saga continues in the second instalment of Journeys Beyond Pemberley, we follow the Darcy’s to town for the season, stopping in Hertfordshire on route to stay with the Bingleys. As is typical of Lathan nothing is rushed and every detail is imparted. Mr Darcy partakes in a billiards tournament whilst in Meryton and it is these details that allow the reader to really get a sense of their world. We witness Mr Darcy’s protectiveness over his dear pregnant wife. Oh my! Charlotte is expecting also, I will say no more on that point!

Lathan continues to give us insights into little exchanges and scenes that are not in the book or the movie (2005). Each is reminisced on by either Darcy or Elizabeth; revealing what they were thinking at those times. I dearly love these little added extras as they do leave you smiling, especially the insight into Elizabeth’s stay at Netherfield while Jane was ill.
You get to experience Darcy house like never before and see Elizabeth handle a less than welcoming housekeeper, well they can’t all be like Mrs Reynolds. Oh and we meet Caroline again since the marriage.

“She had seen Mr. Darcy as the perfect catch, and not only because of the size of his pocketbook. Darcy would be flabbergasted, but the fact is that his cool, aloof demeanor as a result of his shyness and disdain for the foolishness and falseness of society had translated to Caroline as superiority of character. Caroline looked down her nose at everyone, was cruel and snide, haughty and arrogant in the extreme. Lizzy was not the first to interpret Mr. Darcy's past behavior in this light. So, Caroline figured they were two of a similar kind.” –S.Lathan

Lathan continues to jump between the past and present, keeping you on your toes and the story fresh. Darcy’s birthday for instance, while Elizabeth and he were betrothed.
We also meet Darcy’s Uncle,who is a spiting of him and gradually he is entwined into the story, eventually playing a bigger part in the series. We see how the reconciliation with Lady Catherine transpires and is there yet hope for Anne?
Surprisingly although Lathan takes her time with details I would have liked to have seen a bit more of Elizabeth’s transition and eventual acceptance within the ton! (sorry but I love to see the Caroline Bingleys of the world brought down a peg or two)

Elizabeth and Darcy’s experience their first separation since being married and while Mary and Kitty stay with them in London one of them catches the eye of a prospective suitor!ile while wwwwwwwmnvkkd
Mid July sees the Darcys return to Pemberley with the Bingley’s following later in search of a property.
Elizabeth reinstates the traditional summer festival put on for the tenants and as Mistress of Pemberley she does ever so well.

Embarking on a tour of Derby was a history lesson in its self, I very much enjoyed it especially since I have been there and could relate but if you have not, you will feel like you have. Derby brings a little drama but it is Mr Darcy shopping for baby stuff that had me moved to tears.
With an unexpected end I enjoyed this second instalment of the Darcys.

Now I too will jump back to the past and talk of the chapter surrounding Elizabeth’s birthday. The reason Darcy does not exist in real life is because of chapters like these! I am sorry I cannot divulge anything as I do not want to spoil it, but I will leave you with a snippet of a speech that although may not seem overly romantic, when the rest of the speech is read (sorry you'll have buy the saga, which I am sure Lathan will not mind) it is for me, the best speech I have heard from Darcy thus far in the world of JAFF!

“Listen to me, Elizabeth Darcy. I do not ever want to hear you utter the belief that you do not deserve anything I chose to give you or that it is my ‘goodness’ which compels me. First of all, you are worthy of all this and far more for reasons which would take me hours to numerate, yet that is merely one point. I am your husband. I am responsible for your happiness, security, health, wants and needs, pleasures, future, and all else. I take my job very seriously and will exhaust myself physically and financially if need be to ensure this. Do you understand?”- S. lathan

Feel free to have your say, I would love to hear any comments you have.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Mr & Mrs Fitzwilliam Darcy - Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan

I  regretfully did not read this series for a while, because after reading an excerpt very early on in my JAFF obsession I felt it was not my idea of Darcy and Elizabeth (well how could it, it was Lathans!!). Then at Christmas I read Lathan's 'A Darcy Christmas' and thought wow! I do apologise Lathan and I will repent by way of reading the whole series!

While reading Two Shall become I often found myself thinking "no, Darcy would not say that", "Lizzy would not do that", but what I soon came to understand was that this book is based on Knightly and Macfayden. In order for the book to work I realised I needed to imagine the 2005 P&P, this was my Oprah ' Ahh ha' moment!  

"Darcy took the steps two at a time and practically danced in impatience. The carriage had not completed its stop before he was at the door opening it with such force that Bingley winced, sure the hinges would shatter. Elizabeth was already rising, her face suffused with the identical expression worn by her betrothed. With nary a thought toward the appropriateness or propriety of his actions, Darcy encircled Elizabeth’s waist with his strong hands and lifted her clear of the carriage. Her toes barely brushed the ground before he crushed her in his arms and twirled her about, each of them laughing hysterically" - S.Lathan                                                                                                              
This book seems to cover everything, it is very nearly a day by day account of their lives, the small details and intimate conversations are what makes the book. Meeting the staff, the day to day tasks of managing an estate and roaming the delightful grounds. Ice skating, their first Christmas and first attendance to a ball since being married all make for a great read.  

"Mrs. Reynolds stepped forward. “The staff awaits your inspection, Mr. Darcy.” “Thank you, Mrs. Reynolds.” Lizzy felt the urge to laugh. It was all so stiff and slightly ridiculous to her. One glance at her husband’s visage, though, and she reconsidered. This was his world. Here he was the Master. In the weeks of their engagement, she had seen only her “William.” He talked about his home and his duties frequently, to the point where she understood much of what life at Pemberley must be like. During that time, the stern, commanding presence of “Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Master of Pemberley” had faded, and she had forgotten that side of him. In all honesty, she had never actually seen that side of him."
- S.Lathan

 Scenes from 2005 are expanded on and parts that were not in the film are created, seeing 2005 would help immensely in understanding the characters and these scenes, but not essential. The detail really immerses you in their world, I feel I know the layout of Pemberely and having been to Chatsworth I can imagine them there.
Mr Darcy and his love of horses is captured so well and  much to my delight; what is it about a man on a horse that excites me so! This Darcy is so lovely although not quite my idea of Darcy, ( I suppose you can tell I am a Firth fan) but through Lathan I am warming to MacFayden as Darcy by the minute! He is loving, generous, kind, romantic, brave (best dual I have read so far) and very passionate!!!! Lets not forget accomplished too! Miss Bingley would be pleased indeed, a horseman, a champion billiards player and he can play the violin!

We follow Elizabeth to town with her father to buy her wedding trousseau, visit Darcy house and meet the Matlocks. Elizabeth's first day at Pemberley without Darcy, sees her  busy with the Christmas preparations, how lovely to cover a house of that size in Mistletoe and ivy. Christmas shopping in Matlock, how delightful to brows in unique shops for that personal gift, unlike the generic ones we buy  now. The gifts Elizabeth buys Darcy are wonderful and one of the gifts he gives her, is a letter seal with her initials entwined with the Darcy crest, oh I want one!!! 

"A mild hush fell over the room as nearly every eye in the place fell on the couple, both of them well aware of the scrutiny. Darcy paused theatrically, delighting in the attention for indubitably the only occasion in memory and probably the last. The caesura spanned mere seconds, but the desired effect was obtained. Within minutes the word raced through the manor that the Darcys had arrived." - S.Lathan

We follow the Darcys from November through to May, the story coming to a close with high drama and with an ending which requires you to purchase the next book (if you want to know more). Therefore I have the next book!!!!

***Spoiler alert ***

Okay not sure if this warrants an alert but I am going to be on the safe side. Throughout all of the P&P fan fiction I have read so far I have not come across a Mr Darcy who is a virgin! The first book in which I read about such a topic was Mr Darcy takes a wife and  I was mortified that he was not a virgin. Over time I became accustomed to it, how silly to think Darcy would not be experienced. So here lies the problem, I hated the fact that Darcy had a past, but know I find myself  thinking, a virgin, "do be serious!!!". Anyway Lathan made it work and it was soon forgotten.

Please feel free to comment I would love to hear your thoughts