Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Review of Northanger Abbey (2007)

I first watched Northanger Abbey sometime around winter break and really enjoyed it. You can watch the whole video on Youtube here. It wasn't a miniseries, and I don't think it was by BBC, but for all that it was a rather good film. It inspired me to read the book, and that's all one could ever hope for in a Jane Austen adaptation. The movie had some very nice points. I shall start with them, then go on to some of the, uh,  questionable changes.

First, the movie starts with a narrator saying the exact words that are in the beginning of NA. I was very excited, for the first chapter of NA is one of my favorites, several quotes, such as "but by the age of fifteen, appearances were mending; Catherine Morland was in training to be a heroine." or something along those lines. I love when she is reading in the fields, it creates such a lovely picture! The books she reads are awful, though! And her imagination!

Along the lines of imagination, I'd like to point out some unnecessary additions to dear NA. Catherine does imagine some rather wild things in the book, but none so... suggestive as a couple of the dreams in the movie. Also, the scene that was implied between Isabella and young Captain Tilney was shown, in a small degree in the movie. It was rather unfortunate, but I suppose they are trying to be "modern" and appeal to the audience. Rather ironic, as the popular "modern" novels Catherine was reading that Jane Austen poked fun at were the same way. 

For being only a movie, and not a mini-series, they did rather well. I didn't notice any major gaps in the story, and they got the point across and developed the characters rather well. Catherine was young and naive, exactly as I'd pictured her. Henry Tilney was hysterical.... and I won't say "nice," for if I did, I know Henry would tease me dreadfully. (But that is what I am thinking) ;)

Isabella and John Thorpe were certainly a pair. Isabella I never truly liked. I'd laugh sometimes at her, and think that some of the stuff she said would be rather wonderful if she'd actually meant it, which she most certainly did not. John was a blundering dandy, as usual, going on about his "d---ed horse and buggy" as he says, and who knows what else. No matter what he said, I do not believe I could be prevailed upon to drive with him anywhere, even if he does promise an old, haunted mansion.

The story was very witty and ironic, with Jane Austen's subtle humor laced in. "I'm not saying she was very silly, but one of us was very silly, and it wasn't ME." Haha, different movie, but very true. Catherine certainly was silly, believing and making up all those things about Northanger Abbey and the Tilney's. A very cringe-worthy moment was in Mrs. Tilney's room, where Henry caught silly Catherine snooping around. Oh, what an awful time of it she had, and that night, being sent away... what an awful man that Mr. Tilney is! 

The ending was very sweet, though I would have liked to have seen the wedding. The proposal was very heartfelt and I melted. I mean, it was actually a proposal scene, which does not happen often in Jane Austen stories. To sum it all up, this movie was very nice and family-friendly, except for some short semi-inappropriate scenes, and I would recommend it.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

The Literary Heroine Blog Party Questions

~ The Questions ~
  1. Introduce yourself! Divulge your life's vision, likes, dislikes, aspirations, or something completely random! My name is Maddie Rose from The Madd Rose blog. I love books, old movies and shows, baking, playing piano, old fashioned things in general and BOOKS! I dislike homework, most modern furniture, snakes, spiders, creepy-crawly things in general, and crude or nasty behavior. God is only just recently playing a daily part in my life right now as I (finally) strive to do His works. I don't know what I want to be when I grow up, but I'd love for it to have something to do with, what else, books. I dream of living on P.E.I, Canada, in a little cottage by the sea. I am a Road to Avonlea addict, and like nothing better than to lounge around with a good book or show, and a nice cup of tea. (Earl Grey especially)
  2. What, to you, forms the essence of a true heroine?  I love a heroine who is kind, considerate, and helpful, without being too annoying and perfect. She should have a good imagination and a sense of humor. She doesn't need to be beautiful (I rather prefer that she isn't, actually) but I like them to be... pretty, even in a little way. Sweetness always helps, but you need a dash of salt, or else you might get a toothache. It helps if she has one or two run ins with love, and gets into scrapes occasionally. This is what I imagine a true heroine to be.
  3. Share (up to) four heroines of literature that you most admire and relate to.  I admire Anne Shirley greatly. She was my first old-fashioned love. I am absolutely obsessed with the series. (Ask anyone) Gilbert helped a lot too. ;)  Another heroine I relate to is Betsy Warrington Ray. She is a little known heroine, but one of my favorites. She is kind, smart, funny, and imperfectly beautiful. I want her and her Crowd to be my friends! I even went to the Betsy-Tacy Convention in Mankato, Minn. this summer. I admire Emily Starr, although she and I aren't that much alike. I like her spirit, her beauty, and her goal in life. Finally, I like Polly from An Old-Fashioned Girl. She is sweet, kind, and resourceful. She has a strong faith and shines light on the lives of others. I wish she and I were more alike. 
  4. Five of your favorite historical novels?  Oh, this is hard. Are classics historical novels? I suppose they are. In no particular order, I like love: the Anne of Green Gables series, the Betsy-Tacy series, An Old-Fashioned Girl, Love Comes Softly, and Emma.
  5. Out of those five books who is your favorite main character and why? This is REALLY HARD! Why don't you just ask me which kid is my favorite? (If I had kids....) Anyway..... I guess Anne. What can I say? I'm a big Anne of Green Gables fan! She is my favorite because she is smart, kind , stubborn, imaginative, and she gets the best guy EVER! ;)
  6. Out of those five books who is your favorite secondary character and why? Marilla Cuthbert. At first I wasn't sure I'd like her at all, but under that cold exterior beats a kind, motherly heart.
  7. If you were to plan out your dream vacation, where would you travel to - and what would you plan to do there? This is so hard... should I do P.E.I., England, or Italy? I suppose I'll choose England, although I dearly love my little P.E.I.! England would be such fun! I love the accents, the little shops and cottages, the sheep, the beaches  the culture, and of course JANE AUSTEN! 
  8. What is your favorite time period and culture to read about? I would have to say mid to late 1800's and early 1900's. The culture can be Canadian, American, or British.
  9. You have been invited to perform at the local charity concert. Singing, comedy, recitation - what is your act comprised of? I am best at singing, but I don't know if I'd have the nerve to do that. If not singing, then recitation- like Anne at the White Sands Hotel! :)
  10. If you were to attend a party where each guest was to portray a heroine of literature, who would you select to represent? I suppose I'd pick Emma Woodhouse. With my longish caramel blond hair, it'd be best to be her. (I've always imagined her with blond hair as I saw the movie before I read the book. plus, she has beautiful outfits and hairstyles, and I could spend the whole party making matches;)
  11. What are your sentiments on the subject of chocolate? MMMMMMM! Is the exact phrase that comes to mind. If I could live on chocolate, I would.
  12. Favorite author(s)? In no particular order: L.M. Montgomery, Maud Hart Lovelace, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Heather Vogel Frederick, Janette Oke,  Elizabeth Gaskell, Jeanne Birdsall (author of The Penderwicks), A.A. Milne of the dear Winnie-the-Pooh stories, and Michael Bond, who is the author of a childhood favorite of mine, Paddington Bear. 
  13. Besides essentials, what would you take on a visiting voyage to a foreign land? Books, old movies, my smart phone,  my puppy Ollie, and my ipod
  14. In which century were most of the books you read written? There are two: 19 C. and 20 C.
  15. In your opinion, the ultimate hero in literature is… GILBERT BLYTHE
  16. Describe your ideal dwelling place. A cozy cottage, with a little garden, and a hammock swung between two trees. It will have a little library with old beloved books and a nice, roomy window seat, simply strewn all over with pillows. I'd like a creamy yellow kitchen with a farmhouse sink. There should be a little piano somewhere, maybe in the library. It will have nice, crooked stairs, with a little platform and window. I'll have lace curtains billowing in the breeze. There will be bedrooms, of reasonable size, and at least one small walk in closet. It must have nice, shadowy little corners and some flowery wallpaper.  I'd like a little porch out front, with a rocking chair, where I could sit and hear the ocean; for my dream house must be reasonably close to the ocean, you know. I will see the lighthouse peeping through my living room window as I sit on an overstuffed chair by the fire on wintry evenings. Oh, and I'd like it to be on an island. Not a private island or anything, just an island. I think people who live on islands are nicer and happier.
  17. Sum up your fashion style in a short sentence. Just one sentence? Alright, my personal style is feminine and classy, but not old granny-ish or anything.
  18. Have you ever wanted to change a character’s name? Yes, I don't like that Mr. Darcy's first name is Fitzwilliam. :(
  19. In your opinion, the most dastardly villain of all literature is... for some reason I'm drawing a blank. I suppose, maybe Chauvelin from the Scarlet Pimpernel. I just don't like that guy!
  20. Three favorite Non-fiction books? Um... I don't read a lot of non-fiction... I like the Little House on the Prairie (although I think that might be fiction, but it's based off Laura's life.) I can't think of any more, although I know I've read non-fiction!
  21. Your duties met for the day, how would you choose to spend a carefree summer afternoon? Outside rowing on the pond, swimming at the pool, gardening, or on our hammock reading with some lemonade.
  22. Create a verbal sketch of your dream hat - in such a way as will best portray your true character. Oh dear, well this is an interesting one. I'd have to choose a hat that might come from Road to Avonlea. A simple hat with a nice blue bow and some small flowers. Nothing too fancy, but overall very simple and flattering.
  23. Share the most significant event(s) that have marked your life in the past year.  I found some blogs, started blogging myself, and started high school.
  24. Share the Bible passage(s) that have been most inspiring to you recently. Goodness, uh... Isaiah 41:10Psalm 32:8, Revelation 21:4, 1 John 4:7-8, and Deuteronomy 31:6

Friday, February 15, 2013

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

I know it is not Valentine's Day, but I've been planning this post for awhile. And just because I was busy on Valentines Day making homemade cards and having dinner with my family, I will not spoil my own fun. So I have decided to do what I originally planned. I decided that there is nothing better than some wonderful, romantic quotes to make people happy. So, I picked some of my favorites. (Not all because that would be too many to count, dear readers!) so now, without further ado, some Valentine's Day quotes:

"A man in khaki was standing on the steps-a tall fellow, with dark eyes and hair, and a narrow white scar running across his brown cheek. Rilla stared at him foolishly for a moment. Who was it? She ought to know him-certainly there was something very familiar about him...'Rilla-my-Rilla,' he said. 'Ken,' gasped Rilla. Of course, it was Ken-but he looked so much older-he was so much changed-that scar-the lines about his eyes and lips-her thoughts went whirling helplessly. Ken took the uncertain hand he held out, and looked at her. The slim Rilla of four years ago had rounded out into symmetry. He had left a school girl, and he found a woman-a woman with wonderful eyes and a dented lip, and rose-bloom cheek- a woman altogether beautiful and desirable- the woman of his dreams. 'Is it Rilla-my-Rilla?' he asked, meaningly. Emotion shook Rilla from head to foot, Joy- happiness- sorrow- fear- every passion that had wrung her heart in those four long years seemed to surge up in her soul for a moment as the deeps of being were stirred. She tried to speak; at first voice would not come. Then- 'Yeth,'said Rilla." -From Rilla of Ingleside

And anyone who's read that book will be sighing right now, for Rilla saying "Yeth" meant something very special indeed. It is a rather long quote, but I just had to include all of it.

"It came clearly and suddenly on the air of a June evening. An old, old call-two higher notes and one long and soft and low. Emily Starr, dreaming at her window, heard it and stood up, her face suddenly gone white. Dreaming still -she must be! Teddy Kent was thousands of miles away, in the Orient- so much she knew from an item in a Montreal paper. Yes, she had dreamed it-imagined it. It came again. And Emily knew that Teddy was there, waiting for her in Lofty John's Bush.-calling to her across the years. She went down slowly-out-across the garden. Of course Teddy was there- under the firs. It seemed the most natural thing in the world that he should come to her there, in that old-world garden where the three lombardies still kept guard. Nothing was wanting to bridge the years. There was no gulf. HE put out his hands and drew her to him, with no conventional greeting. And spoke as if there were no years-no memories- between them. 'Don't tell me you can't love me- you can-you must- why, Emily-'his eyes had met the moonlit brilliance of hers for a moment-'you do.'" -From Emily's Quest
Oh what a romantic, romantic thing! The old call! I got a teddy bear for Valentine's Day two years ago and I named it Teddy Kent. I just loved this ending.

"I have a dream,' he (Gilbert) said slowly. 'I persist in dreaming it, although it has often seemed to me that it could never come true. I dream of  home with a hearth fire in it, a cat and a dog, the footsteps of friends-and you!'" - From Anne of the Island Ch. 41 "Love takes up the glass of time"

Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorites, and I just love this whole chapter! Oh Anne and Gilbert! Need I say more? ;)

"'But I've been thinking, Betsy. The Plan has been twisted about to let you in. You're in it now, that's all. I wouldn't like it without you. I wouldn't give a darn for my old Plan if you couldn't be in it.'"...... "After Commencement Day, the World!' Joe said. "With Betsy." - From Betsy and Joe 

Betsy and Joe are one of those wonderful high school couples. They meet the summer before freshman year, but have misunderstandings once school starts. For Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior year Betsy and Joe are caught in a tangle of misunderstandings, but liking each other through it all. Senior year crowns Betsy and Joe's happiness, and need I mention, my own. :)

"That's the rose you put in the birthday cake, and next week we'll have a fresh one in another jolly little cake which you'll make me; you left it on the floor of my den the night we talked there, and I've kept it ever since. There's love and romance for you!" -Tom Shaw, From An Old-fashioned Girl

I love Little Polly and Tom's relationship! It's a beautiful little love story. And the way he changes, and goes West, and makes himself a better man....! And Polly's sweet, unwavering love. It's a wonderful story, all in all.

And we can't forget Jane Austen!

“I cannot make speeches, Emma...If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.” -From Emma

 I simply love Mr. Knightley, with an "e." He is one of my favorite Austen heroes!

"“I come here with no expectations, only to profess, now that I am at liberty to do so, that my heart is and always will be yours.” - From Sense and Sensibility

That part makes me have a smile cry, you know, when you're smiling and you have happy tears in your eyes? It made Elinor cry too. (At least, in the '95 movie it did...)

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” -From Pride and Prejudice

True, Mr. Darcy followed that up with, I know you are lower than me in rank, birth "et cetera, et cetera, et cetera;" but really, it's a wonderful sentiment.

That is all for now, I hope you all had a very happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Period Drama Tag Answers

1. What period dramas have you watched in January?

I have watched North and South, Sense & Sensibility,  Cranford, and The Scarlet Pimpernel

2. Do you prefer period dramas peppered with humor or laced with dark emotions?
If I had to choose. I suppose humor. I love to watch Period Dramas that have both humor and dark emotions.

3. What was the first period drama miniseries (two episodes or longer) that you ever watched?

I think that would have to be the Anne of Green Gables movies. I just love those so much!

4. How many Jane Austen adaptations have you seen?

I believe I've seen 6: Mansfield Park ('98?,) Northanger Abbey '07, P&P '95 and '05, Sense and Sensibility '95, and Emma '09.

5. What period drama, that you haven't seen before, are you most looking forward to seeing in the future?

Bleak House, I think.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Review of BBC's North and South

North and South was my first Elizabeth Gaskell movie, I believe. I loved it! It was a little gloomy, but the story was wonderful. I think Mr. Thornton made a big difference! ;) I absolutely loved Margaret Hale's hair. Did anyone else notice it? At first, her mother rather annoyed me. She seemed to take the move rather badly and she made her husband feel awful about it. I thought she was weak and selfish. As the story progressed, I learned more about her, her circumstances, and what she'd been through.... well, it made a big difference. *SPOILER* When she died I was truly sorry. I felt their loss. The only time I actually cried, though was when Margaret's dear friend died. I can't remember her name, but she was the daughter of that man who is also on Downton Abbey. (Aren't I great with names?) *END OF SPOILER*

The costumes were very nice. They were historically accurate too. I can't say the costumes were beautiful, because many of them were the workers clothes, which did not focus on fashion, to say the least. Mr. Thornton was always breathtakingly handsome. Margaret wore such nice, full, swish-y skirts. I think it would've been a lot of fun to wear some of them. Her dress at Thornton's party was very nice too.

I don't know why Mr. Thornton liked Margaret. She was so mean to hi up until almost the very end. And he tried so hard to improve! When he helped that little boy learn to read, my heart melted. And the way he looks at her at the train station! How could she keep on talking about investments?

On the other hand, I don't know how Margaret could stand him at the beginning. He beat that poor man, and while he had a valid (if not completely acceptable) reason for doing so, it was awful to watch! Also the yelling and evil, sullen looks he had at the beginning! He was such a cold, handsome, man! The only reason I couldn't despise him was because I could see he was struggling.

The music was very nice. Sort of dark and mysterious, which set the scene perfectly. BBC always does such a good job with those kinds of things.

Margaret's father was very kind, and his death was such a shock to me. He seemed to be getting better! It was all so depressing....

I liked the actors that I recognized from other period drama films. As aforementioned  they had Mr. Bates from Downton Abbey playing the father on N&S. (sorry, I even IMDbed it and I couldn't find it!) They also had her brother Frederick, who played Frank Churchill in Emma '09! I squealed when I realized this one.

North and South is a very nice BBC mini-series. I don't know how it relates to the book, because I've never read it, but BBC usually does a pretty good job with those kind of things. :)

For all of you who don't know the story of Margaret and Mr. Thornton...
 "Set against the backdrop of Victorian England's industrial north, it follows the fortunes of Margaret Hale, one of 19th century literature's most original heroines.
Played by Daniela Denby-Ashe, Margaret is a privileged, middle class southerner who is forced to settle in the northern town of Milton.
John (Richard Armitage)
Margaret takes instant offence to the town and its people. She becomes terribly lonely and hates the dirt, noise and lack of civilization  blaming their new way of life for her mother's ailing health.
Her distaste for the town and its people extends to handsome and charismatic cotton mill owner John Thornton, (Richard Armitage), whom she believes epitomizes everything she dislikes about the North.
Margaret (Daniela Denby-Ashe)
However, Margaret gradually begins to settle in Milton. Her social conscience awakens and she befriends some of the local mill workers, learning about their poverty and workplace struggles.
As events conspire to throw Margaret and Thornton together, the two spirited characters have to overcome their repressed physical attraction for one another and conquer prejudices of class and circumstance."
This is produced verbatim from BBC's website, because I thought it was a very accurate description. :)