North by Northanger (Or, the Shades of Pemberley)

 

North by Northanger (Or the Shades of Pemberley) [Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery #3] by Carrie Bebris

Thoughts Before Reviewing:

So this post is brought to you by JaneAustenRunsMyLife, my sister blog. I just took it and reworked it to focus on the mystery over Jane Austen. I’m not lazy, but as she has already done it, why not borrow it?

So it has been a while since we reviewed a Mr. & Mrs. Darcy mystery so quick review-

So in Pride and Prescience Mr. & Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy are roped into a paranormal mystery when Caroline Bingley gets married and starts acting strangely. Is she being possessed? Or is she being gaslighted?

Hmm…

Then in book two, Suspense and Sensibility, the Darcys are roped into another mystery when the young man, Henry Dashwood (Elinor and Marianne’s nephew), engaged to Elizabeth’s sister Kitty starts acting weird. Is he possessed by his great-grandfather’s spirit or just a rake?

Hmm…

In that book Elizabeth also discovers she is pregnant, which brings us to…

Plot Summary:

 

The Darcys are pleased at the news of their upcoming child, but at the same time Mr. Darcy is scared out of his mind as his mother died in childbirth. But childbirth isn’t what is foremost on Elizabeth’s mind. You see Elizabeth is sensitive to the supernatural and is convinced that Pemberley has a ghost, and not just any ghost…Lady Anne Darcy, Mr. Darcy’s mother.

Elizabeth doesn’t feel as if Anne is vindictive or angry, but feels her presence nonetheless. She has lived the year with everything exactly how it was, but has decided that the time has come to start doing things how she wants it. She decides to shift the writing desk from its corner so that she can look out the window. When she does a letter from Anne Darcy to Elizabeth falls out!

{An excerpt]

Pemberley

20 January 1796

Dear Mrs. Darcy,

Should this letter reach your eyes, it is because I no longer live to deliver its message in person. I know not who you are-what name you bore before taking that of Darcy. I know only that by addressing this letter to you, I write the woman who has wed my son. For that reason alone I entrust to you the stewardship of something most precious…I had at Fitzwilliam’s birth a…an heirloom from my own mother-I want it now, but it has become lost. If only I could find it, I would trust that I will be safely delivered. But I hid it too well, beyond my own reach. You-you must look if I cannot, for I want you to have it when…If you are my niece, my namesake Anne, know that I guarded myself from my sister, not from you-…Search for me…My daughter, the only one I may ever have, start with the knowledge that love conquers all. I am-

Your mother, 

Anne Darcy

This baits Elizabeth’s curiosity. What was the object? Why couldn’t Lady Anne find it? Where is it?

Treasure?

They visit Mr. Bingley and Jane and are headed home by way of Bath, to meet the famous Dr. Severn, the man Darcy wants to have assist Elizabeth in her birth. He supposedly is the best in the nation, and very hard to get. They also unfortunately run into Lady Catherine in Bath.

They also receive a note from a Captain Frederick Tilney:

Edgar’s Buildings

Bath, 6 October

Dear Mr. Darcy,

My discovery of your name in the Pump Room book prompts me to write. Though we are strangers to each other, I believe our families are acquainted. My late mother, Mrs. Victor Tilney, enjoyed the friendship of one Lady Ann Darcy, whom I believe to be your mother.

Though I understand Lady Anne has also passed away, I would take great pleasure in meeting her son. Unfortunately, my military duties obligate me to depart Bath this very day. However, I plan to return to my country home in Gloucestershire by 18 October, and shall remain there for some time. I would consider myself honored to receive you and Mrs. Darcy at Northanger Abbey as my guests for a se’nnight whenever you make your return to Derbyshire.

I hope your response names the date upon which I will enjoy the pleasure of your company. I am

Yours most sincerely,

Captain Fredrick Tilney

The Darcys are also intrigued and decide to go visit on their way home. They head to Gloucestershire but find it  and Northanger Abbey not as impressive as Catherine Morland did.

Bleh…

The weather is cold, gray, dismal, and stormy. The servants are strange and act like no servant they have ever known. They are given the late Mrs. Tilney’s rooms which haven’t been used in ages and there is jewelry and all her stuff in it. Their servants have disappeared and the housekeeper has no knowledge where they are, the food gross, their host never appears, the halls are cold and drafty, and the Darcys want to leave but are forced to stay the night.

After dinner, the housekeeper takes them to their host and the Darcy’s see a very bandaged, fat man, with only one eye and his mouth are exposed. Captain Tilney apologizes for not being able to greet them or sit at dinner. He has no qualms that the rooms are full of things and thoroughly questions grills them about Lady Anne, her friendship with Mrs. Tilney, and if they have any correspondence.

 

The Darcy’s are completely flummoxed as they didn’t even know of the friendship let alone bring anything with them.

Darcy and Elizabeth find themselves feeling extremely weirded out by everything and they decide to leave ASAP.

The next morning they leave, carefully maneuvering themselves out of any faux pas. They find their servants-who had taken ill (sounds like were slipped a Regency mickey). They stop for the night and then are come upon by a constable, as they were sent an anonymous note that the Darcy’s stole jewelry and riches from the Tilneys. They then are both arrested for theft.

WHAT!

What???!!!!!!!! But he’s Mr. Darcy??!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know, right?

The constable searches Mr. Darcy’s cane and finds it opens up and reveals that it has the Tilney jewels in it.

Darcy tries to convince them it isn’t his cane but one that looks like it as his cane has an imperfection in the grain-this one does’t it is a replica, but they don’t believe him.

They then return to Northanger Abbey to speak to Captain Tilney about everything and when they reach the Abbey they see that Captain Tilney is not there but Mr. Henry Tilney. The Darcy’s want Captain Tilney to share what happened that night, but he can’t. He’s dead.

WHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT?????!!!!!!!!!

And that’s not all. Fredrick’s been dead for a while.

And that housekeeper they met? She doesn’t exist. She matches no description of any housekeeper that has ever been employed there and the most recent housekeeper was fired six weeks ago.

WHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTT?????

And the house has been shut up for a while.

Mr. Darcy

WHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTT!!!!!!!?????

What is going on???

Is it ghosts? Or is there a human trying to frame the Darcys?

The local magistrate is being a bit of a jerk, enjoying the power he has over someone like Darcy and won’t release him. Darcy sends word to his solicitor, who unfortunately has been sent to France to take care of his cousin, but Elizabeth does the only thing they can do to free Darcy, call Lady Catherine.

Lady Catherine comes, throws her weight around, and this guy is no match for her. She gets Darcy released and he’ll be back later for the trial. But unfortunately, Darcy isn’t just released he is released into Lady Catherine’s care and she is coming to Pemberley with them.

This is going to be hard.

Mr. Tilney comes to speak to Mr. Darcy and Mr. Darcy shows them the letter they received from Captain Tilney and it is dated the day before he died in his own hand. However, when Tilney questions the Darcy’s the man could not be Fredrick (as he was dead on that date) but also the eye was the wrong color.

Hmm…

So who did this and why? What was their scheme? If they wanted the jewels why hide them in the walking stick? What could they have gained from delaying the Darcy’s and getting them caught up in this? Just trying to ruin their good name?

Tilney tried to get the lawsuit dropped, but the magistrate is just salivating over this and he will not do so. Ugh. The Darcys leave for Pemberley, while Mr. Tilney plans on remaining at Northanger and continuing the investigation there and getting the estate handled. So that is mystery number two, you guys are keeping track right?

Mysteries:

  1. What is Lady Anne Darcy’s treasure and where is it hidden?
  2. Who was the man pretending to be Captain Tilney and why did he and the housekeeper frame the Darcys?

 

So Lizzy, Darcy, and Lady Catherine return to Pemberley and find it polluted. Yes a pest infestation has taken root since they have been away. A giant rat called Wickham.

I’m so disappointed.

Lydia immediately accosts Elizabeth for money, and Darcy catches Wickham with a servant girl, Jenny.  Not the welcome home they had wished for. Elizabeth finds living with Lady Catherine to be extremely difficult, no surprise there, and tries to find ways of coping. Elizabeth has been curious over the correspondence with Mrs. Tilney and thought maybe there would be a clue to help find the missing heirloom. She asks for the correspondence to come downstairs from the attic, and discovers that there are NINE trunks!

They have the yearly Harvest Feast, and Elizabeth develops a slight nosebleed. The local midwife helps her, and talks to her about Lady’s Anne’s last pregnancy. She reveals that the object Elizabeth is looking for is a small Madonna and Child ivory statuette.

A CLUE!!!!

Darcy finds her and becomes so worried about the blood, calling for the horrible doctor. Dr. Severn’s arrival makes Elizabeth have to clean up her room, and all the trunks are removed without her being able to finish going through them.

This is going to be hard.

Later Elizabeth has even more fun talking to Lady Catherine and finds out that the statuette was from back in the day when the family was Catholic. Lady Catherine wants it back, but Elizabeth refuses to give it to her if she finds it, intending to keep it. It is a battle of wits as both are searching high and low, in and out, and all over Pemberley.

Treasure?

Elizabeth wants to read Lady Anne’s letter again but it has disappeared. Only later to reappear. That isn’t he only thing that is strange-is Elizabeth just having the pregnancy forgetfulness, is someone sabotaging her, or is there a spirit at play here?

So we have three mysteries:

  1. What is Lady Anne Darcy’s treasure and where is it hidden?
  2. Who was the man pretending to be Captain Tilney and why did he and the housekeeper frame the Darcys?
  3. Why is Elizabeth’s items disappearing a reappearing? Is it a ghost? Pregnancy brain? Or a malicious person?

Hmmm…

Thoughts After Reading:

This was extremely enjoyable and a very good mystery. I loved it.

For more Mr. & Mrs. Darcy mysteries, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more Carrie Bebris, go to Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged)

For more things borrowed from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Skinny Chai Tea Latte

For more Northanger Abbey, go to The Strength of Their Attachment

For more paranormal elements, go to Paper Valentine

For more treasure hunts, go to High Sea Adventure

Skinny Chai Tea Latte

Thoughts Before Cooking:

So Tuesday’s post was a mystery set in India, and I thought I should have an Indian/Indian themed recipe to go with it. I had planned to make some naan, but as I hadn’t yet, I thought I would borrow a chai tea recipe from my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLifeI wouldn’t say I’m lazy, but as she has already done it, why not borrow it?

From JaneAustenRunsMyLife:

This recipe comes from a book we added at the library, Lose Weight By Eating: Detox Week by Audrey Johns. I was flipping through the book, processing it, when this recipe caught my eye and I had to make it.

“Oh, the irony…I’m typing this at a coffeehouse. I’m just trying to be honest here, because though I don’t often visit coffeehouses, I do once in a while when I need a quiet space to work. I made this recipe earlier today, then figured, “What the heck, let’s make sure it is as good as Starbucks,” so I headed on over to my local spot and ordered-you guessed it-a chai tea latte. So here I am, drinking my second chai tea latte of the day and typing up my recipe, which I think tastes exactly the same.

I whisk the milk by hand, and it’s very easy. It only takes a minute and you’re done (and by the way I’ve had two wrist surgeries in my whisking hand, so I assure you anyone can handle this mild activity).”

Ingredients:

  • 3 Chai Tea Bags, with the Paper Tags Cut Off
  • 2 Cups of Unsweetened Almond Milk or Milk of your choice
  • 2 Tablespoons of Pure Maple Syrup (optional)
  • Sugar (optional)
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat 2 cups of water.
  2. One heated, remove from heat and steep 3 bags of chai tea for five minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan heat the milk over medium-low heat. As soon as the milk is simmering, whisk it.
  4. Pour the tea into two cups and and add sugar, maple syrup, or other sweetener.
  5. Top with frothy milk.
  6. Sprinkle on some pumpkin pie spice (if using).
  7. Congratulations, you just saved yourself $5.04.

Thoughts After Making:

I thought it was really good, I had also learned from reading my sister blog’s post to make additional cups of tea as you end up with way more milk than tea.

For more recipes from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Matcha Green Tea Blast Smoothie

For more tea recipes, go to Matcha Latte (Hot or Cold)

For more drink recipes, go to Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal Smoothie

What Strange Creatures

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“What Strange Creatures” from Rational Creatures by Jenetta James

So here at MysteriousEats.wordpress.com I wouldn’t call us lazy, but if my older sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.com has already reviewed or posted something, we just copy and paste it minus the Austen-y things as we concentrate more on the mystery.

So my sister blog reviewed a book Rational Creatures, short stories on different Jane Austen female characters from Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. Now most of these stories are not mysteries or have mysterious elements, so I just passed them by.

But the one that did interest me, was the Northanger Abbey short story by Sophia Rose and the Jenetta James’ one as both are mysteries!

Quick background on the story from JaneAustenRunsMyLife:

“The life of the Bertrams and their niece, Fanny Price, are interrupted when a Mr. Henry Crawford and Miss Mary Crawford come to visit their half-sister Mrs. Grant. Mary is set on winning the eldest Bertram, but finds her being struck by the younger. Henry’s sole purpose is to upset the apple cart by going after the Bertram sisters for fun, but having no intent of follow through. Will the Bertrams survive this?”

Plot Synopsis:

Mary is living with her uncle, the Admiral. He is a cruel, horrid man and it has become more unbearable living with him since her aunt passed away. Anyways, it seems to be an ordinary day, until a magistrate from Bow Street, Mr. James Hunter, comes calling about her missing friend, Miss Verity Stanhope.

Mary just laughs it off thinking that she probably ran off with some guy-either they eloped and will be back, or took off and now have to elope. But Mr. Hunter assures her that this isn’t a “normal” disappearance. She is the third in a serial kidnapping.

Where will this story take us? Is she going to become a super sleuth? Will she solve the mystery? Could it be someone she knows? Henry? Her uncle, the admiral? A new character? I’m invested.

He questions her, but there is no new information regarding her missing friend. Although Henry did leave early from the ball Verity disappeared from. And Verity always liked him. Hmmm….

Hmmm…

No, he has an alibi. It is clearly not him.

Mary keeps trying to shrug it off as an elopement as Verity was having a fortune coming her way, but Mr Hunter is not convinced. The two share a brief flirtation, and he is gone. A brief flirtation is all it could be as Mr. Hunter isn’t the type of man Mary is after.

Is he joking around?

The next morning Mary is at home with the Admiral, ugh. Things are even harder with him now that Henry is away. She tells him about an invite they received, but he declines as he will be out. He always does that sort of thing, could he be up to something nefarious? Such as…kidnapping?

Hmm…

The admiral doesn’t care about her or what she does, she can go to the party by herself. And he doesn’t care about this Verity business, as he sees her as just a dumb female.

Mary tries to stay on the idea that it is just an elopement, her friend is fine, but Mr. Hunter’s words keep coming back. She goes shopping and is enjoying herself, but then thinks how can she be happy and go out when something horrible could be happening to her friend?

She continues on her way and then she notices a carriage, it seems that wherever she goes the carriage follows. She goes, it goes. She stops, it stops.

She starts to become alarmed and wants to go into a shop when someone comes out…Mr. Hunter?

He followed her?! Is he the kidnapper?

Yes, he followed her, but just because he was worried maybe she could be next. He wasn’t going to say anything, but she was about to go into the shop of Madam Villechamp, a place where all the women who disappeared went into before they vanished.

Mary never would have gone in there, (except she was being followed), as her aunt always forbid her. Her aunt didn’t like the shop. But Mary must know what is going on and so she makes an appointment. She goes to check it out and when the assistant is out of the room she starts investigating.

She goes through the correspondence and there she finds a letter from her uncle! Her uncle’s mistress is Madame Villechamp! And he wants her to move in with him.

She runs to Bow Street and talks to Mr. Hunter, and finds out that Verity was found, it was an elopement. Mary talks with him and leaves to start a new life, going to visit Mrs. Grant and entering the Bertram’s lives.

Thoughts After Reading:

I think it was a good short story, but what about the missing women?

Their disappearances? Serial kidnapper? What happened?

For more from Rational Creatures, go to The Strength of Their Attachment

For more Jane Austen-themed mysteries, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to The Inn at Half Moon Bay

For more kidnapping, go to Kidnapped!

The Inn at Half Moon Bay

 

The Inn at Half Moon Bay: A Gothic Novel by Diane Tyrrel

So this review is borrowed from my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife It’s not that I’m lazy, its just why do the extra work if my sister blog has done it already?

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Kelly Redvers is a redheaded beauty and engineer that has accomplished all she has wanted in her field and is looking to do something new.

IndianaJonesHmmMaybe

 

The idea of becoming an innkeeper, has captured her fancy and she has begun looking for a place. When she first looks at the Magic Mermaid Inn, she’s not interested, but the longer she looks at the place, it gets into her heart and she has to have it.

“Sprawled across a bluff overlooking the sea, the Magic Mermaid Inn embodied the simplicity and ambiance of times past. Cozy and inviting, the Queen Anne farmhouse and its surrounding cottages enchanted Kelly Redvers into purchasing the property, in spite of her better judgement…”

Kelly moves down and begins taking over the Inn with help from Addie and Bill O’Malley, the former owners, who treat her like their long-lost daughter.

weird

Kelly begins the usual innkeeper things, but then hears that a beautiful red-haired guest stayed at the inn in the past and disappeared…she tries to find out more, but it seems like each path is just a dead end.

HMMM

Hmm…

 

Kelly also gets to know the hotel staff and regulars. For staff we have Anita and Arturo, housekeeping and chef, who are Mexican and tend to speak more Spanish than English. Anita draws Kelly’s interest as she seems to be hiding something. Kelly comes upon her and Nick McClure having a secret conversation and a lot of money changing hands. Anita also knows something about the missing girl, as she started out a guest but became a part of the housekeeping staff alongside her.

suspicious  Hmm

Hmm…

The other person on staff is Nick McClure, the handyman. He is extremely annoying as he works slow, doesn’t listen to Kelly but does what he chooses, and disappears for days-not telling here where he is going or what he is doing.

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Kelly hates him at first, but then becomes attracted to him as well. It turns out there is more to him than meets the eye as he is half Native American-his grandmother a medicine woman-the other half being English aristocracy. He also is a lead in the volunteer search-and-rescue team. Kelly wonders about having a relationship with him…but then discovers that he used to have a relationship with the girl who disappeared, Alicia St. Clair.

suspicioushmm

 

The guests involve all kinds of people from singles to families, young and old. One is Paula Watson, a divorced mother of two that comes A LOT! She says it is because she doesn’t have enough space at her apartment, but is she lying? She is also very interested in the missing girl, helping Kelly search for clues about her. Is it just curiosity or does she have some other “deeper” interests?

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Paula sets out to win Nick, but on their big night she gets too drunk to be together, insisting that someone drugged her. That’s not the only strange thing, the wineglass that Kelly gave to Paula was originally poured for her…

hmmmaliasgrace

Hmmm…

 

 

Another guest is Eli Larson-smart, handsome, a gazillionaire-but engaged. He insists its over and wants to be with Kelly, trying to engage in a relationship before he’s broken the one he currently is in.

 

Eli is over the top in huge romantic gifts, just showering money on Kelly and ruthless in getting what he wants. They do start a relationship, but Kelly starts to feel unsure about him. He was coming when the missing girl, Alicia, was there and she realizes she really doesn’t know that much about him, who he really is.

urkelgif interesting hmm

Hmm…

Grendel is a permanent guest, as he rents out one of the cottages. He is a doctor and works at a local clinic, using the laboratory for some experiments. He likes Kelly, but she just isn’t into him. Grendel becomes a good friend, giving her romantic advice, warning her about things she doesn’t know about Nick and Eli, and always assists her as he lives there. Can she trust him or is he lying about everything? He also was there when Alicia was, could he have been involved?

HMMM

Hmm…

Then there are the couple that sold the Inn, Addie and Bill O’Malley. They used to have a red-haired daughter, but she passed away. When Alicia came, she reminded them so much of their daughter that they took her under their wing. Could Alicia have wanted nothing to do with them and one of them killed her? Is that why they are so interested in parenting Kelly? Are they really as harmless and sweet as they seem?

suspicioushmm

Then strange things start happening to Kelly. Someone breaks into her cottage multiple times, the wine is drugged, creepy notes are left, someone leaves a note about a cryogenics lab, her clothes are gone through, weird/creepy gifts are sent to her, the power is cut, etc.-could it be one of those people? And what about Eli’s ex-fiancé? Could she be behind it?

suspicious  Hmm

Hmm…

Kelly is running out of time and better quickly figure out who to trust before she becomes the next victim.

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Thoughts After Reading:

So this is what my sister blog thinks and I have to agree:

So I was really excited about this mystery as it was gothic, spooky, and sounded great.

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However, I very quickly became annoyed with the main character Kelly. She gets involved with Eli as he “plans to break up” with his girlfriend. Come on Kelly, get with it! He’s lying to you! And you know nothing about him other than he is rich and charming. You are smarter than that.

BacktothefutureThinkMcFlyStupid

The other thing I had a problem with was her choices in men. I didn’t like Eli, Nick, or Grendel.

  • Eli was obviously a lying cheater who wanted what he wanted and could not be trusted-and it is “her fault” he wants to be with her while in a relationship because she is so “beautiful”. Eeyuck! Plus when she dumps him, he becomes a baby. Ugh!
  • Nick was lazy, annoying, and a bit controlling. Plus he bets Kelly about whoever scores first gets dinner paid by the loser. Oh wow, what a prize this guy is. Yuck!
  • Grendel was too involved and a bit of a busybody always watching and sticking his nose into Kelly’s buisness. He keeps telling her what to do about her romantic choices and its none of your business Grendel. Besides what kind of name is that? Who thought the monster Beowulf had to kill would be a great thing to name a child?

With men like these, I would choose no one!

good-byeNeverwantyouinmylifeHomeAlone

So I was really disappointed, and the only reason I kept reading was I needed to know the conclusion of the mystery. Once we got past the “love triangle”, and the jerky guys and were nearing the end I got really into it. It was really creepy and there was a great twist.

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So most of the book was a dud, and there was no admirable romantic lead-the end was good but it wasn’t enough to save it. I’d give this book a hard pass.

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For more reviews borrowed from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to The Phantom of the Opera

For more Gothic Fiction, go to Wuthering Heights

For more stories with a theme of red hair, go to The Red Headed League

Matcha Green Tea Blast Smoothie

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Happy New Year’s Eve!

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As tradition, we always end the year with a drink!

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This year it is a smoothie I borrowed from JaneAustenRunsMyLife.

Smoothie

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tsp of Matcha Green Tea Powder
  • 1 Cup of Milk (your choice)
  • 1/2 Cup of Plain Sorbet
  • 1/2 Cup of Frozen Vanilla Yogurt
  • 1 Cup of Ice

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in blender and blend.

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Thoughts After Making:

It was delicious, just like the ones they make at Jamba Juice (but cheaper)!

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For more drink recipes, go to Strawberries and Cream Oatmeal Smoothie

For more smoothies, go to Apple Pie Smoothie

For more from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Matcha Latte (Hot or Cold)

For more holiday posts, go to King Arthur Fudgy Brownies

For more New Year’s Eve posts, go to Banana Peanut Butter Smoothie

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So be sure to drink responsibly! Unless you are making this smoothie-then drink as much as you want, LOL! Have a safe and fun New Year’s Eve!

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The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Like this one! I borrowed the review from megafan-JaneAustenRunsMyLife

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Gaston Leroux studied to be a lawyer, but when his father died, he found himself a millionaire. He immediately quit school and went on a big spending/gambling spree losing everything.

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Afterwards, he began to work for a newspaper, doubling as a court reporter and a drama critic. As he toured the opera, ballets, plays, etc.; he heard different stories about what went on in the theaters, and it gave him an idea.

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With that he published The Phantom of the Opera as a serial from 1909-1910, being translated and published in English in 1911. The story is told from the viewpoint of an interviewer as he researches his subject and tries to tell the history of this Phantom.

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Growing up I just loved this book so much. I used to check out the children’s version again and again; graduating to the unabridged when I grew older.

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Erik is a wanderer. After being hurt by so many he no longer considers him as having an nationality or family.

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His pain originates from when he was a child and his own parents were too disgusted to see his “true form.”

“When my own father never saw me and when my mother, so as not to see me, made me a present of my first mask.” (pg. 130)

Aw, man.

Aw, man.

He is so often used to being considered as death, that he has even prepared his room as such. All in black and even sleeps in a coffin. How sad is that? Poor guy!

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But even in that ugliness and sadness there is beauty. He is a musical genius with a voice like no other.

“He heard a very captivating voice…Raoul had never heard anything more absolutely and heroically sweet, more gloriously insidious, more delicate, more powerful, in short, more irresistibly triumphant…nothing could describe the passion with which the voice sang…” (pg. 98)

Erik is very intelligent and has done many things before coming to the opera house and meeting Christine.

“You must not think, Raoul, that he [Erik] is simply a man who amuses himself by living underground. He does things that no man could do; he knows things which nobody in the world knows.” (pg. 135)

I mean he built THAT opera house and created numerous trap doors, spring sets, his own secret underground home. And that’s not the only thing he has created. He built palaces for Sultans and Kings; but always being betrayed by them as they want him dead so that they alone can posses his genius.

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One day the Phantom comes upon Christine and decides to help assist her to become a fantastic singer.

“From that time onward, the voice and I became great friends.” (pg. 116)

They spend years together as the Phantom puts his all into teaching her and helping her. Then one day Christine spots Raoul and tells the phantom all about seeing him. And the voice disappears. Christine is anxious and scared. She knows she is nothing without him, she will shrivel up into a has-been.

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The next day the Phantom comes and tells her he has to leave her.

“The voice was there, spoke to me with great sadness and told me plainly that, if I must bestow my heart on earth, there was nothing for the voice to do but go back to heaven.” (pg. 117)

You see, no threats. No harsh words. The Phantom would have simply backed off if she loved another. He would be heartbroken, but that would be the end of it. Except…

“I swore to the voice that you were no more than a brother to me nor ever would be and that my heart was incapable of any earthly love.” (pg. 117)

Ryan-Gosling-Oh-No-You-Didnt-Half-Nelson

You see that!!!! You see that!!! She purposely leads on the Phantom because she just wants to use him. She doesn’t love him, she doesn’t care for him, as she has stated before:

“[to Raoul] And that, dear, first revealed to me that I loved you.” (pg. 117)

you're evil

She knew, but she had a good thing and didn’t want to see it disappear. Now she tells Raoul that she “lied only because she thought she had no chance with Raoul.” But is that even the truth? She already admitted to playing the Phantom, she’s probably playing Raoul too. He’s rich and interested, and now she’s going to play the little helpless victim to catch him.

hate her

So you know what, I never feel sorry for her. She created this whole mess as she only cared about herself and not what her false declarations did to people. She almost kills hundreds because of her selfishness. I feel bad for the Phantom. Poor guy, who is completely crushed by her. He picked the wrong woman.

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Then the Phantom carries her off underground into his home.

uh-no-gifuhno

Now I admit, his carrying her off wasn’t the right thing to do. He should have asked her instead of just carrying her like that. But what does he do next? He confesses that he isn’t an angel or teacher but that he is the Phantom of the Opera, its architect, etc.

“He [Erik] feels me with horror and I do not hate him. How can I hate him Raoul? Think of Erik at my feet…he accuses himself, he curses himself, he implores my forgiveness!…He loves me! He lays at my feet an immense and tragic love…He has carried me off for love!” (pg. 125)

iLoveyou

He treats her wonderfully. He respects her as a thing of beauty and doesn’t harm her or touch her. And when she is upset and wants to leave?

“And, when I stood up, Raoul, and told him that I could only despise him if he did not, then and there, give me my liberty…he offered it…” (pg. 125)

See he isn’t a crazy killer or psychotic (yet). He loves her and respects her wishes. She’s the viper, she’s evil as she chooses to stay there even though she doesn’t love him, she just wants to use him.

“For he sang. And I listened…and stayed!” (pg. 125)

She falls asleep and then wakes up in a whole different room, properly freaked. BUT then spots a note left to her by the Phantom.

“My dear Christine, you need have no concern as to your fate. You have no better nor more respectful friend in the world than myself.” (pg. 126)

He just let her alone, as he sees her as the kindest and most divine woman; respecting her. He also purchases tons of things for her in order to make the place truly home.

How sweet!

How sweet!

But Christine is not happy. She wants out. She is angry with the Phantom, even though he has given her everything! All she wants is to see his face as “no honest man would wear a mask.” But that is the one place Erik won’t give.

No thank youhowaboutno

Then Erik mentions how most of her time with him will be musical practice. She is angry as he wants her to stay five days, then he will let her go again as she will either love him (hope) or pity him. But Christine is now upset that he won’t let her go now, but hey he offered you before.

She cannot make up her mind.

She cannot make up her mind.

The real issue Christine has with the Phantom is his skull-like face. This is what breaks her and makes her horrified and disgusted. She can’t leave well enough alone, and asks him to play for her, plotting her deception. When he is too worked up in the music she snatches the mask off.

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Now she thinks he is disgusting, and here is where he makes his first incredibly bad decision.

big mistake

He tells Christine that he can’t let her go. He knows that she sees him only as a monster, and if returned to the surface would tell others of the “monster”, causing them to be riled up, create a mob, and set out to kill him.

mob

Grab your torches and sharpen your pitchforks!

Christine, the little actress she is, starts playing to the areas he has been insecure. She tells him that he is genius, his music causes her to forget his looks. She even burns his mask to symbolize that she is “above” such things. In reality she is playing him  from every angle, earning his trust so that he is willing to believe she actually loves him and won’t harm him. Letting her go.

you're evil

Christine acts as if he is a true monster, but the Phantom has a compassionate heart. She asks if she can pretend to “be engaged”, playacting, with Raoul and the Phantom agrees.

“He said, ‘I trust you, Christine. M. de Chagny [Raoul] is in love with you and going abroad. Before he goes, I want him to be as happy as I am.” (pg. 134)

How can someone be unfeeling when they consider what their arch rival’s feelings?

How sweet!

How sweet!

Eventually, the Phantom figures out the truth, that this was all a set up and steals Christine away; that final act of betrayal being the straw that broke the camels back.

HurtMeHurtYouBack

I mean he really believed that someone had fallen in love with him.

“It is my wish…my wish to let her go; and she will come again…for she loves me!…All this will end in marriage…” (pg. 206)

He thinks his dream and true love is in his grasp!

“…Now I want to live like everybody else. I want a wife like everybody else and to take her out on Sundays. I have invented a mask that makes me look like anybody…All I have ever wanted was to be loved for myself…” (214)

The thing I really hate about the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is how the changed the relationship between Christine and the Phantom with her thinking of him as her father and making Raoul less of the pansy he was. But most of all they make the Phantom a total psycho and murderer. He doesn’t really kill people in the book, unless it is for self-preservation. We only witness three: two were out trying to get him, and the third he accidentally kills Raoul’s brother, who when searching for him falls into a trap. The Phantom really regrets having killed him too. Although he does bring the chandelier down, which injures and kills. How many, we don’t know.

Phantom of the Opera chandelier

He then gives Christina an option. She can choose Raoul and the Opera house will be blown up (as Erik has hidden dynamite under the floor when he built it) or she can choose him and save everyone. I have to admit that forcing her to choose marrying him was not right or what she should do, but people who have been betrayed often do not think logically but just want to heart the person who hurt them.

broken-heart-breakYouPatrick

But in the end he let’s Christine go, because she finally gave him the one thing he has most wanted: companionship and love:

“I tell you I kissed her just like that, on her forehead…and she did not draw back her forehead from my lips! (pg. 247)

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Poor Erik!

“Poor, unhappy Erik! Shall we pity him? Shall we curse him? He asked only to be “some one,” like everybody else. But he was too ugly! And he had to hide his genius or use it to play tricks with, when, with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the most distinguished of mankind! He had a heart that could have held the empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah, yes, we must pity the opera ghost.” (pg. 259)

Leave me alone so I can cry over the death of my fictional characters

 I think what resonates the most with this story is how relatable the Phantom was. Who of us hasn’t at one time hated how we looked?

anthony-michael-hall-brian-insecure-quotes-the breakfast club see myself don't like what i see insecure body image

Had our heart broken:

HeartbreakBuffy the Vampire slayer heartbroken Sad

Been betrayed by someone we thought cared about us?

you broke my heart silverstein

Or felt we hadn’t received the recognition we deserved?

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What else can I say?

gotmask

Why yes I do!

For more ghosts, go to The Little Archies in The Secret of the Betsy Belle

For more posts borrowed from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to The Strength of Their Attachment

 

Matcha Latte (Hot or Cold)

So Tuesday we reviewed The Key to Midnight, which is set in Japan, so I thought why not have a Japanese recipe? And of course one of my favorites, Matcha Tea!

This recipe comes from my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife, who LOVES tea.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tsp of Matcha Powder
  • 2 Tsps of Sugar
  • 3 Tbsps of Warm Water
  • 2 Cups of Milk (Hot or Cold)

Directions:

  1. Put the Matcha powder, sugar, and water in a cup or mug
  2. Whisk together to ensure no lumps (use a matcha whisk or electric stirrer.
  3. If doing hot, warm the milk and pour into the mug. If doing cold, just pour the milk in the mug.
  4. Use the whisk or electric stirrer to combine everything until it is a light green color.

Thoughts After Reading:

It was delicious!

For more Matcha recipes, go to Green Tea Frappuccino 

For more tea recipes, go to London Fog Smoothie

For more recipes from JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Scottish Oatcakes

For more drink recipes, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

For more Japanese dishes, go to C is for Chocolate Oat Crackles

Scottish Oatcakes

So I needed a regency-type recipe to go with Tuesday’s post. Hmm, where to look? I know! My sister blog! So like I said MysteriousEats.wordpress.com isn’t lazy, but if my older sister blog  JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.comhas already reviewed or posted something, I like to just copy and paste it here (usually without asking)

Haha!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup of Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 Cup of Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp of Sugar
  • 1/4 Tsp of Salt
  • 1/4 Tsp of Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Cup of Unsalted Butter, Cut into Pieces
  • 2-3 Tbsps of Water
  • Honey (Optional)
  • Marmalade (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat Oven to 325 degrees F
  2. In a food processor fitted with metal blades, process oats to a fine meal.
  3. Add the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and butter.
  4. Process briefly to mix well.
  5. With motor running add 2-3 tbsps of water and process 20 seconds to form a crumbly dough.
  6. Add as much water as needed to achieve the desired texture.
  7. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
  8. Knead a couple of times to incorporate any crumbs, then form into a ball.
  9. Cut in half.
  10. Using a rolling pin, roll out each half into rounds 6 inches wide an 1/4 inch thick.
  11. Crimp edges with your finger and thumb to make a fluted border.
  12. Using a metal spatula, transfer the rounds to a baking sheet and cut into four equal wedges. separate the wedges slightly then prick the top of each one 3 or 4 times with a fork.
  13. Bake until pale and tan and no longer soft (about 25-30 mins)
  14. Transfer the oatcakes to a wire rack to cool.
  15. Serve with honey or marmalade, if desired.
  16. Makes about 8.

Thoughts After Baking:

These were fantastic! So good, and perfect with your tea!

I would ground the oats in the processor or blender, but when you get to the water just put it in a bowl and use your hands.  Otherwise, delicious!

For more JaneAustenRunsMyLife recipes, go to Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

For more breakfast recipes, go to Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

Suitors and Sabotage

Suitors and Sabotage by Cindy Anstey

So here at MysteriousEats.wordpress.com I wouldn’t call us lazy, but if my older sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.com has already reviewed or posted something, we just copy and paste it minus the Austen-y things as we concentrate more on the mystery.

So, my sister blog reviewed this mystery and I’ll be honest, I just copied and pasted it with a few deletes. If you want to read the whole post, you can hop over there. Otherwise, check this out.

Gracebridge Manor in Fotheringham, Kent -1817

Miss Imogene Chively has returned from her London season a success, or so her family believes. Imogene did not enjoy the parties, being on display, etc.

Hopefully, she will not have to go back as she has a suitor- a Mr. Ernest Steeple. He’s very, very interested in her and about to visit and stay a few weeks. Imogene is a very shy and not looking forward to him coming, but at least she will be home.

She an her friend Miss Emily Beeswanger (what a name!) are relaxing outside the ruins of the nearby castle, when Imogene’s dog puts himself in danger. They try to get him back, but he won’t listen! But in the end they are assisted by a handsome young man.

Hmm…

After he saves their dog, the man introduces himself as Benjamin “Ben” Steeple, the younger brother of Ernest. He has accompanied him, and the two arrived early. Mr. Chively, Imogene’s father, is monopolizing Ernest, so Ben decided to check out the castle ruins. Ben is studying to be an architect and could not pass up the opportunity to check it out.

Benjamin joins the ladies for a picnic and Emily sets her cap for the charming, flirtatious, dashing man. Emily went with Imogene for the London season, but did not have anyone interested in her. She’s feeling like a failure and this handsome man seems to be the answer to her wish to be married.

Or him

Imogene’s dog, Jasper, takes off into the old ruins, again, and Ben helps save him for Imogene. They end up bringing part of the castle down and destroying their clothes in the process (not like they are naked bit that those clothes can never be fixed to be in their previous condition ever again). Ben goes to change before dinner and encourage his brother. Ernest is over the moon about Imogene but feels disheartened as he is trying to spend time with her, but has only been spending time with the dad. He’s worried he won’t have anything to converse with her, so Ben tells him to talk about the artist, Joseph Mallard William Turner.

Ben tells Mr. Chively that Ernest likes economics and Mr. Chively spends the whole night talking his ear off about banking and interest. Ben, however, spends the night talking to Imogene and Emily and enjoys conversing with both women. He’s a major flirt and loves charming the ladies.

Imogene finds herself feeling uncertain as she is in a place she has never been before. She knows that Ernest likes her…but all this attention-could Ben have feelings for her too? Are two brothers fighting over her? But then Emily points out all the attention Ben has been giving her and the way he has been treating her. Could this be worse than she thought, could he like both Imogene and Emily?

 

After the two talk, Imogene becomes convinced that Ben is just flirting and charming both of them. Imogene is a little saddened at that, but Emily will not give up. She wants Ben and practices her best flirtations in order to win his heart.

The next morning, Ernest is taken off by Imogene’s father to go fishing, while Ben gets to spend the morning with her. He is doing his best to extol his brother’s virtues, but finds himself holding her hands longer than necessary and thinking more about her than his brother.

I know, right?

Wow, Ben, really? Your brother’s girl! You know he’s into her. And he’s your BROTHER!!!!!

Besides the Beeswanger family, and the Steeples, the Tabards are also staying with the Chivelys. Mrs. Chively, Mrs. Beeswanger, and Mrs. Tabard were very close friends, and relatives. Mrs. Tabard passed away and since then Mr. Tabard has been a ghost of the man he once was. His son Jake has become an incorrigible prankster-pairing up with Imogene’s older brother Percy.

Ugh

So Imogene finds herself in a quandry, on one hand-Ben makes her feel special as her family doesn’t care about art and he loves her drawings and wants her to give him lessons as he can’t draw!

Squeal!

But then she and Ernest finally have a chance to spend time together. Ernest tries to talk about art, but can’t. He admits he knows little of painting and that he is a…reader. Not of poems or essays…but…literature. 

Squeal!

Imogene finds herself falling for Ernest and Ben, but she can’t have both so which brother will she choose?

But before Imogene’s heart can tell her the path to take-some strange things start happening. Her jewelry is found in Ben’s room, then a burr is under his saddle and almost kills him, the castle starts falling down as well, and more. Someone is after Ben, but who?

 

To further complicate this midsummer nights comedy of errors; Ernest and Ben both like Imogene, Emily likes Ben, Jake seems to be interested in Emily, and Imogene doesn’t know which man she wants.

Here we go again…

And who is doing all these mysterious things? Could it be Percy or Jake, taking their “jokes” too far? Could it be Emily, who is after Ben-maybe trying to dissuade him from Imogene? Or could it be Ernest who wants to take Ben out of the running for Imogene’s heart?

Thoughts After Reading:

This book was pretty enjoyable for the most part. I thought the beginning and middle were really good. The parts that kind of turned me off was when the story began to drag on with the constant back and forth of Imogene trying to decide on a guy.

It really bothered me too how both men laughed off Imogene’s fear. I mean come on guys, there is too much happening for it be an “accident”. Seriously dudes.

There is also a weird part when Imogene accuses Ernest of doing all these things to Ben and Ben becomes furious. She is in shock about how “unreasonable” he is and hopes to never see that “unreasonable” side again. Ugh, girl please-you just accused his brother of trying to kill him. If someone said that to me about my sister I would have flipped a table at them. How dare you!!!

But really, whether you will love or hate this book will boil down to one thing-which guy you like better.

For more historical fiction, go to Weak Flesh

For more young adult mysteries, go to Airhead

For more not-in-a-series-mysteries, go to An Anonymous Girl

For more stolen jewels, go to Archie Andrews: Not So Private Eye

Earl Grey Infused Blueberry Smoothie

 

 

So we had an English mystery on Tuesday, we need a recipe to match. So I borrowed this from my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.com

If you like Jane Austen, check it out.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Teabags or 2 Tsp of Loose leaf Earl Grey Tea.
  • 1 Cup of Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of Oats (I use Quaker Oats)
  • 1 Cup of Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Cup of Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon of Maple Syrup

Directions:

  1. Microwave the milk, or warm in a pan.
  2. Steep the tea in the warm milk for 5 mins.
  3. After tea has steeped, allow milk to cool.
  4. When milk has cooled, put in blender.
  5. Add oats, blueberries, yogurt, and maple syrup.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Serve.

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!!!!

 

IT WAS SOOOOOOO GOOOOOD!!!!!!!!!

 

It is one of the best smoothies I have ever, ever, ever had. It was soooo delicious I wished I had more.

For more Earl Grey Teago to Blueberry Earl Grey Tea Smoothie

For more smoothies, go to Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie

For more drinks, go to Peanut Butter Banana Oat Smoothie

For more from my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife, go to Slow-Cooker Bread

 

Slow-Cooker Bread

This comes from my sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife.wordpress.com

I love bread. I could eat it, non-stop.

So you probably saw this pic on facebook/instagram, about me making bread. Usually bread takes quite a bit of time, but my friend shared this post on pinterest with me about making bread in your crock-pot!

Huh?

It was delicious and easy, so I felt I should share. It originally comes from delish.com

Ingredients:

  • 1 Envelope of Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Tbsp of Sugar
  • 1.5 Cups of Lukewarm Water
  • 3.5 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Tbsp of Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp of Salt

Directions:

  1. Line a crock-pot with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine yeast and sugar.
  3. Add water and stir until combined.
  4. Add flour, olive oil, and salt; stir until combined and a shaggy dough begins to form.
  5. On a lightly floured surface, knead dough until it becomes smooth and soft, about 5 mins.
  6. Roll dough into a ball, then place in a slow cooker.
  7. Cook on high until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 hrs.
  8. Carefully remove bread from slow cooker.
  9. To crisp up the crust, transfer bread to a baking sheet and broil until golden, 2-3 mins.
  10. Let cool for 20 mins and serve warm or at room temp.

So delicious!!!!

For more pinterest recipes, go to Healthy Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

For more bread recipes, go to Caraway Rye Bread

For more slow cooker recipes, go to Crock-Pot Potato & Kielbasa Chowder

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

Often when people think of mysteries, they think of murder. Well a mystery is a person solving a crime or puzzle. This falls into the second category as two sisters, Ellen and Mimi Douglas, are given a diary that holds a secret code which leads to a priceless treasure. All they have to do is crack it.

As my sister blog JaneAustenRunsMyLife already has reviewed the book, I decided to borrow from her.

janeaustenrunsmylife

dashwoodsisterstellall

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen by Beth Pattillo

So when I saw that this was by Beth Pattillo, I was like…

Her again! Her again!

For those of you who don’t know, my review of Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart did not go well…

notenoughChamomileTeaStopRage

I did not like that book at all. I thought it was absolutely horrible, a complete waste of my time. (If you want to read it, follow this link). So needless to say, I wasn’t exactly thrilled to be reading another one of her books.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

But did I hate this book? Keep reading to find out!

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dashwoodsisterstellall

*Contains Spoilers*

Ellen (Elinor) and Mimi (Marianne) Douglas (Dashwood) have never been close or gotten along with each other. Ellen is the no-nonsense, sensible, wears comfortable clothes sister:

NothingThatcan'tbeunfixedcommonsenseMissPettigrewLives4aDay

Mimi on the other hand is the dreamer, outgoing, friendly, doesn’t always think things through, and…

View original post 2,502 more words

Death Comes to Pemberley

So Christmas is coming and what does that mean?

Victorian-Christmas-Traditions

Our Christmas countdown!

Every Tuesday until Christmas I will be posting a Christmas themed mystery and on Fridays, a recipe to go with. While this mystery talks of Christmas, but isn’t extremely Christmas themed, I thought it would be the perfect one to start us off as we aren’t in December just yet.

I was going to do my own review, but as my big sister blog, JaneAustenRunsMyLife, already did it, I’m just going to borrow from her.

janeaustenrunsmylife

DeathComestoPemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James

*Contains Spoilers*

While I am a huge mystery fan, I had never really read anything by P.D. James. I had heard of this book when it came out,  but I wasn’t sure if it would be a good read.

I felt whatever about it. I felt whatever about it.

However, as I have heard people raving about it and the TV series; and I found it at the library book sale for 25¢, I decided to buy it and read it.

bjksale

I didn’t really care for the book

Something is not right!

Why you may ask, well let’s just read and you will see.

startrekletsgetstarted

So the book begins with a quick summary of Pride and Prejudice, most likely for those who have not read the books. Although I’m not quite sure why they would be reading this if they haven’t read Pride & Prejudice to begin with.

suspicious Hmm

Since the end of…

View original post 2,028 more words