July 27, 2015

Persuasion & Prayers Read-Along :: Day 11

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

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

Day 11 :: Persuasion Chapters 17-18

Quote(s) to Ponder:

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 26, 2015

Persuasion Adaptations

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

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

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

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

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

Anne Elliot

Amanda Root

Sally Hawkins

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

Captain Wentworth

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

Sir Walter Elliot

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

Elizabeth Elliot

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

Mary (Elliot) Musgrove

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

Charles Musgrove

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

Lady Russell

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

Admiral and Mrs. Croft

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

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

Captain Harville & Captain Benwick

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

July 25, 2015

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

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

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

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

Quote to Ponder:

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


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

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

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

My Review:

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

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

July 23, 2015

Persuasion & Prayers Read-Along :: Day 9

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

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

Day 9 :: Persuasion Chapters 15-16

Quote to Ponder:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

July 22, 2015

Persuasion & Prayers Read-Along :: Day 8

Here I am! Ready for more gushing and everything wonderful about Persuasion. I actually can't remember the last time I read this book, which means it's been entirely too long! It's such a quiet and lovely story and I am thrilled to be reading through all the particulars again. But anyhoo! Enough of my blathering about nothing, let's get to the good stuff, yes? :)

{As before, click over to Amber's blog for more discussion and the final giveaway!}

Day 8 :: Persuasion Chapters 13-14

Quote to Ponder:

"Scenes had passed in Uppercross which made it precious. It stood the record of many sensations of pain, once severe, but now softened; and of some instances of relenting feeling, some breathings of friendship and reconciliation, which could never be looked for again, and which could never cease to be dear. She left it all behind her, all but the recollection that such things had been."


I think one of the many reasons I love Anne and her story is how introspective she is. (I can relate to that. :) I especially enjoy how she contemplates the Mansion House and Cottage and all the memories that were created in just a couple short months. So much happened inside her during that time! And she finally gets a few hours to sort through all the emotions and come to understand them further.

Anne is one of the wisest characters I've ever read. She doesn't say much, but she observes everything! She also is quite excellent at reading people. Her ability to hear what people say, watch what they do, and judge their character accordingly is amazing. She sees and understands their underlying motives.

This becomes more clear as we get further into the story, but in these two chapters Anne has lots of time for observing the people around her and listening to what they're really saying. By which I mean, she comprehends not only their actual words, but also what their heart is behind those words. She quickly concludes that Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove need to go and see Louisa. She has always understood Charles and Mary ever so much better than they even understand themselves.

25597577And I've come to the conclusion, during this reread, that Anne and Admiral Croft are kindred spirits! :) I love their little conversation at Kellynch Hall. During that convo, the Admiral comprehends, without Anne hardly saying a word, how she must be feeling about being in her home again. Now I realize that anyone would probably have thought the same (well...anyone except for Anne's immediate family) and made mention of it, but somehow while reading this scene it felt different than that to me. Anne is such an internal and quiet person, the Admiral is so very jovial and warm, and somehow it feels like they truly understand one another in that convo. They read each other's intents and feelings (more the Admiral reading Anne's I suppose), and quickly respond to any change of expression. Maybe I'm simply reading too much into it (I do like to analyze this story, don't I? ;), but it just feels like a conversation (more by what's unsaid rather than what is said) of two old friends. And they haven't really known one another that long! I don't know. Did anybody else feel that way?

Question :: Here we spend a little more time getting to know Lady Russell. What are your thoughts about her relationship with Anne? Do you think she still holds power to persuade Anne in her life choices?

Ah, Lady Russell. I don't necessarily think she's a bad person. I just think she's so sure that she's right so much of the time that she isn't able to see how wrong she can be. Mostly in regards to what Anne is thinking and feeling (proof of this is in chapter 13 when she's concerned for Anne about going to visit Kellynch Hall and she can't see how Anne's changed, when she's had three or four days to do so). I know she loves Anne, I don't doubt that she has good intentions and desires the best of the best for her future. But she doesn't understand her. Not really. And I think Anne knows that. She doesn't love Lady Russell any less on account of that, which is more proof for what a truly good person Anne is. But since she knows Lady Russell doesn't understand her, accordingly Lady Russell has lost the ability to influence her any longer. At least when it comes to exerting her powers of persuasion over big decisions in Anne's life.

Anne has gotten so much stronger during the first half of the book! Reading over her thoughts in these two chapters made me realize that Anne has a better understanding of her own inner strength, at least to a certain degree. While she already knew her own mind about several things, having the experience of spending so much time with Wentworth (and Louisa) gave her more courage and boldness. She knows she still loves him, but she's not letting that depress her any longer. Her acceptance of her feelings pushes her to actually move into her future, rather than just let it happen while she cowers at home. How firm she is in her thoughts during these chapters proves that, at least to me.

Which is why I don't think Lady Russell has the power to persuade Anne in her life choices any longer. Oh, I think Anne will still be willing to listen to her opinion, but she'll take responsibility for her own choices and her own happiness.

Have I mentioned how much I love Anne? (Only about fifty times or so, right?) Just thinking over what she's experienced in the last several chapters and how strong she is and knowing how much stronger she's yet to be...I love her story arc to pieces! Anne is awesome. And so is Admiral Croft!

Onward to chapters 15 and 16...

July 17, 2015

Persuasion & Prayers Read-Along :: Day 7

Oh look! I'm posting again! At the rate that I'm going, it's looking to be next week before any of the rest of my week two discussions get posted. *sigh* I thought I would get caught up last night, but turns out I have a lot of FEELS. And trying to put feels into actual words that make sense? Not so easy. (I spent two hours trying to compose just this one post! I finally gave up and went to sleep.) Now here am I, attempting sensical things about Persuasion. Let's see how I do, shall we? (It's probably more nonsensical though.) Beware the lengthiness! Like I said, I had FEELS. :D

{For any interested in more discussion and/or a giveaway, click over to Amber's blog and enjoy!}

Day 7 :: Persuasion Chapters 11-12

Quote to Ponder:

"Anne wondered whether it ever occurred to him now, to question the justness of his own previous opinion as to the universal felicity and advantage of firmness of character; and whether it might not strike him that, like all other qualities of the mind, it should have its proportions and limits. She thought it could scarcely escape him to feel that a persuadable temper might sometimes be as much in favor as a very resolute character."

{Look at our Anne getting all feisty on Wentworth! Too bad she didn’t actually say this out loud. ;)


Quite an adventure! This is one trip to Lyme that not a single person in Anne’s party is going to forget any time soon. Reading over Amber’s observation, she states “…it’s interesting to me that so much happens around Anne. As the heroine of the book, she instigates very little and is forced to react to quite a lot.” While I agree this is entirely true, I can see reasons why this actually works well. Because Anne’s character is pretty firmly established at the beginning of the book. She’s held on to her regret and missed hopes for eight years. (Eight years, people!) That’s constancy. And loyalty. While you may scoff at that, being constant and loyal are traits to be admired. (Especially when held up against the immature Louisa, who has a lot of big talk, but no true experience to back it up.) And she's determined never to be persuaded against her wishes again. So if you take a dependable, steadfast, and resolute personality, what should their character arc be? Because you know that the heroine needs one. And you aren’t able to make her transform herself because let’s face it, Anne’s not going to do that, she would never push herself forward. All those years under her father’s roof, being constantly belittled would cause anyone to stay in the background as much as possible. (Also this Anne is too used to staying home and letting others have all the adventures. It's a habit. And habits are notoriously difficult to change.) To cause transformation to occur then, is going to require all the other characters to help it along. Hence why Anne is constantly reacting, because it’s while she's in that state that moments of significance happen for her. Take for example when she overhears Wentworth say, “…no one so proper, so capable as Anne.” To be thought capable? And proper? What a huge encouragement that would be! She knows her father does not understand her, her older sister finds her a nuisance, her younger sister uses her, and her so called “friend” Lady Russell doesn’t even give a lot of precedence to Anne’s opinion (she tends to say she does, but ends up overpowering Anne in the long run). All the important people in her life have never made her feel truly worthy. Then Wentworth says that without knowing she will hear it. And later, even asks for her opinion! To realize someone so close to her heart thinks her opinion valuable would be an amazing epiphany for Anne. So what I’m trying to say is, she would never have had those sweet moments, which help set her on a course to becoming more bold (in her own way), if she wasn’t thrust into the Lyme situation by others. She would never have gotten there by herself. Does that make sense?

11758566Question :: Anne appears to value Wentworth's attention and his "care" of her very highly: from his noticing she needed rest (back in chapter 10), to his choosing her to stay behind with Louisa - and then asking for her opinion on whether or not his plan was a good one. Do you believe that Wentworth's intentions are noble? Do his actions and thoughts regarding Anne arise from genuine concern and admiration? Or is Anne seeing only what she wants to see?

A bit of both, maybe? I do think his actions are genuine, yet at this point I feel like he’s still pretty unaware of why he’s doing it. It’s more like he’s unintentionally noticing and thinking of and reacting to her. I mean, think about it. I said before that he’s operating under a lot of fear of repeating past mistakes and bitterness at Anne, which explains all his interactions with both Musgrove girls. His bitter side wants to throw it in Anne’s face that these younger, prettier girls like him a lot and “See what you missed out on?” type of stuff. But his heart starts realizing that as Anne is in his current circle of friends a great deal, this naturally leads to comparisons of her mannerisms mirrored against Louisa and Henrietta (still all very unknowingly). Might I further point out that if you’re constantly trying to show a person how good you have it now, you have to notice them to do that, else all the pleasure of showing them up is non-existent, right? Although I also think this trip to Lyme is when he starts to understand how special Anne is. He starts to realize what he's been unconsciously noticing about her. (I do realize this is kind of assuming a lot as we’re not really privy to his thought processes. But bear with me.) Since we get kind of a contradictory picture of what Wentworth is feeling, it leads me to think that he’s not really sure himself. But the more aware he becomes, the more his instinctive attention and care escalates until it culminates in that moment he realizes how capable and amazing she is under pressure. And why on earth had he ever thought he wanted a young girl when he could have a mature woman who understands what is proper and has the natural ability to care for others?! (Okay, maybe that last statement is just my own wishful thinking. ;)

On Anne’s side, all we get is what she’s assuming he’s thinking and feeling and while it certainly seems like she's imagining things, I'm not sure she is. I think these two can truly see each other, they just aren’t aware of how right they are. We know she's still in love with him, but we don't know how he feels. So that makes it easy to assume she's got rose-colored glasses on, because we can sympathize with that. As readers (and maybe as women readers? *shrugs*) we can understand how simple it would be to do that. Yet as Anne ascribes all these feelings as to why Wentworth does what he does, I think HE just doesn’t realize how much his actions betray him. At least to her. Read back over the first paragraph of chapter 10. I feel like she's being pretty perceptive at that particular moment. Then again, I could just be analyzing all this a little too much! I do love this story, you know. I am far from giving a neutral opinion. :D

On a different note, Julie has commented over in the discussions on Amber's posts about how much Austen makes her laugh. And I have to agree! There are so many great moments when I almost do a double-take and have to go back and read a sentence over again. Because I don't know if people used sarcasm back in her day, but Jane Austen's characters sure do have several moments of sarcastic asides that make me snort! And it's all thought or said so calmly that you don't hardly notice how hilarious it is at first. I love that part of her writing!

July 16, 2015

As I'm Currently Reading Persuasion...

 I'm just going to leave this here, shall I? ;)

This particular scene...and the way he stares at her...!!!!

I have to have an Anne picture too!
Convenient that Wentworth's in the background though. :D

Persuasion 1995

The Crofts! These two are my favorites (aside from Anne and Wentworth, of course ;). So I had to include them as well. (I know, I'm using actors from a different adaptation. Can't help it! I love these Crofts the best. :)

Persuasion & Prayers Read-Along :: Day 6

And I'm back for week two! A little late, but here nonetheless. :) Ah, the emotional upheavals of these next chapters.......but I'm getting ahead of myself. Before entering into the gushing portion of this post, just a reminder that lots of discussion is currently going on over here, where you can also get more details on this read-along. (Also there's a giveaway! So be sure to check it out.)

So! On with the gushing, yes? :D {Beware the spoilers.}

Day 6 :: Persuasion Chapters 9-10

Quote to Ponder:

(I have two today because I couldn't choose between them! :)

"...Anne...felt some comfort in their whole party being immediately afterwards collected, and once more in motion together. Her spirits wanted the solitude and silence which only numbers could give."

"My dear Admiral, that post! we shall certainly take that post." But by coolly giving the reins a better direction herself they happily passed the danger; and by once after judiciously putting out her hand they neither fell into a rut, nor ran foul of a dung-cart; and Anne, with some amusement at their style of driving, which she imagined no bad representation of the general guidance of their affairs, found herself safely deposited by them at the Cottage."


There is so much I could talk on in these chapters, but what struck me the most is that second quote above. I love the Crofts! Their haphazard driving of their gig is hilarious and I laugh at how Wentworth mentions how often they fall out of it. I'd forgotten all about this little quirk of theirs. I also love how Anne decides that they drive just like they live. A little haphazardly, a little dangerously (he is an Admiral remember, and his wife has lived on his boat with him), yet always loving and helping one another. Did you notice that little moment where it says that Mrs. Croft took over the reins for a minute and then later puts her hand out to keep everything steady? No big show, she just quickly and efficiently helped in a serious situation and then moved on. (Not unlike someone else I could mention....) What a marriage these two clearly have! They are one fictional couple I'd love to meet in real life. :D

Then, of course, that first quote is so Anne. I feel such sympathy for her in that moment and can understand her desire for anonymity. What better chance of being anonymous than in a crowd that includes the Miss Musgroves'? And Mary? Those three ladies are excellent at gathering all the attention to themselves. There is something weirdly comforting (sometimes) about being alone in a crowd.

Question :: I have to ask, because I love autumn and I love the theme of "seasons," what connections do you see between the autumnal setting of chapter 10 and the current state of Anne and Wentworth's relationship?

There's another small quote I loved and it's when Wentworth says, "If Louisa Musgrove would be beautiful and happy in her November of life, she will cherish all her present powers of mind." I think that applies so nicely to Anne and Wentworth's current relationship. Anne is considering them to be in their "November". The beautiful Spring of their relationship happened when they first met and were deliriously happy. Then Summer came, with all its hot weather and stress of so many around Anne pulling her this way and that. With her decision to refuse him, Wentworth's leaving brought on the Autumn of unhappiness. And now we're in November, a very chilly response from him whenever they chance upon each other (which is happening way too often for poor Anne!). And she's fully expecting them to be well on their way to Winter when "all hope is gone" forever. (If you follow what I'm trying to say?)

I also want to note how very much I love what Wentworth does for her on their walk. Quite unbeknownst to her, he notices how tired she is and desires to bring her relief. I'm not convinced that her reasoning why he did this is correct, however. Because I still stand by my belief that he doesn't truly know his own heart yet and unconsciously wants to provide comfort for her. If we asked him in that moment why he did such a thing, what would he answer I wonder?

July 14, 2015

Are You a Book Person?

I....am a book person.

(This will surprise no one.)

Contrary to what many probably think, however, that does not mean I am reading every single second that I can every single day. Some book people do! And that's awesome. I, on the other hand, do not.

What I do? Is love books. They make me happy! Just to see them, be around them, smell them, and yes, read them. I do actually read them. But my point is, I don't have to read them to be happy. They just simply need to be. To exist. And I'm good. I'm great! Oh, I wish I read more than I do. But I have accepted the fact that I will probably never read two or three hundred books in a year's time. I will be doing amazing if I even read a hundred in one year's time! (There's just so many other things to do! Real life happens. Friends, work, sleep, you get the picture.)

(And movies. Period dramas! Those can be a bit distracting as well. I admit it. ;)

The thing is? That's ok.

Did you get that? It is OK. There are no hard and fast rules to being a book person. There are no prerequisites I have to meet. There are no hoops I have to jump through. I just simply have to love books. That's it! (What an amazing concept, yes? :)

And I do! Oh how I do. My house is covered with them. (Just ask my family.) I talk about them a lot. (Just ask my friends.) Everything seems to remind me of them. My real life friends know without question that if we're out shopping together, I can always be found in the book section. And if we're in a bookstore? It'll take a huge amount of cajoling to get me to leave. (Actually not true. I've simply learned not to go to bookstores with my non-book-loving friends! I'll only annoy them. In a nice way. :)

The cool thing about being a book person is all the fellow book people you get to meet. Because book people are awesome. No other way to say it. Book people are awesome! Regardless if we read the same genres or no, regardless if we read lots or a little, no matter the differences, book people just get each other. It's true! There is absolutely nothing like talking with someone else who's passionate about stories. Who, when asked to name their favorite authors, whips out a giant list. Who grins secretly at me when I notice we're both standing in line at the library with our arms full. Who sees the book I'm holding and instantly says "Ooo, that's a good one! Have you read....?". Book people are awesome.

So what about you?

Yeah, you.

The person reading this post. Are you a book person too? (I'm assuming yes, since you've clearly read down this far and I'm pretty positive only book people will be willing to do that.) Are you passionate about stories? Does being near a shelf of books just make you grin?

Then you're my people.


July 13, 2015

Persuasion & Prayers Read-Along :: Day 5

And now we're on to The Prayers of Jane Austen. This is such a sweet and comforting little book. I'm planning to do a full review of it hopefully next week. For now, I'll just stick with our quote, observation, and question format. As before, click over here for all the details of this read-along! :)

Day 5 :: The Prayers of Jane Austen :: Prayer # 1

Quote to Ponder:

"Give us a thankful sense of the blessings in which we live, of the many comforts of our lot; that we may not deserve to lose them by discontent or indifference."


My thoughts are flowing along the same avenues as what the question below asks, so I'm going to keep this short. This prayer is very eloquent, first of all. I don't think there's anything or anyone that Ms. Austen didn't pray for! But the above quote is what struck me the most. Because? Well, I'll get into that below.

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

It did! Because I need to remember to be thankful for what I have. So many times I complain about my hard stuff (and it is hard, I'm not denying that), yet there is so very MUCH I have to grateful for. So many comforts that I take for granted. I need this reminder for the middle of my hard, so I can keep going. Because when I dwell on the good things, my outlook on my situation does a complete turnaround. I can endure, even while smiling! (Sometimes. :) God knows precisely what it will take for me to keep going and He's so very good at bringing the right people, the right book (like this one), or whatever it may be to catch my attention. He's pretty awesome like that.

July 12, 2015

Persuasion & Prayers Read-Along :: Days 3 & 4

On to days three and four! I knew I loved this book, but it's been so good to read it again and remember all the reasons why. Have I mentioned just how much I love Anne? Seriously. She's awesome! (Here's a recent gush-fest, in case you're interested. :) Also, as before, click over here to find out all the details of this read-along!

Day 3 :: Persuasion Chapters 5-6

Quote to Ponder:

"On the morning appointed for Admiral and Mrs. Croft's seeing Kellynch Hall, Anne found it most natural to take her almost daily walk to Lady Russell's, and keep out of the way till all was over; when she found it most natural to be sorry that she had missed the opportunity of seeing them."

{I just find this quote so relateable! Because who hasn't done one thing, for reasons you think are smart, only to wish you had done the opposite in the end. Our hearts and our heads can battle back and forth and knowing which one to listen to isn't always easy.}


What stands out to me in these two chapters is just how good Anne is. How loving and selfless and quiet and gentle. Which are all traits that are easy to take advantage of, especially when it's done by family. I said on Day 2 that I thought she'd become more comfortable in her own skin, but now that's being put to the test. It's one thing to be confident when you're alone, and quite another to hold that confidence while in the presence of the very people who undermine it again and again. (Even unknowingly, because I don't think the Musgrove's or Mary either, are bad people. Just selfish. And unable to understand just how frustrating they can be or that they could even be frustrating at all. They're clueless about that fact! Which probably helps with Anne's compassion for them...hmmmm. Must think some more on that.) Plus Anne is such an internal person. Definitely more introverted! She tends to hold everything in, so when confronted with people who love her (as much as they are capable of), yet take advantage of her at the same time, it's only natural that she simply and quietly desires to make everyone happy. And that confidence slips a little. When no one shows any interest in your opinion, it's difficult to be bold enough to give it.

Question :: How would you handle a visit to Mary's home? Would you lie low and try to keep the peace, or would you call out the petty grievances and detrimental behaviors of those around you?

I'm pretty sure I'd lie low and keep the peace, although I'd been complaining plenty in my mind! Mary fits in well with the Musgrove's, in that she's so much like them. They all frustrate one another because not one of them actually listens to the other. As nice as the Musgrove's seem, they are still plenty self-focused. Anne's the only selfless one, which becomes evident in chapter six. She has the patience of a saint! To deal with all those "confidences" and complaints and lovingly use them to help her sister learn (even if Mary doesn't really) and to continually think well of each of the complainers , Anne is amazing. We could all stand to be so loving, couldn't we? :)

Day 4 :: Persuasion Chapters 7-8

Quote to Ponder:

"His bright proud eye spoke the conviction that he was nice; and Anne Elliot was not out of his thoughts, when he more seriously described the woman he should wish to meet with. "A strong mind, with  sweetness of manner," made the first and the last of the description."

{Regardless of how bitter he is currently, I do love that we get a glimpse into his mind in this passage at the end of chapter seven. And unforgiving of Anne or not, he still "...had never seen a woman since whom he thought her equal..." *swoon*}


I love how much they notice each other in these two chapters. We know Anne's heart and mind the most, yet Wentworth looks at her as well, loathe as he would be to admit it. :) I also love all the details that Anne picks up on. She's striving so hard to be indifferent, yet can't quite manage it. Her eyes always unconsciously drift over to him and her thoughts are constantly swirling about him. Amber mentions how sure they are of the other's feelings, and yet how very wrong they are in actuality and I think that's very astute! Each is judging the other based upon what they think the other is feeling. Also, Wentworth has very little understanding of what his true feelings are currently. Bitterness and anger are feelings, yes, but they're reactive feelings. It's how he's responding to his past heartbreak and actually seeing Anne again. Buried far down beneath all that frustration is fear, I think, and also love. Because you don't react that strongly to a person if there's not still love there!

Question :: What are your first impressions of Frederick Wentworth, as he's portrayed in these two chapters? Do you think he's justified in his caution and aloofness around Anne?

I kind of already talked about this above, but I'll gladly go into more detail. ;) I think he's a bit justified in his caution. Anne did hurt him, after all. To say yes to his proposal only to take it back again would be awful for him! I can sympathize with his hurt and pain, and especially as this is the first they're seeing one another since that last terrible conversation. Eight years ago or not, one still remembers that sort of heartbreak! And I think he has a slight fear of giving her (or any woman) that much power over him. All his big talk on no women on a boat and what kind of woman he wants to marry, is really just his fear talking. Nothing wrong with that, of course. But I don't think he really understands that about himself yet. He hasn't had much chance (or taken much chance more like) to search beneath all those layers of pain to truly search his heart. But I have confidence he'll get there! :D

July 11, 2015

Persuasion & Prayers Read-Along :: Days 1 & 2

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I'm participating in a read-along of Jane Austen's Persuasion as well as The Prayers of Jane Austen. Fun, right?! Click over to Amber's blog for more info  and also just in case you decide you'd like to join us. We'd love for you to join in! :)

I am severely behind and I'll probably stay that way. Unfortunately I don't have the ability to post every single day of the read-along. So y'all will get one or two big posts each week (hopefully). Anyway! I hope you enjoy. And if you care to gush about Persuasion or Jane Austen with us, please feel free to do so. Because I am all about the gush when it comes to this wonderful story! :D

{Also, for any who have not read the book, there will be spoilers. So beware!}

Day 1 :: Persuasion Chapters 1-2

Quote to Ponder:

"It sometimes happens that a woman is handsomer at twenty-nine than she was ten years before; and, generally speaking, if there has been neither ill health nor anxiety, it is a time of life at which scarcely any charm is lost."


For a story that centers on our heroine, Anne is severely overlooked in these first two chapters. Which is kind of brilliantly done, now that I'm thinking about it. What better way to get the reader to realize just how insignificant Anne is to her family and friends than by hardly mentioning her at all? With so little introduction to her (and that little bit mainly talks about how poorly everyone around her thinks of her), the reader immediately develops compassion and sympathy for her. (Or at least, I did.) Her family is truly awful to her! And I'm sorry, but I just don't like Lady Russell, no matter what good intentions she has. She overlooks and outright ignores Anne's opinions and feelings.

Question :: If you were an adviser to the Elliot family, what would you recommend they do about their debts? (Live more frugally and stay in their own home despite the discomfort and blow to their pride? Move to a smaller house in the country so they can stay close to their own home and acquaintances? Or move to Bath as Lady Russell recommends, where they would be far away from gossip and the sorrow of seeing their home inhabited by someone else?)

Okay, so as much as Lady Russell ignores Anne's wishes on this subject, I do have to agree that she probably has a good point. Getting Sir Walter and Elizabeth away from the gossip and sorrow is most likely a good idea. Yet for Anne's sake, I so wish that they could have stayed in the country!

Day 2 :: Persuasion Chapters 2-3

Quote to Ponder:

"They knew not each other's opinion, either its constancy or its change, on the one leading point of Anne's conduct, the subject was never alluded to; but Anne, at seven-and-twenty, thought very differently from what she had been made to think at nineteen."


We go from Sir Walter's foppishness and self-importance to a lovely and introspective look at Anne's past. As sad as Anne and Captain Wentworth's early love story ended up being, I love how we get a great explanation of how that situation changed Anne. It forced her to search her heart and come to understand herself. She became much stronger through the subsequent eight or so years. Have I mentioned how very much I love Anne Elliot? For all that she's "lost her bloom" at 27, she's also found her true self. She's become more comfortable in her own skin, so to speak. I know this will become more true as the story goes on, but I just love how she starts out sure of herself (even if it's only in her own mind because she does have more growing-of-a-backbone to do in regards to her family and Lady Russell! :). Also, that quote to ponder above, I love that it states "...what she had been made to think at nineteen."

(Additionally, I'd love to have met a young Frederick Wentworth! "He was brilliant, he was headstrong." What an intriguing description, yes? :)

Question: Do you believe Anne was unwise in breaking her engagement? (Going deeper: How much should someone rely on the well-intended advice of family and trusted friends in matters of the heart? Do you believe it's possible for two people to be right for each other while the timing and maturity levels are all wrong?)

First, I absolutely do believe it's possible for two people to be right for each other while the timing and maturity levels are all wrong! Some people need the chance to grow up or just have some freedom to become who they truly are before they're ready to settle down.

Second, I flop back and forth on whether Anne was unwise or not. Because of course I so want Anne and Wentworth to be happy together! (But then, we wouldn't have this beautiful story, would we? ;) Yet, just going by chapter four alone, there was so much that may not have happened if they had gotten together the first time. Anne wouldn't have had as much chance to come to understand herself and form her own opinions, and Wentworth perhaps would not have advanced as far as he did in the navy. Of course, that's only speculation, but I can imagine that (as he was described as "headstrong") he may not have been as committed to his job if he knew he had a lovely wife to distract him. Does that make sense?

Third, I think it's good to get advice from people we trust. But their opinions are just that,  their opinions. They aren't actually in our particular situation which makes it much easier to be objective, but also they can't truly understand exactly what we're going through either. So ask their opinions, yes, but take them with a grain of salt.

(Also! What a fabulous question, Amber! I am loving how much you're making me really think about this story. :)


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