A Weekend with Mr. Darcy

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy (Austen Addicts, #1)A Weekend with Mr. Darcy by Victoria Connelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A quick, fun read (even though it took me 3 months to read…) – light-hearted, cozy Austen fan fiction. Called the first of a trilogy, there are now 6 in the series. Don’t expect any great wit or social commentary, but there are plenty of references to Austen novels, Austen characters, Austen movies, etc. No explicit sex – this could be read by your age-13 teenage daughter. There are two love stories – the college professor, Katherine, an Austen scholar, who secretly loves the bodice-rippers of Lorna Warwick, and has carried on a correspondence with her – not knowing she is a he. When she meets him at a Jane Austen conference (not knowing his secret identity) and falls in love – well, you know it isn’t going to turn out well when she does find out… And then we have the young secretary who comes to the conference, followed by her long-time boyfriend that she is trying to ditch. He crashes the conference in several humorous scenes, and surprises her with a very public marriage proposal, but Robyn has fallen for the brother of Dame Pamela, whose home is the setting for the conference. I didn’t find a lot of sympathy for Katherine – she came off as rather cold – and Warwick bordered on TSTL. But Robyn’s story – stuck in a dead-end relationship out of guilt and not knowing how to move her life forward – was sweet and satisfying. For both of them the answers boil down to “What Would Jane Austen Do?” Shallow and sappy, but I just might try another in the series.

Book description: Of course she’s obsessed with Jane Austen…Surrounded by appalling exes and fawning students, the only thing keeping professor Katherine Roberts sane is Jane Austen and her personal secret love for racy Regency romance novels. She thinks the Jane Austen Addicts conference in the English countryside is the perfect opportunity to escape her chaotic life and finally relax… But then she encounters a devilishly handsome man at the conference who seems determined to sweep her off her feet. Is he more fiction than fact? Or could he be the hero she didn’t know she was looking for?

Pride and Prejudice and Kitties

Pride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover's Romp Through Jane Austen's ClassicPride and Prejudice and Kitties: A Cat-Lover’s Romp Through Jane Austen’s Classic by Jane Austen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pride and Prejudice told from a cat’s point-of-view, interspersed with passages from the actual Pride and Prejudice. The retelling was clever – Kitty doesn’t just cough, she coughs up hairballs; the balls are the kind you bat around, maybe extra special with a bell inside; the estate has been end-tailed; etc. This is obviously a contemporary adaption – otherwise references to pill pockets and Fancy Feast would be anachronistic. If you like comparing the changes to the original, you will like the juxtaposition of the two texts. I thought it made the story a bit repetitious. The photos were obviously carefully staged with Jane Austen props. I loved the little inside jokes, and featuring other P&P related books like “Jane Austen for Dummies,” “The Jane Austen Cookbook,” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” I would have liked the “kitty” adaptation to have been illustrated using the same cats for Jane Austen’s characters and to have been separate from the other type of photos. All in all, I think it could have been less story, more photos.

From the inside flap:
“If I can but see one of my kittens happily purring at Netherfield,” remarked Mrs. Bennet to her husband, “and all the others equally well-mated, I shall have nothing to yowl about.” Pride and Prejudice and Kitties juxtaposes wacky photos of cats with the wicked humor of Jane Austen. Soulful Mr. Darcy gazes at Elizabeth Bennet in fascination; hysterical Mrs. Bennet yowls that no one understands her; somnolent Mr. Hurst passes out on the sofa after dinner; arrogant Lady Catherine hisses at Elizabeth. Each photo includes a hilarous caption that goes along with the text of Pride and Prejudice, told from a feline perspective.

Opening chapter:
“Netherfield Park is marked at last.”
The news caused much romping at the Bennet household for, as every cat knows, a handsome young tom in possession of his own territory must be in want of a mate.

Sense and Sensibility

Sense and SensibilitySense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I might have given this 4 stars, for Jane Austen’s characteristic witty dialogue and skewering of society, but it was just so predictable. You knew who was going to end up with whom, so there really wasn’t any suspense about the outcome. I found the ultimate pairing of Marianne, 17, with the 35-year-old Colonel Brandon to be unsatisfying. Why not give the widowed Mrs. Dashwood a love interest? She is only 40, not that much older than he is! Elinor is boring. And Willoughby deserved better, I thought! I really only read this as a prequel to reading Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters for my Moby-Dick project. Except for being set in Devonshire, I don’t see how sea monsters are going to be featured. Could be interesting!

The audiobook was narrated by Susannah Harker.

Description: The difference between the two sisters, Elinor and Marianne, lies not only in their appearance but also in their temperament. Elinor’s good sense contrasts with Marianne’s impulsive candor. Yet in the face of a highly competitive marriage market, the sisters’ experience of love causes both to readjust… Jane Austen’s satirical powers of observation and expression spare no one in this lively study of the constraints on women of a particular class in the eighteenth century.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

I don’t remember when I first heard about this book, but I couldn’t WAIT for it to come out so I could read it! My review was posted July 10: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith My rating: 4 of 5 stars Having just read P&P, how could I resist a take-off that sounds so deliciously hysterical? Yes, I loved this rendition! Delightfully quirky, and yet relatively faithful to the original. In fact, I thought the addition of zombies made more sense of the whole plot and behaviors of the characters. Book Description from Amazon: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read. ___________________________________________________________ This book actually contains about 85% of Jane Austen’s text. Personally, I think that any book that can survive the addition of hordes of zombies MUST be a masterpiece.

Pride and Prejudice

I have to admit to considerable prior prejudice concerning Jane Austen. But Pride and Prejudice came up as a monthly read in one of my online book groups last winter, and I thought I ought to give it a try. Not being familiar with the time period (my interests leaning a good 400 years earlier) I decided to read the “annotated” version. Here is my Goodreads review from January 2009:

The Annotated Pride & Prejudice The Annotated Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I guess you either love or hate Jane Austen. I’d avoided reading any Austen for years thinking it wouldn’t be my kind of thing. Well, I was right. I decided to give it a try, because so many of my friends ARE Jane Austen fans. It was okay. It was even witty. I even laughed at times. No, I didn’t find the language difficult. It just isn’t my thing. I get impatient with “love” stories, and even more impatient with the kind of class structure and “manners” portrayed. I found it largely boring. Okay, I’m a rebel. I was rooting for Lydia.

But WHAT don’t you like about it, people ask me. All dialog, little action. And I love description. Paint me a scene. Give me all the little details. Jane doesn’t do that. Readers of her time wouldn’t have needed it. I thought reading the “annotated” version would help supply some of those details. Instead, most of the annotations were repetitious and not really necessary. How many times do I need to be told that “town” means London? I got about two-thirds through the book, and decided that perhaps I would enjoy the audio version better. I did. I mean, if a book is all dialog anyway, it helps to have it spoken. Like listening in on a conversation. I might even listen to another Austen book some day.


Like Elizabeth Bennet, I have had a change of heart. Jane Austen fans would no doubt be aghast at learning how that came about. If so, do not read the next post. You have been warned…..


Welcome to The Welsh Bookworm! I hope you will enjoy my thoughts on books and reading, with an emphasis on my particular interests: Wales, British history, medieval history, Arthurian fiction, historical fiction,  cozy mysteries, and occasional forays into sci fi and fantasy.

I have thought about starting a dedicated book blog for a long time. While I do have a page about books on my blog Laurel Singing, it is a static page, and not one that I remember to update with any frequency. I also have a Goodreads account, but it doesn’t really provide a vehicle for commenting on books in progress, or for following the connections from one book to another.

I wish that I had started this when I began War and Peace over a year and a half ago. It led to discovering many other books, and I even did a staff presentation (aka book report) on my researches. I never did finish the book, setting it aside for other projects, but I do intend to come back to it. It’s just that, well, there are so many books to read, and so little time! Contrary to popular opinion, librarians do not sit around and read books all day long. I wish! I am lucky if I can finish two books in a month.

My current “project” seems to be revolving around Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but more about that in its own post.

For now, and to break in this blog, I feel obligated to start off with something Welsh! So here it is, and it isn’t even a book:

The Edge of Love

A John Maybury Film

starring Keira Knightley, Sienna Miller, Cillian Murphy, and Matthew Rhys

From the case: In the bohemian underground of World War II London, a stirring, unconventional love story ignites among legendary poet Dylan Thomas (Matthew Rhys) and the two extraordinary women who inspire him. Sienna Miller is Caitlin, Thomas’ free-spirited wife, while Keira Knightley is Vera, the long-lost teenage sweetheart who reconnects with Thomas. The trio have the time of their lives until jealousy erupts with the return of Vera’s husband, a handsome soldier (Cillian Murphy) damaged by war.

I learned of the film’s US release last week, and went out to buy it straight away. It was released in the UK in 2007. I don’t know anything about it. Amazon’s customer reviews give it 4 stars. I don’t plan to watch it immediately, since I have a number of DVDs from the library due within the week, but I hope to get to it soon.