Monday, February 20, 2012

Downton Abbey

Since the season finale of the second season of Downton Abbey aired here in the U.S.  last night, there's been quite a sigh of "Well, finally!" mixed with "More! More! More!"  around our house and with various friends.  That said, I've been on a nostalgic tour of various online articles about Downton today during my down time (aka afternoon nap time.)

I thought I'd share these here with you, Readers, for your perfect amusement.  It should satisfy your Anglophile needs until season three can be ripped from various sources online.  (Not that I would ever condone such behavior.  Ever. Never.  Ermm.  Well.  Right-o.  Changing the subject please...)

Read some great recaps at  They are sarcastic and witty down to the perfectness of it all.  Ending with Lady Grantham quotables from each episode.  Highly recommended.

For laugh out loud, gaffing at your work desk during lunch or just because you needed a break, something that will make all of your coworkers stare at you as you bust a gut:
Downton Abbey printable paper dolls.  (Thank you, Amy!)

The Abbey That Jumped the Shark by James Fenton (I was led to this from one of Vulture's articles on Downton.  Both are interesting and anything that invokes the jumping of the shark is worth it.  Can you say, "Mysterious bandaged war vet with amnesia?)

Downton Abbey: You are Awful...But I Like You from the Guardian, published in November 2011.  The article calls it "warped genius.  And I agree: Actress Michelle Dockery (Lady Mary) is" exempt from all criticism because she is wondrous (fact) and has saved the entire series from near-disaster.

Fabulous pictures of Downton stars On-Screen and Off-Screen.  These pictures make me love costumes, makeup and period dramas even more!

And of course, the official site:
Great exclusives here along with various links to other fun things Downton-ish.  (Like the Guardian's quiz: Which Downton Character are you?)


Thursday, February 9, 2012

Prom and Prejudice

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg. Scholastic, 2011. 231pgs.

Think Pride and Prejudice at an elitist girls school named Longbourn Academy.  What's the most important thing in their lives?  Not getting married, but going to the prom.

Lizzie is a scholarship student who befriends her roommate Jane.  Jane is excited because Charles Bingley is returning after a semester abroad. At a mixer of students from Longbourn and also Pemberley Academy, Lizzie meets Charles and his friend, Will Darcy.  Mix in the usual Darcy pride, some prejudice of a poor and outcast Lizzie and well, it's pretty much the same P&P we all know and love, but in modern teen time.  Mrs. Gardiner is Lizzie's piano teacher.  Charlotte is another scholarship student and Lizzie's only other friend. Wick is a student who Darcy doesn't get along with and tempts Lizzie with lies about Darcy.

If a teen picks this up and has never read the original, I doubt that they'd get all of the name similarities or the plot resemblance.  But alll in all, a very cute version of Pride and Prejudice for the teenage crowd.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dancing With Mr. Darcy

Dancing With Mr. Darcy: Stories Inspired by Jane Austen and Chawton House. Edited by Sarah Waters Harper, 2010. 245 pgs.

This collection of stories represent the finalists in the Jane Austen Short Story Competition held by Chawton House Library.

While I enjoyed this collection, I found it not as quick of a read as the previous two collections of short stories blogged about earlier (Jane Austen Made Me Do It and Pemberley Variations).  I found a lot of the stories hard to get through and I can't quite pinpoint why.  To that end, I am annoyed at myself.  But try as I might, I simply can only think that so many of the stories were rather lackluster.  The winning entry in the contest--"Jane Austen Over the Styx" by Victoria Owens--
was by far the best one and was the gold star among them. Jane Austen finds herself in the "infernal regions" and must answer to the "court of the dead."  There she finds many of her characters quite upset with her, saying that she willfully portrayed them as "a snob, a scold or a harpy."  The sentence:  Her books will live on, but letters written to her brother Frank are to burned upon his death and thus, no one else will delight in their "wisdom and shrewdness." Again, a great twist to what really happened to Jane's letters.  Again, a bit feeling like Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series.  But nevertheless, too cruel a fate indeed.