Saturday, April 25, 2009

My Top 10 Favorite Heroines

Finally, here's a list of my top 10 favorite literary heroines. I chose them for their goodness, love, loyalty, and kind hearts.

1 Elinor Dashwood
1. Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
Jane Austen created so many delightful characters but none so touches my heart as Elinor Dashwood. Her kind heart, good sense, love for her family, self-sacrificing and humility are what makes Elinor so dear to me. She is the best sister any girl could have, she knows what is right and works to keep those standards in her own life. She never presumes upon Edward Ferrars though a deep abiding love has formed in her heart. She's also a talented artist, nurse and homemaker and loves country walks and the beauty of nature. Some people say Elinor doesn't have much romantic thought, but I think she just doesn't allow herself the luxury of romance, she keeps her emotions governed though she feels deeply and has great intuition of people and circumstances. I like to think I'm like her because many Which Austen Heroine Are You quizzes come up with her as my result. In reality I find myself becoming more like Marianne daily!

2 Margaret Hale
2. Margaret Hale of North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell
When I first read North & South and was introduced to Margaret I knew that in all of literature I had never met a young woman so much like me in personality. Although our life stories differ in particulars (especially the particular of John Thornton) I feel a kindred spirit in her story of loss and learning through adverse circumstances. Her love and care of those around her are a testament of her sweet spirit and abiding faith. So many instances in her life touched my heart and I learned to love her and feel that deep connection to her. I just pray that the ending to my story is as lovely as her's.

3 Anne Elliot
3. Anne Elliot of Persuasion by Jane Austen
Amanda Root's portrayal of this selfless, tenderhearted, mothering, reading, loyal heroine was spot on, I think. Anne is another heroine that I identify with in a way but until I had patience like a saint I could never be so constant as Anne. Loving as she did when all hope is gone can only come from a deeply attached heart. And yet still her sense is invaluable and she is always of use to those around her. I admire her and rejoice in her final gain of the man who loves her.

4 Jane Eyre
4. Jane Eyre of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Miss Eyre is another heroine who I admire greatly. Her life is just wave after wave of adversity but it does not break her spirit and beliefs. She has a deep faith which many forget but which guides her decisions especially with regard to Mr. Rochester. She is sensible, accomplished, a good teacher, and has a heart that feels very deeply. She deals with her own issues of forgiveness and fighting temptation with a shinning testimony. Her trials only serve to make her ending much sweeter with her family and friends and a fortune to support them all.

5 Amy Dorrit
5. Amy Dorrit of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
I've only seen three-fourths of the Little Dorrit miniseries (last part airs on Sunday!) but I've learned to love Amy so well. I suppose there's a pattern here, but her trials and her shining character and unending sweetness is so touching. There's that one scene where her heart is hurting so much for love of Mr. Clennem and for having to refuse John Chivery and yet she still answers her father's demanding questions, bears his disapproval and fixes his supper with such bravery and sweetness. You almost have to cry for her because she won't cry for herself. She always sticks to her principals and is content in a simple life.

6 Catherine Morland
6. Catherine Morland of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Catherine is the picture of youth and innocence. She has the purest heart and although she get's distracted she is never detoured from doing what she knows is right. She's a bit on the silly side and naive but those and a quickly forming liking for him only serves as recommendations to Henry Tilney. Catherine is good-natured, loving, kind, and helps where she can. She does have that tenancy to day dream and worry over things which I find myself doing to. She loves reading, traveling, long drives, country walks, a good mystery, and her family most of all.

7 Molly Gibson
7. Molly Gibson of Wives & Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
When I first watched Wives & Daughters and started reading the book I thought 'oh no, not another Cinderella story!' Molly Gibson is the farthest thing from Cinderella, she stand up for herself and she loves her step-sister dearly. She has a good father who keeps her from being used too much and whatever sacrifices she makes she does willingly and with good sense. Her accomplishments and desire to learn are unending and she still has that loyalty and stubborn adherence to her morals. And I love her curly hair!

8 Anne Shirley
8. Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
This bubbly red-head is so full of life and imagination. I love watching her grow up, make mistakes and learn from them. She has a kind heart though and gains good sense as she matures. She captures everyone's heart with her stories and spunky personality and although I'm not very much like her I admire her and love her.

9 Fanny Price
9. Fanny Price of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Fanny is another one of those young ladies you admire but could never be like. Fanny's kind heart, loyalty, patience, self-sacrificing, love of learning, humility and timidity are some of the things that make her great. She's so faithful and has a deep faith and strict moral code that keeps her from even thinking seriously of marrying Mr. Crawford. I wish I had more of her nature and took more stands for what I believe in as Fanny did. And she was richly awarded, however "late" it might seem, it was in the author's best time.

10 Lorna Doone
10. Lorna Doone of Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore
I'm not quite sure why I've included her, she's really so much like the rest of my favorite heroines. Lorna Doone is sweet, kindhearted, loving and brave. She does what is right, gives up much and gains even more. I love Amelia Warner's portrayal of her, so sweet and truly good and pure.

So that's my list, I could have included all the Jane Austen heroines and added more from Gaskell and Dickens and a few from Alcott but I tried to add some variety.
Now I want to know who your favorite literary heroines are and why you like them.
Hope your weekend is bright and sunny!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Musings on Marrying


"Only the deepest love will persuade me into matrimony." - Lizzie Bennet, Pride & Prejudice 05

I was provoked to thought when responding to a Christian girlfriend's e-mail in which she mentioned her relationship with a young man. A proposal is expected and she intended to accept even though she knows her Christian parents have a "problem" with him. I don't know her young man (he is a Christian) but I do know that my friend has a pretty good head on her shoulders and has been really taking it slow and getting to know him before this point. I've been in prayer for her and am going to encourage her to really pray and talk to her parents before becoming engaged.

This scenario saddens me a bit because my first thought is "I could never marry someone my parents didn't like". It really started me thinking about honoring my parents and I know that one of my requirements in finding a mate is that my parents love the man I'm going to marry. I know part of my personality is a desire to please others but I also really trust and value my parent's opinion to the point where I'd trust them with picking a husband for me. Is this a really warped and old-fashioned view or am I at least sort of on the right path? I mean I wouldn't want to marry without love but is an "arranged" marriage such a bad idea?


Well, thanks for listening to my silly ramblings. I received some movies in the mail today which I'm excited to watch, some I've already viewed: Lost in Austen, Ladies in Lavender, Little Women (1979) , Jane Austen in Manhattan, and a set of 9 Miss Marple movies (staring Joan Hickson). Can't wait to view these with my family since I have a night off. I should be posting my favorite heroines fairly soon. Hope your week is going well!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Top 10 Literary Heroes

This has been a few days in the gathering and is a response to The Edtrix's post on her blog Ribbons of Light. My top 10 favorites, these were hard to decide on and you'll find many of Jane Austen's heroes on this list mostly because I just love them so much! goes:

1. Rev. Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
No, I'm not copying, really! Northanger Abbey has been my favorite Austen novel since age 15 when I begged for the audio book for my birthday. Every time I read or listen to the book I fall in love with him all over again. The why is easy, he's such a humorous goofball but with a good head on his shoulders. He's a clergyman from a respectable family, worth a bit of money in his own right, hardworking, kind, honest, messy, dog lover, fashion buff but a man's man and a bookworm. I also like the fact that besides his sister Henry has a low - or I guess streamlined view of young women and those are changed by the simple goodness of Catherine Morland's heart. He also looks so well in high boots, tall hat and great coat! Adding actor JJ Feild to the mix and you get a goof smile and a great tease. What's not to like?

2 Frederick Wentworth
2. Captain Frederick Wentworth of Perusasion by Jane Austen
Brave, bold, sea faring man with a good sense of humor and many great stories to tell. Kind, generous heart, good with children, a loyal friend, always does what's right and is good in a crisis. I'd rather take a walk in Bath under his umbrella than with anyone else. Add the ability to write a romantic turn of phrase. Ciaran Hind's portrayal of Captain Wentworth is my absolute favorite and I don't think anyone can rival him (even the lovely Rupert Penry-Jones), he looks so great in the uniform!

3 John Thornton
3. Mr. John Thornton of North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell
I did read the book first before watching the film but it was news about the film that first got me interested in Gaskell so really Richard Armitage was the face of Mr. Thornton for me throughout the book. What to say about Thornton? Well, besides being tall, dark and handsome, he has a great accent, is a fair and honest businessman and master. I love that Margaret opens the hopeless romantic side of him, he's very passionate by nature and she challenges him to express it not only in his love for her but also in kindness for other people. I also admire his longing to better himself through extensive reading and listening to what others have to say. Love for the book and movie that's what makes him number three on my list!

4 Edward Ferrars
4. Edward Ferrars of Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
I must confess I do like Hugh Grant in his portrayal of this character as well as actor Bosco Hogan in the 1981 version, but although Dan Stevens isn't always my ideal of Edward I like this newest adaptation best.
Edward of the book is such a quiet, thoughtful, earnest fellow it's hard not to love him when Elinor learns to. He's responsible, kindhearted, generous, self-sacrificing, loyal, honorable and patient. He enjoys simple country life and the love of true friends over popularity and style. And he's truly deserving of Elinor who I admire greatly.

5 Mr Knightley
5. Mr. Knightley of Emma by Jane Austen
Mr. Knightley is the type of guy that I know my father would like me to bring home (but one of my dad's favorite books is Persuasion). Mr. Knightley is the truest gentleman in the world. His patience in waiting for Emma is so romantic in itself, even though he has a bit of a hard time expressing himself. Never swayed by anyone, he's steady, unmovable especially in his love for Emma. He's honest and straightforward and always says what he really thinks, he's the voice of truth throughout the story. I can't help liking Mark Strong best even though he does tend to have a certain gruffness and lecturing side of Knightley. Jeremy Northam did a good job but I still think he was a bit too good looking for Knightley.

6 Frank Harrison
6. Dr. Frank Harrison of Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Talking about hopeless romantics brings to mind young unexpected Dr. Harrison who enters a woman's world at Cranford and has every single lady, including his housekeeper, thinking he's ready to propose! I haven't read the story but I adore Simon Woods in the role and my heart always goes out to him when at the end of episode three it leaves him very bewildered. But after unraveling the mystery and fighting for his dreams he gets the girl he loves and deserves. Satisfaction!
I also can't help harboring a crush on his jokester friend Jack Marshland who besides being dark and of pleasing countenance also has a nice singing voice.

7 Arthur Clennam
7. Mr. Arthur Clennam of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
A new favorite of mine it doesn't hurt that he's acted by Matthew Macfadyen. I definitely haven't read the book and I haven't even seen the end of the miniseries (2 more episodes to go) but Arthur's kindness, honesty, and slight bewilderment are truly charming. And Amy Dorrit loves him so he really must be someone special.

8 Nicholas Nickleby
8. Nicholas Nickelby of novel by same name by Charles Dickens
I've seen both recent versions of this film and enjoyed the one with actor James D'Arcy so much it's officially on my favorites list. I love Nicholas' kindness and hardwork to help and better those around him whether it be orphaned schoolboys or young damsels in distress. His wakening to harsh reality is sad but he bears loss bravely and rises again and earns the respect and beauty he deserves.

9. Mr. Jack Worthing (alias Earnest) from The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
He's been through the quizzing of Lady Bracknell and is found wanting in only point - he never knew his parents. Colin Firth does a wonderful job of portraying the stumbling, fun-loving, kind guardian, and adventure seeker who will do anything for the love of his lady, even change his name. This could be my favorite movie ever and after reading the play I still love the character of Jack. Silly, I know, but a great guy all the same.

10 Edmund Bertram 10 Edmund Bertram
10. Mr. Edmund Bertram of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Yes, yet another Austen hero! But although once swayed by a beautiful woman Edmund is a worthy hero, worthy even of Fanny Price's goodness. Content to be a country parson Edmund values his faith and family even above beauty and talent. Tempted in many ways by Miss Crawford, Edmund stays his kindhearted, studious, sensible self.
I love Nicholas Farrell as Edmund but Blake Ritson almost rivaled his preformance, I actually enjoyed how he became forgetful and hopeless when he saw Fanny in a new light. Silly, but a good steady man.

So that's it. I'm also working on my top 10 favorite heroines and villains and almost have them ready. I'd love to hear your thoughts and who your favorites are. This was so much fun! :)


Monday, April 13, 2009

Lovely, Lovely, Lovely!

I'm sure this is becoming an old subject but there's yet more cast for Emma 2009 announced. These castings are just wonderful, I can't wait to see them on the screen!

Blake Ritson as Mr. Elton
Thoughts: I enjoyed him as Edmund Bertram in the latest Mansfield Park adaptation, he was really one of the few castings I did enjoy because he even in interviews just seemed to understand the essence of his character and Jane Austen's meaning. I have a bit of trouble seeing him as Mr. Elton but I think he could add some sympathy to the character which we don't normally see in other adaptations. It will be kind of strange seeing him with fellow Edmund Bertram star Jonny Lee Miller, now we just need my favorite Nicholas Farrell to be cast as say Mr. Cole or Dr. Perry and we'll have all three Edmunds in the same film!

Mrs Elton 3
Christina Cole as Mrs. Augusta Elton
Thoughts: Ms. Cole is very good at capturing the snooty attitudes of character as evident by her portayal of Blanche Ingram in Jane Eyre 08 not to mention her as Caroline Bingley in Lost in Austen series. It's rather refreshing to see someone younger and who can give Emma a run for her money in the beauty line as well. Showing how very little Mr. Elton did suffer after Emma's refusal of his marriage proposal!

Rupert Evans as Frank Churchill
Thoughts: I really enjoyed him in North & South as Frederick Hale (Margaret's brother) and am so glad to see him turning up in other period films. Funny he's in another adaptation by script writter Sandy Welch. I think he will be excellent as Frank Churchill and again I might end up liking Mr. Chruchill better than Mr. Knightley. ;)

Laura Pyper as Jane Fairfax
Thoughts: A new face to period drama but she already has the eyes and complexion for Jane Fairfax, and I look forward to seeing her performance.

Louise Dylan as Harriet Smith
Thoughts: Young, blonde, pretty, and based on looks, perfect to be Emma's little friend. Although perhaps a bit older than 17 she certainly looks younger than any Harriet we've seen before.

I'm getting more excited about this Emma adaptation and I'm just hoping for as lovely costumes and scenery as there is cast so far. The castings of Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax are almost enough to make me forget who've they cast as Mr. Knightley...almost. Have I told you how much I admire Jane Fairfax and enjoy her story? I love Jane almost as much as Eleanor Tilney.


Saturday, April 11, 2009



"For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" - I Corinthians 15:3-4

As an old time gospel preacher once said of Jesus' death: "It's Friday but Sunday's coming!" Jesus was in the grave but Sunday is coming, the day when our Lord would be raised from the dead.

I went to see a Passion play last night at a friend's church and always enjoy hearing the story over again. The song that touched me the most was one sung by a roman soldier after Christ's death. The song basically said "who killed this man?", the soldier even going so far as to say let the murders deal with me and leave this innocent man alone. But at the end of the chorus the soldier looks in his hand and finds the hammer used to nail Christ to the tree. The verse of the song portrays the soldier admitting that he and his sin were what nailed Jesus to the cross. At this point in the song I teared up, that truth always hits me when I see a play like this, "it was for me!"

"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." - Romans 5:8

My hope is in the Lord Who gave Himself for me,
And paid the price of all my sin at Calvary.

No merit of my own His anger to suppress.
My only hope is found in Jesus’ righteousness.

And now for me He stands Before the Father’s throne.
He shows His wounded hands and names me as His own.

His grace has planned it all, ‘Tis mine but to believe,
And recognize His work of love and Christ receive.

For me He died, For me He lives,
And everlasting life and light He freely gives.

-Words and Music by Norman J. Clayton, 1903-1992

May the Lord bless you as you remember His life, death, and resurrection for you on this Easter Sunday.

A very joyful Easter to all!




Wednesday, April 8, 2009

More Emma Cast

Another article reveals three more actors have been cast, and it looks like some unexpected actors but a good cast.

Jodhi May as Miss Taylor

mr weston 1
Robert Bathurst as Mr. Weston

Miss Bates 8 Photobucket
Tamsin Greig as Miss Bates

I was very surprised by the casting of Jodhi May as Miss Taylor, I was thinking "she's too young" but I guess she's not. Neat that Jodhi May and Ramola Garai were in Daniel Deronda together. Hope they're not thinking of casting Hugh Dancy as Frank Churchill or Hugh Bonneville as Mr. Elton! ;)
I included two photos of Ms. Greig to show her in costume, I was quite surprised they picked someone with such dark features too.

They look alright, though these particular castings don't matter as much. Can't wait to see Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax!


Saturday, April 4, 2009

First Casting News for Emma!


So I really wanted to post today but was having a hard time thinking what to post about. Then I wandered over to my favorite Jane Austen blog and found out there's a new article containing three cast members for the new Emma.

Say hello to:

Ramola Garai as Emma Woodhouse
Other period films: Daniel Deronda, Nicholas Nickleby, Amazing Grace (to name just a few, the article states that she was also considered for the role of Elizabeth Bennet but lost to Keira Knightley)
Points in her favor: handsome, clever, probably rich, played a lovely saucy character in Daniel Deronda and can probably pull that off as Emma, has a pretty singing voice as evident in Daniel Deronda.
Points against her: she's on the wrong side of 25 making her technically too old to play 21-year-old Emma Woodhouse, and personally I've always found her feet too large looking on screen. Her acting is also rather affected, a bit like seeing the same character over and over and she has a tendacy to whine a bit.
Taken all together: Ms. Garai might very well do a lovely job, I think she can tap into the saucy side of Emma but also be kind and loving. Also we don't absolutely have to a blonde Emma as this particular actress looks very natural as a brunet as well as a blonde. I also know people have been wanting her to be in a Jane Austen adaptation for quite a while now and now to be a heroine - her time has come!

woodhouse 6
Sir Michael Gambon as Mr. Woodhouse
Other period films: Wives and Daughters, Cranford, Sleepy Hallow, The Lost Prince, Amazing Grace (among the hundreds)
Points in his favor: years on acting experience, lovely humor, and generaly adds a comfort and greatness to everything he's in.
Points against him: let me see...nope, can't think of any...
Taken all together: I think he's going to make a wonderful Mr. Woohouse, complaining and fearful for everyone's health but still quite lovable!

Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley
Other period films: Mansfield Park 1983, Mansfield Park 1999 (not much else, mostly modern things)
Points in his favor: he's the right age for Knightley and ten years older than Ramola Garai, rugged jaw, wild hair.
Points against him: he's rather "too piano for me", definitely not the fine figure of a man that Mr. Knightley should be. He also isn't that becoming astride a horse, his acting in Mansfield Park was a bit dissapointing.
Taken all together: I have serious doubts about him as Knightley, but time will tell.

The article also mentioned that filming will begin sometime next week in Surrey and Kent. What excitement!

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