Mar 052011

A Perfectly “Horrid” Sequel to Northanger Abbey

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Gift from Mom 🙂

Gather your wits about you, dear readers, and be on the lookout for secret passageways, ghostly apparitions, mysterious pieces of furniture, and all things Gothic!

While traveling through France, on their tour of “Mrs. Radcliffe’s country,” Reverend Henry Tilney and his new bride accept an invitation to stay in Nachtstürm Castle, located near the Austrian Alps. Upon arrival, they find Nachtstürm Castle to be a dark and decrepit old castle that is run by queer and questionable servants and framed with twisted mountains and steep cliffs. Sounds perfect, doesn’t it? I wonder what our hero and heroine will do when in the midst of a real Gothic adventure…

What a delight it is to once again be in the company of Henry and Catherine and to see them so accurately rendered! Our hero still has his habit of teasing and provoking his beloved, and enjoys fabricating thrilling tales to tease or frightening his wife. However, due to past (ahem) misadventures, our heroine has come to the realization that her life is not a Radcliffian romance and usually does not fall for Henry’s ploys. In fact, even though she truly is surrounded by mystery and mayhem in this novel, Catherine often believes it all to be contrived and merely the orchestrations of her husband! Talk about ironic! I simply loved Ms. Snyder’s representation of Henry and Catherine! Their playfulness and teasing was fun to witness, and their tenderness and affection towards each other was most gratifying.

Similar to Northanger Abbey, Nachtstürm Castle is a parody of Gothic fiction, and just like Jane Austen, Ms. Snyder is poking fun at the genre. Often addressing her readers directly, Ms. Snyder’s burlesque style and satirical tone parallels that of Jane Austen beautifully and skillfully. I found myself laughing out loud at many of the narrator’s comments and asides. Here are some of my favorites:

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Oct 292010

Clever, Cute, and a Little Corny

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

In this Pride and Prejudice parody, J. Marie Croft presents a lighthearted and amusing tale of pond scum, puns, and punchlines. Proving herself to be a master of puns and word play, Ms. Croft employs the use of countless homographic puns, homophonic puns, impressive bouts of alliteration, and cleverly named characters. Mr. Darcy Takes the Plunge opens with the very famous “lake scene” from the 1995 BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice, albeit slightly altered. Instead of a refreshing lake, it is an algae-infested pond. Instead of emerging from the lake with wet, clingy clothes, Darcy emerges with wet, clingy clothes covered in smelly green pond scum. Instead of Darcy being alone in this escapade, Bingley, Colonel Fitzwilliam and good friend Ellis Fleming also felt the urge to take a plunge in Pemberley’s polluted pond.

While Darcy and his companions were cavorting in Pemberley’s pond, his sisters, Georgiana and Anna Darcy, were making the acquaintances of Jane and Elizabeth Bennet. The ladies were taking tour of Pemberley’s gardens when they happened upon four disheveled and green-tinged gentlemen. What an inauspicious first meeting! Despite the shock and awkwardness of this situation several of these characters feel an immediate attraction and cannot tear their eyes away from each other. Will these gentlemen be able to atone for their disastrous appearance and win the hearts of the women they love?

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Aug 112010

Jane Austen Meets Saturday Night Live

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

On her twenty-fifth birthday, Anne Elliot of Kellynch Hall, realizes that her family has put her on the shelf and considers an “old maid.” Reconciling herself to the fact that she will forever be ignored and disregarded by her family, Anne finds comfort in the thought of living for herself and doing as she pleases. Unlike the Anne Elliot of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this Anne feels empowered, liberated, and has confidence in herself. So what if she is unmarried? So what if her heart is broken? She is still alive, and life is too beautiful to be wasted! At times while reading this tale I had Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” going through my head. I found the lyrics very appropriate for Anne’s new attitude!

If I have to
I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

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