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Friday, May 20, 2016

Coloring With Jane by Sarah Johnson - with giveaway and a free printable for everyone!










Today I welcome the lovely author Sarah Johnson who has recently spread her wings into
something a bit different; colouring books!  Sarah is visiting me today to tell us about her new colouring book, and why she wanted to do it. See below for the giveaway details, and there is also a free printable for everyone so you can get a feel for what the book is like!


Coloring with Jane: A Mind Lively and at Ease



Jane Austen is best known for her classic tales of love and marriage set in Regency England. Her insight into this bygone era, as well as her extraordinary wit, are what have made these stories live on in our hearts and on our book shelves for so long. It is this wit that has also become the inspiration for the pages of this coloring book, with some of Jane Austen’s most beloved quotes taking centre stage.



Who isn’t able to finish this line themselves:



“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” (Pride & Prejudice)



Or what about:



“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope…I have loved none but you.” (Persuasion)


Who could forget this admission from Mr Knightley:



“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” (Emma)



Or the feeling in your heart to have this one said to you:



“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” (Pride & Prejudice)



We all cringe to know the sorrow held in these words:



“If I could but know his heart, everything would become easy.” (Sense & Sensibility)





These and other quotes are what sent me on my journey that has led to this coloring book. I have been collecting 18th and 19th artwork for years. You have no clue how excited I get when I find old postcards or advertisement pages.One evening, while sitting at my desk trying to find some coloring pages for my daughters, the thought hit me that I could create pages featuring Jane Austen’s quotes.



And the little book bunny was born.



I began searching through my stash of images and chose those that would be featured in this book. The next part was fun – finding favorite quotes! I asked my friends if they liked to color and who would be willing to try out some coloring page for me, and I was off to create! I learned a lot about what does and does not make a good image for coloring, and, unfortunately, that meant spending many hours creating some pages that did not end up in the final book.



The artwork featured in this coloring book may not be “perfect”, as artwork in this digital age usually is, but it represents the era in which it was created. I tried to keep that character as I cleaned up the images and put these pages together.



Jane Austen is well-known for her extraordinary wit in creating characters that, like these pages, were also imperfect, and yet we still dearly love them. We hope for the happy ending that will eventually come as we read of the friendships and courtships that made up the bygone era in which she lived.



In the novel Emma, Jane Austen wrote:



“…Emma went to the door for amusement. Much could not be hoped from the traffic of even the busiest part of Highbury; -- Mr. Perry walking hastily by, Mr. William Cox letting himself in at the office door, Mr. Cole's carriage horses returning from exercise, or a stray letter-boy on an obstinate mule, were the liveliest objects she could presume to expect; and when her eyes fell only on the butcher with his tray, a tidy old woman travelling homewards from shop with her full basket, two curs quarrelling over a dirty bone, and a string of dawdling children round the baker's little bow-window eyeing the gingerbread, she knew she had no reason to complain, and was amused enough; quite enough still to stand at the door. A mind lively and at ease, can do with seeing nothing, and can see nothing that does not answer.”



It is my wish that, just as Emma Woodhouse, you find yourself with no reason to complain, and that you are amused enough with Coloring with Jane to keep your mind lively and at ease and your creativity flowing through each design.




** GIVEAWAY - ends Friday 27th May **



Sarah has been kind enough to offer a giveaway of one copy of the colouring book, US only, and also two printable PDF versions, which is open internationally

Please leave a comment for a chance to win, with one of your favourite Jane Austen quotes, or just with a general comment about the colouring book.



The giveaway ends on 27th May. I will be in touch with the winner to get the address, so please leave your email! The very best of luck, and thanks again to Sarah for this giveaway!

***Free printable for everyone!***

Here is a PDF of one of the pages from the book for you to print and try for yourself. I would love to see your completed pages, so share them with me on my facebook page!

Click here!: - http://sarahjohnsonbooks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/ColoringWithJane-BlogPost-Sophie-PrintableSamplePage.pdf


Amazon UK link here

Amazon US link here

Etsy digital pdf download


I am very much looking forward to getting my copy! I am glad to see a colouring book which is Jane Austen related but isn't just illustrations by Hugh Thomson or Brock for you to colour. This is something new and different!


Your affectionate friend,


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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Blog Tour: A Fine Stout Love by Renée Beyea - giveaway!





I am thrilled today to be part of the blog tour for the lovely Renée Beyea's release, A Fine Stout LoveMy thanks must also go to Jakki of Leatherbound Reviews for asking me to be part of this tour.


Discover what happens when Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy meet fancy and fantasy in this novella-length ensemble of Regency stories.
- What if two inexplicable trails of words led to the Meryton churchyard on the same blustery morning?
- What if Darcy stumbled across suggestive lines of verse following Elizabeth’s stay at Netherfield?
- What if a rumored engagement so thoroughly shocked Lady Catherine that she could not interfere?
- What if Elizabeth learned the last man she would ever marry was the only man she could marry?
- What if every Bennet family member read the love poem Darcy intended only for his bride?
With all the intimacy and lyricism of a chamber concert, these five whimsical shorts will inspire the heart, prompt a smile, and entice readers to many happy returns.





Thank you, Sophie, for hosting me at Laughing with Lizzie and participating in the blog tour for A Fine Stout Love and Other Stories. Each excerpt stop on the tour features an excerpt from a different story. Today’s comes from “Neither Slumber Nor Sleep,” the third story in the collection. Darcy has been prevented from returning to Longbourn to make his second proposal, but an unlikely series of events are set in motion when a weary Elizabeth seeks respite in a London church. Enjoy!



***



Soft footfalls stirred Elizabeth from her repose. Mary must have come to check on her, since she doubted having slept long enough for Jane to complete her shopping and return. And Kitty had never measured up to the stealth of her pet name.



An impish idea flitted through Elizabeth’s mind, and she bit back a smile. Yes, she did dare. Years had passed since they played such a childish game, but the very unexpectedness could only make it more effective. Besides, Mary would benefit from a healthy bout of laughter.



The footsteps continued. One quiet heel click followed by another until, coming even with her pew, they halted.



Elizabeth waited in perfect stillness, forcing herself to feign sleep and heighten the suspense until she could delay no longer.



“The bed’s mine,” she exclaimed, opening her eyes and thrusting her hands in the air all at once.

Her observer leapt backwards and collided with the opposite pew. Black clad arms and legs wheeled like a windmill. Unable to regain his footing, the man capsized, and she was regaled with his upturned soles.



“Oh, I am so sorry, sir.” Elizabeth jumped up and crossed the aisle, already framing her apologies to the rector. “Are you hurt?”



The dark eyes of none other than Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy stared at her from his recumbent position on the pew bench. He shoved himself to his elbows. “Miss Bennet!”



She curtseyed but did not know where to look. If the heat in her cheeks was any indication, all her blood must have rushed to her face. Of every possible manner in which she might have encountered him, why must she succumb to a juvenile whim at such a moment?



“Forgive me for not greeting you properly,” he said, “but I find myself momentarily indisposed.”



She forced herself to look at him. His pose was so undignified, reclining with knees elevated over the pew’s end, that were she not overwhelmed by mortification, guilt and shock, she might have laughed. “Er… May I assist you?”



He considered her for a moment and smiled, but did not accept her outstretched hand. His legs found the floor in a smooth motion and he stood. Her eyes followed his face until she was forced to angle her head back. She had forgotten precisely how tall he was. Or how handsome.



“I did not realize you were in Town, sir. Mr. Bingley said you were keeping Christmas in Kent this year.”



“Yes,” he smiled, “we did and are only recently arrived. I did not wish Anne to be alone for her first Christmas without her mother, and she was not strong enough to travel here.”



“How very thoughtful,” Elizabeth said, struck by the fondness and consideration with which Darcy mentioned Miss de Bourgh. Why had it never occurred to her that more than cousinly concern might have kept him in Kent? “May I extend belated condolences for your aunt’s death?”



“Thank you.” He gestured to the pew she recently vacated, clearly wishing an end to the prior subject. “I was making every effort to tread softly and not disrupt your prayers, but...”



“Oh, I was not praying. I mean, I was praying before, but just then I was—” How could she explain?



“Lying in wait for unsuspecting churchgoers?”



“No. Yes. For my sister anyway, you see—” She laughed despite her embarrassment. “I only meant to surprise her with a very silly game we devised in our girlhood.”



“That will not do at all.” He shook his head. “I require a better explanation for being compelled to such an indignity.”



She could not decide if he was humored or offended. “In which case I am afraid I must disappoint you, sir, as a better explanation does not exist.”



“Come, Miss Bennet, you may at least acquaint me with the particulars of how this game is played.”



“If you wish, but it is of no consequence.”



The corners of his eyes creased. “Your resistance has aroused my curiosity.”




Renée Beyea holds an undergraduate writing degree from Taylor University and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Seminary. She serves as full-time wife, mother to two sons, and ministry partner with her husband, an Anglican priest and chaplain. Her free time is devoted to crafting stories and composing poetry that delight the senses and touch the soul.


·         Email: renee.beyea@gmail.com

·         Website: www.reneebeyea.com

·         Facebook: www.facebook.com/reneebeyea

·         Goodreads:




GIVEAWAY!!!

8 books up for grabs - including up to 4 paperback - open internationally! Follow the below link to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


My thanks again goes to Renée for this fun excerpt! My thanks also to Jakki for setting up this tour.

I wish Renée all the best with this release as well as any stories in the future!


Your affectionate friend,






Saturday, April 09, 2016

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - 10 people's thoughts



And so the controversial film is out. And purely for the sake of my blog, I made myself go and see it. But to my utmost surprise, I loved it! I saw it 4 times at the cinema I enjoyed it so much!

This seems to have been the case with many other Janeites. While it may not have been a box office hit to begin with (although it did end up staying in cinemas longer than expected, as word started to spread that it was actually a film worth watching), nor had it gone down well with the zombie film fans (which doesn't surprise me - more on that later), BUT it does seem to have been received pretty well in the Jane Austen community! I, myself, haven't come across much negative feedback at all from the Janeites who have been to see the film.

And that is exactly the reason for this post. It stemmed from my prejudice against the film - someone even said to me, have I learnt nothing from Pride and Prejudice, in that we shouldn't judge things based on our first impressions? Well I did, and it was only after I saw the film I realised how wrong I had been - I am not too proud to admit that!

I thought the best way to show how others who were equally as against the film as I was also ended up enjoying it like me, was to ask a few of my friends of varying ages and nationalities about their opinions of the film.

I shall be commenting throughout this post, (in blue!) so you can also get an idea of what my more detailed thoughts about the film were. Looking back, the great cast involved should have given me a hint it would be good - surely such stars wouldn't have agreed unless they thought it was going to be good! I also think the trailer was misleading; to me it looked pretty violent and very serious, which was one of my main fears with the film. Luckily, this wasn't the case. Anyway, I shall hand over to my trusted friends to let you hear their thoughts, and hopefully those of you who are sceptical (just as I was) will perhaps give it a chance after reading this!


Alinka Deane - Age 20, British, drama student

An updated Classic for a new audience: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

As a massive Austen fan I was anxious about what to expect from this particular spin off; I was very pleasantly surprised. This film manages to translate the wit and humour of the original novel for a modern audience that expects more than a simple love story.

Adapted from the 2009 book of the same name, this film is an extreme example of the fan- fiction phenomena that has been increasingly popular over the last decade. In the aftermath of the success of the 2008 Twilight series fan-fiction became increasing interested with the addition of supernatural creatures; as this book may suggest. But this book appealed to a wider audience than pure Jane Austen fans. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies reached third place on the New York Times Best Sellers list in April 2009. A graphic novel and a game swiftly followed the book in 2010.  This success demonstrates the increased popularity and importance of the fan fiction industry and it’s ability to attract a new generation of readers to classical literature. Having watched the film I believe that attracting a new audience was Burr Steers', the director, intention.

 The addition of zombie attacks has been careful woven in with the original plot. Set in the middle of a zombie epidemic the Bennet girls have not only been trained in the social graces but they have also spent time in china, studying marital arts. They are now kick-ass zombie fighters who have little time for romance. This somehow manages to give the film a feminist slant. By making the Bennet sisters able to defend themselves, Steers cleverly translated the wit and independence of the Bennet Sisters (traits already found in Austen’s novel) into traits that a modern audience recognises as strong. In this particular case, the ability to kill a Zombie. (I agree that the zombie storyline was very cleverly, and even believably, slotted into the original. I enjoyed the feminist aspect to the film as well.) 

All of the expected scenes are still in the movie but they too have been adapted. I always look forward to the proposal scene, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies did not let me down. Lizzie Bennet, played by Lily James, did not take kindly to being insulted and so the conversation did not end well for Darcy. Books were thrown, swords were used and some buttons were even shed in a manner that is very not regency but still very delicious. (I think this is my favourite scene of the entire film. It was just genius!) The eagerly anticipated Netherfield ball ends in a battle between Zombies and Humans.  The trip to Rosings Park is made more eventful by the wonderful translation of Lady Catherine’s character. Instead of being a sour snob, Lady Catherine (played by Lena Headley) has become a legendary zombie hunter with daring fashion tastes. But Lady Catherine De Bourgh is not the only character due for an upgrade. (Oh Lady Catherine was a brilliant character in this version, and Lena Headley was perfectly cast, too.)

Matt Smith shines as Mr Collins. He portrays the character with an awkwardness that is so perfect it is almost endearing but without any of the slime of David Bamber’s 1995 Mr Collins. This refreshing take on the character combined with some excellent writing and a quick wit forces me to change my long held opinion of Bamber’s acting and say that Matt Smith is now my favourite Mr Collins. (Completely agree with you. Matt Smith was just perfect, in every sense. He was more age appropriate too! He is now my favourite Collins too.)

As for the other characters, Jack Huston’s George Wickam is as evil as ever, but he has a secret that could prove dangerous to all.  Sally Phillips and Charles Dance are a wonderful Mr and Mrs Bennet. Phillips particularly successfully manages a character that could easily be viewed as shrill.  (Yes I enjoyed her portrayal, and wish she has been in it more, actually!) Douglas Booth’s Charles Bingley is charming but perhaps a bit of a wet fish compared to his friend.  The Bennet sisters are all well acted and Millie Brady has given Miss Mary Bennet a much need injection of character and life.  The only slight disappointment I felt was the casting of Sam Riley as Mr, or rather Colonel, Darcy. I think Riley is a wonderful actor and on the whole I think he did a good job. The role of Darcy is a lot to live up too and while Riley certainly has the arrogant character refined to perfection, his smoky baritone was not what I expected. While Riley’s voice was not what I expected, the storyline added action and heroics that were more recognisable to a modern audience. (I must speak up here, for I initially felt the same after watching the film for the first time. I wasn't sure about the casting choice, and his deep voice took me by surprise. However, on the second viewing, he had grown on me considerably, his voice was no longer a surprise, and I was starting to think him a very good choice for the zombie fighting version of Darcy. By the third viewing I was completely taken with him. So, I believe that when you have watched it for a second time your opinion of Sam Riley as Darcy will improve.)

In the end, no one could call this film a faithful adaptation of the original novel. It is filled with ‘mistakes’; Charlotte Lucas is the wrong age, 25 not 27, but in a world of Zombies such trivial facts hardly matter.  This film manages to keep the heart and humour that made the original story such a success while adding enough action and excitement to appeal to the taste of modern audiences. I am not a Jane Austen purist and I love seeing adaptations that offer something new. This version has a certain spunk that I adore and if it attracts new audience then this kind of adaption can only be a good thing. (It certainly maintained the humour - I was laughing through the entire film! - which is one of the most important things to me in any adaptation of Austen. I also agree that it bringing Austen to a new audience is always good.) 


Katrina Xuereb - Age 21, Maltese, graduated as a historian; currently working as a Learning Support Assistant



Being introduced to 'Pride and Prejudice' by my cousin back in 2010, I fell so much in love with the novel that I had to watch every single film adaptation ever made. In my eyes, Mr Darcy became a symbol of first impressions and prejudice against diversity. His character build-up throughout the story is amazing and I think everyone should learn from him.

Later, I took over a fan page on Facebook and started posting updates about film adaptations, without thinking that it would ever become as popular as it is today.

When I first heard of Pride + Prejudice + Zombies back in 2011, I was quite indifferent to it since everyone was using it against my newly sprouted obsession with 'Pride and Prejudice' and Mr Darcy. Now I am patiently waiting for the book to arrive at my doorstep!

Until about a month ago, I was sceptical about a film adaptation for 'Pride + Prejudice + Zombies', seeing the whole subject as a Janeite heresy. One must note that I am very protective of Mr Darcy and 'Pride and Prejudice', so this was quite a shock especially when I saw the choice for Mr Darcy. Thinking Sam Riley was not fit to play a Jane Austen hero, I was very disappointed. (I was just the same!)

When it was announced that the movie was being shown in Malta for just a week, I felt it my duty to overcome my pride and prejudice towards the whole 'Zombie' idea and bought a ticket to see for myself the current 'Pride and Prejudice' adaptation. (Again, I was the same in having to overcome my 'prejudice'!)

This was a challenge for myself, and fellow Janeite purists, but I was hoping to prove myself wrong - and I did. Soon after the movie started, I could see the connection between the original novel and the movie, with several unexpected twists throughout.

Although I am not a zombie film sort of person, I enjoyed the twist to the story and could not wait to see what was so different about this movie - what made it so special from other zombie movies? Only a couple of minutes in, I found myself falling head over heels in love with Mr Darcy's character. Some might think him not as handsome as Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen and that might be true. But I could feel the passion and his love towards Elizabeth with the way he looked at her. He might not be so handsome at first sight, but one would surely be proved wrong after watching the movie.

The twists in every scene and the hilarious comments by Mr Collins made me crave for more. The proposal scene would be my favourite scene throughout the whole movie, but I enjoyed every single minute and do not regret giving it a chance.



(For more of Katrina's thoughts, follow her facebook page, I want to marry Mr Darcy here)


Jocelyn Wang - Age 18, American, student


I am currently an 18 year old Janeite who spends far too much of my time reading and watching anything English or Jane Austen. I frequently imagine seeking adventures abroad from my home in Los Angles. Ever since my first discovery of Austen’s works, I was attracted and intrigued by books, films, or anything else that pays homage to the wit and wisdom of Austen after reading Pride and Prejudice for the first time at the age of 13. So when I first heard that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies finally had its own movie adaptation, I was all ears. I will admit, I was sceptical about both the novel and the film’s ability to follow Austen’s original through various undead decapitations and much sword fighting. I wouldn’t consider myself as an Austen purist because there are different ways for us to express our interest and appreciation towards Austen. Even though the inclusion of zombies is not in the traditional sense of emulating Austen, nevertheless I believe Grahame-Smith does a fantastic job to retain and express Pride and Prejudice’s originality through the inclusion of zombies. To my surprise, the zombies in the film were far from the typical cliché “Walking Dead” undead popular culture depicts, but rather victims of the black plague, thus humanizing the undead to a degree as they were mentioned as “sickly” or “stricken”. Smith’s incorporation of the undead works surprisingly well in making sense of the plot. (Yes, the zombie twist was incorporated really cleverly into the plot. It just... worked!)

The film was also able to depict the Bennet’s maintenance for a balance between marriage and survival. Mr. Bennet, the survival-concerned patriarch who raises his daughters to be “meant for battle, not the kitchen” is in stark contrast to the matrimony obsessed Mrs. Bennet, who is delighted when the wealthy, charismatic Charles Bingley and broodingly handsome, but enigmatic zombie hunter, Fitzwilliam Darcy arrive in the neighbourhood. The film uses the character foil between the Bennet parents as an analogy of the hypocritically polite English society where decorum and killer martial arts are valued but compromised when a lady enters marriage. As for Elizabeth and her sisters, not only are they brushing each other’s hair while confiding their hopes and concerns about love, but also are dressed in black Oriental robes practicing their weaponry and hands-on combat. Apart from words, weapons were also a means of independence and power one can wield in polite society. Mr. Collins “perusing the estate”, his attempt to subdue the sisters with Fordyce’s sermons, and disapproval of weapons after marriage allowed me to further to understand both the original and the mash-up conveyance of Elizabeth’s need to maintain her individuality as her sense of personal control and sense in a society that regards women as mere pawns, particularly when she claims how “anything is preferable than marrying without affection.” The interactions with Lady Catherine de Bourgh, though brief, certainly paralleled the Regency era’s hypocrisy as well. While Lady Catherine can be extremely authoritative to the point of becoming abusive and controlling, nevertheless her admiration of Elizabeth’s “skills as a warrior” and “resolve as a woman”, also represents the Regency era’s hypocrisy in promoting a defensive but sacrificing behavior towards both the annihilation of zombies and succumbing of independence and strength to the expectations marriage demanded then. 

The zombie addition also highlights Pride and Prejudice’s themes of class, reputation, and love. For example, the prestigious Kyoto Academy in Japan was inhabited by the aristocrats while the rest went to the underrated but renowned Shaolin Temple in China. Director Burr Steers was able to accurately incorporate the theme during Elizabeth’s discussion with Darcy, the Bingleys, and the Hursts during her stay at Netherfield Park, especially when Caroline subtly snubbed Elizabeth’s Shaolin training. (Oh yes, I agree, I loved this twist on the 'accomplished woman' talk between them.) The character interactions in the mash-up also highlight the internal and external turmoil that threatens to challenge the understandings, feelings, and opinions of one another.  I really enjoyed how the film was able to offer further interpretation and insight into the stormy relationship Wickham and Darcy have for one another.

When reading the book, I could understand Lizzie’s feelings of embarrassment and misunderstanding of Darcy through faulty first impressions. The film’s portrayal of the interactions between Darcy and Elizabeth highlights the original novel’s tension and discomfort of both characters feeling out of place from their accustomed social standing. The film was able to portray the physical and verbal swordplay the frustration, anger, mistrust, confusion, and eventual understanding and love that ensued from their varying interactions from the Merton assembly, Netherfield Park, the ill-fated first proposal, Darcy’s letter of atonement, and to the ultimate battle of living vs. zombies.

  Another great attribute about the movie are the talented actors and appropriate homage to its predecessors. We ladies may recall a certain scene involving a pond in the BBC adaptation. Matt Smith, whom many know from Doctor Who, plays a spectacularly pompously idiotic and awkward Mr. Collins, and many will recognize Mr. Bennet and Lady de Bourgh from Game of Thrones. (It was a brilliant cast all round, I agree.) I found the undead that were wandering across the countryside to be eerie, repulsive, and pitiful, but at the same time insightful all at once. I felt that what contributed most to the success of this production was the actors’ understanding of their characters. All played it straight: no winking at the camera, no sarcastic undertones — and it worked. The humor stemmed from the contrast between their earnestness and their backdrop.

All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed the adaptation. It has an overall theme of female empowerment of which I highly approve. I enjoyed the fact that it wasn’t two separate stories, but rather that the two stories came together as one. The romantic, but comedic tone of the characters fighting off the undead works well and can bring different audiences of varying preferences together and even allow viewers to appreciate Austen more easily than through a more traditional manner. These feisty Bennet warrior sisters would make any feminist and Janeite proud. They are not merely surviving, but are charging off into battle to save their beaux from rampaging zombie hordes. This movie is not your typical mash up, and although it does have a tendency to speed through the plot, it is more thoughtful than the title suggests. For those who aren’t convinced, try putting your first impressions aside and give it a try. Even if you hate it, you can at least admire Sam Riley’s dark eyes and brooding voice, and some pretty badass fight scenes.


Heidi Ashworth - Age 52, American, author


As the author of regency romances, I was disgusted when, years ago, I first saw the book cover of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.  It wasn't so much that I am a Jane Austen purist (I'm not) but because I felt it derogatory to what is one of the finest pieces of literature written since Shakespeare.  Zoom ahead quite a few years to the trailer for the movie; again, I was not too impressed.  It wasn't the zombies I minded; I had become quite the zombie-killer fan during that time; it was the trailer itself--it seemed to focus on the sexy, uber-violent parts.  Again I thought, ugh!  (Yes, yes yes! The trailer made me want to see the film even less than I already did!)

Then I had some health issues and some major down time during which I read a book my husband had picked up at the dollar store:  Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Killer.  It was brilliant, a work of genius.  So, when my husband mentioned that Pride & Prejudice & Zombies was out, I said, "Let's go!"  By the end of the brief narration at the beginning of the movie, I knew I was in for a rare treat.  Why was this brilliance not indicated in the trailer?  I have no idea, but I absolutely loved, loved, loved the movie and had to convince a certain (ahem!) person to go and see it--I knew she would not be sorry. (Well, I am so glad you did encourage me to go!)

Best selling, Award-winning author
www.heidiashworth.com
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Emma Theobald - Age 31, British, a bit mad!



To start off with I must make it very clear I haven't read Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, I have only seen the film, so I'm purely comparing the original book and the film and my thoughts on that.

 I went into the movie hoping to love it; I'm a massive fan of Sci-fi and fantasy (so anything with vampires, werewolfs, zombies and aliens I think is great fun) as well Miss Austen of course, and I am not a purist by any means. I had seen the trailer some time before and my one and only thought on the matter was COOL!!!!!! I was hoping to get to see it with a Jane Austen group I'm a member of but sadly it was released a whole 3 days after the end of our regency house party which was a shame, I think it would have been great to have seen it in full regency costume and made an event of it. (It was a shame! The photo to the left is Emma and myself at the afore mentioned house party!)

My only slight niggle on going in was the fact it was a horror, now yes, I love vampires, werewolfs, zombies and aliens, but happy fluffy ones, not the 'scarcely tearing your throat out' kind. I don't do horror, no ifs, no buts, I don't, it's that simple. I hate anything that may just come back to get me in my dreams, so I stay clear of anything gory or that make me scream like a total girl. I also have a thing about blood, not the sight of it, but oddly the word, so I was a touch nervous to say the least. Thankful I didn't have much to fear on the scary scale - I would put it about the same as the X-files - jumpy, but nothing to make you lose sleep over. In fact, the scariest thing in it was the ads beforehand for the upcoming films! (I was sooo worried about that as well. I can't do gore and horror.... but you are so right when you say the trailers were scarier than the film! The violence was well handled and it wasn't gory at all, really, to my relief!)

All in all I was pretty impressed, the costumes were amazing, and some of them especially - the two balls and wedding costumes were by far and away better than the BBC's resent adaptation of War and Peace. The choice of actors were also pretty spot on. I loved Matt Smith as Mr Collins and it would be great to see him do a real version of Pride & Prejudice, and really all the main people were very well chosen, the sisters were wonderful with massive brownie points given to Jane Bennet for her performance. (Yes, I enjoyed Jane Bennet's portrayal and her characters involvement in the story too!)

Yes, they did get some bits wrong (did lady Catherine de Bourgh need a eye patch?, and the choice for Darcy wasn't to my taste) but all in all I think they did a great job of making something fun and entertaining with much more than just flavour of the original about it. (As with Alinka, I think Darcy will improve on you when you see it again!)

 I truly hope that people will go to see this, love it and hopefully go on to either read the original or watch the amazing 1995 adaptation. Something which can bring a love of Jane Austen to a whole new group of people is never a bad thing as it will help to keep Miss Austen alive in the hearts and minds of generations to come(Very true!) Yes, purists may well hate it, but is not trying to be the Pride & Prejudice that they love so much, it's something completely new and different, a bit like Bride and Prejudice; it has the flavour of the original but completely reworked for a new generation. Go and see and take it for what it is; fun, and after all who wouldn't want to see Mr Collins say what we all know he is thinking when Elizabeth turns him down (hehehe Mr Collins was just brilliant every time he was on screen!), or watch as Elizabeth gives Mr Darcy a good slapping after finding out what he did to Jane. All in all, a pure, modern joyful film.



Charlotte Cumper - Age 24, British



I would consider myself as an Austen purist and so am always a little wary of attempts to mess around with her stories. Add to that the fact that I'm not a fan of the zombie genre or violent films in general, I was understandably nervous about going to see this film. I was, however, quite looking forward to seeing how Matt Smith would be as Mr. Collins, as I thought that piece of casting was genius.


Based on the trailer and, I'm ashamed to say,  my own prejudice, I expected to be horrified by what they'd done to 'Pride and Prejudice' and to spend most of the time with my eyes shut. In short, I was expecting a serious, scary, zombie film. (Exactly what I thought!)


I'm happy to admit that I was wrong - I really enjoyed the film. The gore was minimal and the violence was... fun - a mixture of 'Hot Fuzz' and 'Pirates of the Caribbean', if you like. (Yes, Pirates is the film which sprung to my mind, as well!) The references to Austen's wider work were particularly good, as it felt as if the writers were sharing in-jokes with us Austen super fans. (I noticed quotes from Emma, Persuasion and Northanger and even Love and Friendship!)

I was certainly not disappointed in Matt Smith - for me he stole the show and he's now my favourite Mr. Collins. His proposal, along with Darcy's, were the stand out points of the film for me. (Totally agree.)

Some of the characters, however, I thought were a little weak and there were times when the original plot of 'Pride and Prejudice' seemed forced; such as Charlotte Lucas and Mr. Collins, or Lydia and Wickham. (I know what you mean about Charlotte and Collins, but I thought it was clever how they used the Lydia elopement to fit with their twist on the plot. I won't say more for fear of spoilers!)

In summary, not a good version of 'Pride and Prejudice', but an excellent piece of Austen inspired silliness. Now I want to accessorise my Regency wardrobe with a sword! (And since writing this I know you have got one, as I have too, and we have been exchanging photos of our new weapons!)


Andy Bitelle - Age 26, Brazilian




I'm not an Austen purist, and I just loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies; the history, the cast, the sets, the beloved characters as heroes and killers of zombies! What a fantastic chemistry between Sam Riley and Lily James as Darcy and Lizzy! (The did have a good chemistry, I agree.) The scene of the first marriage proposal, Darcy and Lizzie fight not only with words but also physically - it was amazing! Mr Collins was hilarious as well! It also has an amazing soundtrack. (Yes I loved the music too. Very well composed.) I simply love it so much. The BBC version of Pride & Prejudice (1995) and now Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are my favourite adaptations.

Sam Riley fans click here and here!


Christin Sprenger - Age 25, German


A surprisingly good adaption of the novel.

As a Janeite, I was rather curious how mixing my favourite Jane Austen book and zombies might work. I've read Pride and Prejudice countless times but I couldn't see how this combination might work. You see I haven't read the book yet.

Many of my fellow Janeites from the UK liked it and recommended it to me, and I'm not at all against action movies. I don't consider myself a Jane Austen purist either since I like to read Jane Austen fan fiction such as variations, what-ifs etc. and quite like them.

So I watched it with an open mind and I was positively surprised and found I enjoyed it. Very much indeed. The original story incorporated the zombie aspect rather well. I found myself laughing more than once at the witty dialogue and quips. (It really was very well written. Brilliantly witty too.)

The humour was great and warrior Bennet sisters and every character skilled in fighting.

The cast I found fitting, too. Especially Lizzy, Darcy and Lady Catherine, portrayed by Lena Headey who I know as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones.

Lizzy and Darcy had chemistry and I don't think I'll give any spoilers when I say the fight scenes were good (since they were in the promo trailers), but they didn't dominate the story in my opinion. Like I said above, they fitted into the story. (I thought they would dominate too, and am so glad they didn't.)

I can recommend it, honestly. A good movie worth watching.

Also I in case anyone is interested you can find my blog under:

http://ramblingsofatravellingbooknerd.wordpress.com


Mark Farr - Age 38, British, in full time employment


OK, so I went to watch Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (PPZ from now on) at my local cinema because my fiancée wanted to see it. I thought "what the heck, the zombies bit might be ok." From the trailers I had seen, I wasn't too impressed. Oddly the period parts looked better than the zombie bits, and that slow mo segment which is in the film and they focus on in the trailer REALLY turned me off - I don't mind slow mo moments but they held it too long and it... was just done badly, far too cliché (though after watching the film and having Sophie and her friends post a TON of gifs on one of our chat channels, I followed a link which listed the "10 best moments in the film". I was amazed to see the slow mo listed as 1 of them - I have come to find out women love it, something to do with a "power walk", or something!) (Many woman like a good power walk, but at least for those who don't, it may have been the focus of the trailer but it wasn't the focus of the film!)

So I went into it with trepidation. The opening was good, “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” Now even though I've not read ONE of Jane's books and seen only ONE full film (Emma (same name as my fiancée) with Gwyneth Paltrow) I have been saturated with Jane Austen knowledge, (I am partly responsible for that!) so a lot of the references I got, a few I didn't, but you don't really need to, to get most of the jokes. (You know a lot more than you are giving yourself credit for!) I liked the film, it's nice to see strong females who aren't all "swoon" and "save me".

I liked the cast; I thought Darcy was good, and the father and the pastor/vicar/whatever (Parson Collins, you mean!) was hilarious (plus I came to like him as Doctor Who after a couple of series). Mr Wickam too was interesting, more so to me than others. I know of his reputation, but the guy in the film seemed ok (well, up until he wasn't!). I have to say, as well, and I don't know if it's just me, but I felt sorry for the zombies? (the ' 'T-total'ers' anyway!) (I know what you mean, and agree with you! To others: this will make sense when you've seen it!)

The period gear was off, but in a good way because I like steampunk! (Yes, and besides, when there are zombies anyway, it is hard to complain about historical clothing inaccuracies! I loved the outfits!)

The ending was a bit cliché too, "villain re-emerges, charging ending" sooooort of open for another, but there won't be, or it will be based on a different book maybe... we'll see! I liked the women chosen too, they did well and the lead woman did a great job and put Darcy in his place! I loved who they picked to be the mother, (Sally Phillips) I've seen her from, back in the day, "drop the dead donkey".

It's been a few months since I saw it now, so thinking back... lighting and mood and everything was spot on. I feel I'm forgetting a lot, and am mostly reviewing the casting, story, backdrop and things, rather than a view from my perspective, as such, but to sum up: I didn't think I'd like it as much as I did!


Hazel Mills - Age 59, British, retired teacher

Hazel, myself and her husband

After having really enjoyed the book, I looked forward to a film version but having seen the trailers I was really worried that they had taken it too seriously. I am very glad to say that they did not. I thought the balance between the original story and the zombie story was clever and the humour and tongue in cheek touches were just right. (They captured just the right tone for this film, I agree.)

I thought that Lily James was perfect as Elizabeth but we didn’t really see enough of the other sisters to be able to say how well I thought they were portrayed as they had little story arc. I missed the romance between Jane and Bingley. Sam Riley had to grow on me, but by the end of the film I really liked him as Darcy. (Yes he grew on me too!)

The first proposal was brilliantly portrayed for the genre of film, allowing Elizabeth to express herself in a way I’m sure Jane Austen would have liked her too; hitting Darcy physically as well as with words! I was also pleased with the nods to other works with quotes, even from the juvenilia. (It was great to have these thrown in, for the really dedicated fans of her works. And as you say, including a quote from the juvenilia is impressive.)

 As someone considered being a somewhat more scholarly Janeite, I refuse to not be permitted to enjoy other offerings because they are not purist. The story was left intact even if the embellishments were somewhat over the top with zombies! I was saddened not to see some of my favourite scenes from the book; I won’t say which ones just in case others still need to read the novel. I left the cinema needing to know when the sequel will be appearing. (Ah yes, the end scene (after the credits have started) implies they could do a sequel... I wonder if it will happen!)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So there you have it. It is not just me who enjoyed this film, having been sceptical to begin with. They managed to capture the right tone for the film; it didn't take itself too seriously, and the violence and gore didn't become the focus. Jane Austen's wonderful wit was still very prominent. The cast were all brilliant, particularly Matt Smith as Mr Collins, and the incorporation of zombies into the original plot was very ingenious and even believable. I am a convert, having gone from being completely against it to absolutely loving it. I really need to remember the lessons we learn from Pride and Prejudice, to not always judge by our first impressions!

Thank you to all my wonderful friends for contributing to this post!

If you have seen it, please comment and let me know what you thought.


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