Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #48 – Kitty Bennet’s Diary by Anna Elliot

Ah, yes – yet another Austen-adjacent story, this one involving the penultimate Bennet sister, Kitty. Elliot is responsible for the Georgiana Darcy diary books as well, and I have taken issue with her pairing Georgiana with Colonel Fitzwilliam. They both appear in the book, as does Mary Bennet, the middle, plain sister; Jane Bennet-Bingley; and Mrs. Hurst (nee Bingley) one of Mr. Bingley’s bitchy sisters.

Kitty and Mary have gone to London to visit with the Gardiners. Kitty is somewhat in mourning for her fiancé, or the guy who was her fiancé before she dumped him not long before the Battle of Waterloo. Kitty feels like she’s a horrible person, unworthy of love. So she decides instead to find a beau/husband for Mary. There’s a likely candidate, one of Uncle Phillips’ clerks, but then Mary falls in with a bad crowd, and becomes a flighty naughty girl with no thought for her reputation. Kind of like rumspringa, only with corsets.

Of course, Kitty meets the too-good-to-be-true Lancelot Dalton, who has some baggage of his own. Lance always seems to be there when Kitty is doing something embarrassing, or when Kitty needs him. Sometimes both. See if you can guess what happens there.

Kitty makes an interesting observation about her place in the family: Jane is the beautiful one; Lizzie is the most charming and witty; Mary is the most bookish; Lydia is the most spirited and vivacious. Which, as Kitty puts it, “left me the only Bennet sister without any distinguishing characteristic.” Which is actually pretty true, but this book makes Kitty the funny, resourceful sister, which certainly elevates her above her coughing, whinging self from the original.

These books are often fun and frothy, nothing that’s going to set the world on fire, but a decent read at the end of a day dealing with stupid people. I’d be curious to see what happens to Kitty next.

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Captain Tuttle’s #CBR5 Review #43 – Austenland by Shannon Hale

Ok, so I’m a little embarrassed about reading this book. But in my defense, it was an airport purchase, and kept me entertained from Tampa to New York. The flight is less than three hours, and I was just about done when we landed. It’s pretty short, but it’s also a breezy read, which makes sense. This isn’t deep stuff, folks; but it is fairly cute-ish. Plus, I adore Keri Russell and Bret Mackenzie, so I’ll likely be seeing the movie when it comes to pay-per-view. Not in the theater, though.

Anyway, Jane Hayes is your typical New York neurotic artsy type underemployed at a magazine of some sort, and obsessed with Mr. Darcy of Pride & Prejudice. Not just Mr. Darcy, but Colin Firth’s Darcy from the BBC miniseries (yes, of course I own a copy on DVD). So her relationships with men aren’t satisfying. She has an elderly aunt who finds out about this, dies, and leaves Jane a trip to an estate in England catering to Austen fanatics. The estate provides a total Austen immersion, apparently at different pricing levels for different sorts of experiences. Jane has the budget trip, of course.

The female visitors to the estate are the paying customers, and it looks like most of the people who interact with the visitors are actors. The question is: is everyone else there aside from Jane and the two other ladies an actor, or are there real people working there too? Jane meets a couple of different men, meets cute (of course), and hijinks ensue. There are also asides between chapters, describing Jane’s love life up to the point where she enters Austenland. I haven’t decided if I liked that part or not, I’m leaning toward thinking it was annoying. Also annoying was a lot of the language – a bit too colloquial and diary-like for my tastes.

But, overall, it’s a fun and quick read, brainless and entertaining. Perfect for an airplane. I’m guessing the movie will be much the same.