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I saw the new PRIDE AND PREJUDICE movie — and I really liked it! There were some historical anachronisms, I admit, but I think they did an amazing job distilling the story of the long novel down to just slightly more than two hours — and without cutting out one of the sisters, at the previous movie did! 🙂 (Though in the sense of full disclosure, I’ll concede they did cut out Mr and Mrs Hurst, and for some reason turned Fitzwilliam into Darcy’s friend rather than cousin.)

For those of you who haven’t had the chance to see it yet, here are some of my thoughts and impressions.

MacFadyen as Darcy is definitely a Heathcliff type here — but I thought it worked. Every P&P needn’t be the same. He was very intense, very sexy, and he and Keira Knightley had great chemistry together. She did a great Elizabeth, I thought — full of spirit and humor, and very fierce. I felt the two characters were well matched, and would have a great future together — very passionate, both with fighting and with….er…passion.

I love Colin Firth, and I also liked Olivier’s Darcy a lot (though he’s not the dreamiest in my book), but I liked MacFadyen very much — a lot more than I expected. In the preview I saw, I thought he didn’t look impressive, but he’s much better in the whole thing (without his lines being all chopped up!)

Of course, most of the characters didn’t get much time, so we don’t know the younger sisters, or the Bingleys, or Lady Catherine, or (particularly) Wickham they way we do in the BBC miniseries. But still, who can fault Judi Dench’s Lady Catherine?

Little things I loved: Lydia actually looked fifteen, and it even looked like she had acne. Jane was gorgeous — no wonder why everything thought she was the handsomest girl in the room!

A few things really bothered me — like Miss Bingley’s sleeveless dresses (the one shown here is the more normal one — there’s one she wears later for which the bodice looks like a bathing suit!) Also, what is it with the girls’ hair? I don’t recall girls wearing side ponytails of sausage curls in the 1790’s…or did I miss it? And why was Elizabeth (as well as others) wearing her hair down so much? Do they think modern movie viewers are so small-minded that they can’t like a woman with her hair up?

And yes, there might have been more wearing of gloves and bonnets (and, um, clothes) for my taste — but I understand why many of these choices were made. The important thing is the story — telling the story, and getting across the basics of a LOT of characters, all in two hours. Sometimes shorthand methods are the only way. (No glove pun intended!)

So, anyone else who’s seen it — what did you think? If you haven’t seen it, are you looking forward to it? (With fear or with anticipation?) 🙂 Please share!

Cara King,
MY LADY GAMESTER — Signet Regency, out now!!!

It’s the birthday of Josiah Wedgwood, born this day in 1730 (died January 3, 1795) the founder of Josiah Wedgwood & Sons Pottery, a company still in existence although it’s now owned by a US company. Here are the UK and US websites.

Now Josiah is a bit of a hero for me. He was smart, hardworking, came from humble beginnings and was an abolitionist. What’s not to love? He was also the grandfather of Charles Darwin. Yesss!

Also, according to Wikipedia:

Wedgwood is credited as the inventor of modern marketing, specifically direct mail, money-back guarantees, traveling salesmen, self-service, free delivery, buy one get one free, and illustrated catalogues.

And it was his marketing acumen that came up with the idea of a logo  and tagline (Am I not a Man and a Brother?) for the ‪Society for Effecting the Abolition of the Slave Trade. It became tremendously successful and was reproduced on pottery, jewelry, and other artefacts. (He probably didn’t actually design it himself,  though.) As his friend and fellow abolitionist Thomas Clarkson said,

…ladies wore them in bracelets, and others had them fitted up in an ornamental manner as pins for their hair. At length the taste for wearing them became general, and thus fashion, which usually confines itself to worthless things, was seen for once in the honorable office of promoting the cause of justice, humanity and freedom…

He was interested in more than business or design, becoming involved with the science of pottery, and was a member of the Lunar Society of Birmingham, a group of businessmen, scientists and philosophers, so named because they liked to meet on the night of the full moon, thus allowing them more time for talk and less for travel. He was elected a member of the Royal Society after he invented the  pyrometer, a device to measure the extremely high temperatures in kilns during firing.

I could, but I won’t, fill this entire post of pics of Wedgwood’s work although he considered this, the Portland vase, his greatest work. It was a copy of a Roman intaglio vase, made of glass. Here’s his (on the left) and the original (on the right).

Another thing I really love about Wedgwood is how he ties into so much that’s fascinating about the Georgian period. Sir William Hamilton, later husband of Emma, first brought the Portland vase to England. Mrs. Radcliffe’s father managed the Bath Wedgwood showroom and one of her uncles was a business partner of Josiah’s. There are the Darwin and abolitionist connections. Jane Austen  owned some Wedgwood, as she wrote in a letter to Cassandra in 1811:

On Monday I had the pleasure of receiving, unpacking and approving  our Wedgwood ware. It all came very safely and upon the whole is a good match, tho’ I think  they might have  allowed us rather larger leaves, especially in such a year of fine foliage as this. One is apt to suppose that the Woods about Birmingham must be blighted.

So did her brother Edward, and some of his china is on display at Jane’s home, the Chawton House Museum.  For more about Austen and Wedgwood, visit this wonderful post at

And for a sneak preview of the cover of my next book, Hidden Paradise, go to Facebook!

Do you own any Wedgwood? I have a pair of earrings. I don’t know whether I’d want to own a whole set of his famous designs. They might be a bit overpowering… What do you think?


Time to take a poll! Please answer any or all of these three questions, about the pictured film and television portrayals of Austen characters at the end of this post! (Or you can pick someone who’s not pictured!)

1) Which of these Austen characters, as played by the specific actor, do you think has the most of what Janet calls “essential hotness”?

2) Which would you find it easiest to fall truly, madly, deeply in love with?

3) Which would you most like to marry? (This of course takes into account your answers to questions 1 and 2, but also practical matters — like who your in-laws will be, and just how disgustingly wealthy he is.) 🙂

Just put your answers in a comment — you can explain your choices if you like! I’ll keep tabs on how voting goes, and soon we will know who are the hottest, the dreamiest, and the most marriageable cinematic Austen heroes!

If any gentlemen are here, you can vote on which hero you’d most like to be! And yes, you may take into account who you would get to marry, just how disgustingly wealthy you would be, and whether or not you have to have Lady Catherine de Bourgh as your aunt!

Cara King, MY LADY GAMESTER, Signet Regency 11/05
more Jane Austen movie info at!

I thought I’d mention how I’m looking forward to the upcoming PRIDE AND PREJUDICE movie! I hear it has a (tentative) release date of November 18.
Does anyone want to talk about it? (Yes, I know it’s ridiculously early to talk about it, but why not!) 🙂

What I’m excited about:

Judi Dench as Lady Catherine De Bourgh! (Okay, I’d be excited seeing Judi Dench as anyone or anything — I adore her! Did I ever mention I once saw her star in a RNT revival of A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC?) And she’s perfect for Lady Catherine! (Though I’d also love to see her do Northanger Abbey’s Mrs. Allen some day too!)

Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennett. Too, too perfect!!!!

Rosamund Pike as Jane. I think RP is breathtakingly beautiful and
conveys serenity so well — perfect for Jane.

Okay, those are three reasons I’m looking forward to it! Anyone else?

Cara King, MY LADY GAMESTER, Signet Regency 11/05
check out more movie info on my website!

Does anyone want to discuss Roger Michell’s film PERSUASION? (It was released as a television film in the U.K., and as a theatrical release in the U.S. — which may make it unique!) I call it “Roger Michell’s PERSUASION” because he was the director — but of course screenwriter Nick Dear deserves as much credit as Michell for this understated, heartfelt adaptation.

I think Ciaran Hinds is very real as Wentworth — and a swoony romantic hero at the same time. Amanda Root is so true and so subtle as Anne that I don’t think I could ever picture anyone else in the part.

The silences in the film are amazingly powerful. This is an incredibly internal film.

The supporting performances are also great. I particularly adore Simon Russell Beale as Anne’s cheerful (but perhaps not too bright) brother-in-law Charles Musgrove, and Fiona Shaw as Mrs. Croft, the Admiral’s resourceful wife. (I once saw Simon Russell Beale portray Guildenstern in Stoppard’s ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, and Fiona Shaw play King Richard II in Shakespeare’s play, but I assure you I am quite unbiased!)

So, which were your favorite parts of the film? Or what didn’t work for you?

Cara King,
MY LADY GAMESTER, Signet Regency 11/05

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