I… just… bad. All of the bad. I can’t believe this drivel even got published. I think these may have started as plots for porn, and the director just laughed, said “It’s not what we’re looking for, why don’t you write a book?” while snickering, and the author went and did just that. It is not in any way a good imitation of Austen’s writing, it would not have fit in with any of the plots, and it’s not even good porn! It’s 2015, people, we deserve good porn! (Well, it was published in 2001, but still!) Maybe it started out on a fanfiction site (and my friends know I’m all into the fanfiction) and the author took the “encouraging” comments to heart. (Sometimes people comment on everything, whether they like it or not, and can’t stand to be mean about it. So a “Good job!” comment might not mean that at all, especially if you write like a 12 year-old girl. The rest of the community is just trying to be welcoming.) My friend gave this book to me, knowing that I love Pride and Prejudice and reading the fanfiction of said work. That being said, I am very quick to avoid the bad ones. And this is one of the worst ones I have come across. Let’s get started!
I must admit, I did not read the Preface until I started writing this review. And it made me feel a little bit better, as well as the word HUMOR written on the corner of the back cover. Anyways…
Here’s the set up. Two Austen-enthusiast Americans on vacation staying in an old estate discover a box containing the lost sex scenes from Jane Austen’s works.
An Austen scholar verifies that these lost manuscripts are authentic.
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Austen writes to her publisher and her sister, complaining about the cuts to be made to her novel. In her letter to her sister, we learn that the title of her book was to be Pride and Promiscuity, and claims that the cuts are of “the simple and everyday sort of diversions that lovers enjoy.” What sort of activities did she think her neighbors were up to? And do we really need to abbreviate every possible word?
Jane at Netherfield
This scene that was “lost” was the night that Jane became ill while visiting Mr. Bingley’s sisters. After Jane goes to bed, the two sisters join her, first to enquire after her comfort, then sneaking their way into her bed. They claim to be interviewing her for their brother, and proceed to do sexy things. Jane, being the polite girl she is, participates enthusiastically, as she is their guest. In the morning, the sisters proclaim Jane unfit to marry their brother, because she is “wanton, saucy, and shameless.” At this point she knows she has been tricked, and realizes the characters of the sisters. If this scene had “truly” been in the book, her attitude to and about the sisters would have been different in the rest of the novel. You dropped the ball there, awful writers pretending to be Austen!
Elizabeth and Darcy
The first few pages are not that bad. Elizabeth and Darcy are walking in front of her Aunt and Uncle after Darcy’s surprising arrival at Pemberly. Fine. Elizabeth and Darcy exchange niceties and awkward silences. Fine. Darcy claims that if their words cannot express what they need to, then actions might. At this point, if they had exchanged a kiss, I would have been ok with that. But no. Before they even kiss, they are rolling about the ground with their hands in each others pants, and Elizabeth is giving Darcy a blowjob. (Oh, wait, there was a kiss before the hands in the undergarments, but after the straddling and rolling about.) All the while they are exchanging public niceties and discussing random and boring topics.
Charlotte and Mr. Collins
Charlotte receives a package, and it turns out to be one of Lady Catherine’s old dresses. Charlotte is confused, but Mr. Collins is all excited, and exclaims of the honor and condescension and all that. The idea that Lady Catherine would send Charlotte an old dress, even considering their differing sizes, would make sense. It makes Lady Catherine look good and charitable while giving more work to Charlotte if she is to use the dress in any way. While alone, Charlotte plays dress up and imitates Lady Catherine in speech and mannerisms, which again is plausible. But then she goes back to the parcel wrappings and there is a riding crop inside. Mr. Collins finds her, and then they move into a kind of dog role-play.
Lady Catherine sent the package, so she knew this would happen! That is more than a little creepy! She noticed Mr. Collins getting off on following her orders, and decided to either reward him, or reward his wife. But a few questions – how did Mr. Collins fall into the role-play so quickly, and without question? What if Charlotte really never wanted to touch her husband, let alone have sex with him? (Maybe Lady Catherine wanted them to have babies, so she could lecture them on yet another subject, so she needed a way to facilitate that.) Lady Catherine knows this is happening, what if she demands they play in front of her? Oh, God, the awful, awful possibilities!
(As we move on, I am less familiar with the Austen novels in question. This may be a good thing.)
Sense & Sensibility
Such Devoted Sisters
Elinor and Marianne are having a bit of a chat, and Marianne wishes Elinor to be her confidante and to share stories. Marianne tells of her first meeting with Willoughby – the fall remains the same, but now her girls have practically popped out. Willoughby, being a boy, makes a comment. Marianne comments right back, and feels him up. She puts her hand on “it.” Then there is sisterly banter, and Marianne pushed Elinor to tell tales. We do not get to hear the exact wording, but it is implied that both Edward and his horse did her. And from earlier conversation, the horse may have been the better lover.
This one is a bit sad. Mrs. Palmer is very silly and very chatty, but she is just trying to seduce her husband, who steadfastly ignores her. She’s trying her best! Her fantasies are a bit ambitious, but they are fantasies. All she gets is silence, ridicule, or anger in response.
The play in the novel, Lover’s Vows, is not the one in this scene. The new play is The Curious Cousins, after rejecting such titles as The Saucy Footman, The Vigorous Vicar, A Most Distressingly Bumpy Barouche, or my favorite, The Three Lonesome Deck-Hands. The scene we almost see is played by actors who gradually lose the few items of clothing they have and proceed to an orgy, only they are interrupted by the plot of the book. Thank God for small favors.
Henry and Mary Crawford
The siblings Henry and Mary are spending a lazy afternoon together. Henry comments on Fanny Price, while Mary wants to hear none of it, and Henry shoots back comments about her “love” of Edmund. Henry jokes that Fanny and Edmund are together, while hinting to the reader that Henry and Mary were previous lovers. Mary refuses his attentions, stating that the risk is too great. Henry and Mary playact as Fanny and Edmund, and soon become physical. They proceed to have sex, as themselves this time, not as the other couple. I wonder if the risk Mary speaks of is the risk of discovery or the risk of pregnancy? Either way, the incest is not my cup of tea. Ew.
In which we are subject to Emma thinking about how wonderful she is while she masturbates.
Knightley and Churchill
In which Frank Churchill is a manwhore. (Although the riddle made me laugh a little, I will admit.)
Henry and Catherine
In which Catherine explores the house, and finds a bedroom with a closet full of sex toys. Henry discovers her. Catherine is sure that the objects are used for some nefarious purpose, and tells Henry of her suspicions about his father. Henry shoots her down, and admits the objects are his, and proceeds to show her what they are for, and sexytimes are had by all.
Persuasion: the Prequel
We begin with Sir Walter admiring himself in the mirror and mistaking Lady Russell’s admiring comments to be about himself rather than Captain Wentworth. What could have been a sweet moment – lost. Sir Walter thinks that the Captain would do well for Elizabeth, his eldest daughter, but her sister Anne is the one who catches the Captain’s attentions. The next day while the entire household apart from Anne is out, the Captain calls upon the house, and he and Anne stroll about. He talks of life on the sea, and ultimately states that it is no place for a woman. They test this statement by going out on the pond in a small boat, and it is implied that they do it. The sex, I mean. Elizabeth discovers them on her return home, and being a tattletale, has Captain Wentworth banished from the family. Although, if Sir Walter had his sights on the Captain for Elizabeth, why would he be unsuitable for her sister? Especially since he ruined Anne, and made an offer for her. Why am I even wondering about the bad plot?
Richard Crosby’s Editorial Comments
Here we discover why there are only a few pages of Austen’s unfinished novel – the rest of the book was so depraved, the publisher burned them. Why didn’t the publisher of this nonsense do the same?
So in conclusion, bad. All of the bad. If you’re going to attach something to Jane Austen, at least make it good. Yes, this was supposed to be humorous. But it was only funny in that someone published it. The idea is funny, not the actual writing. The actual writing was bad. Have these people never read a romance novel in their lives? Or any of the thousands of (good) fanfictions posted online? There are ways to use this idea tastefully, humorously, and sexily, and they missed each one of those marks. So, no stars. I want to find someone who gave this a pity star and take it away. Negative stars, then!