Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Memorable Moms in Literature

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

The official topic is ~ Mother’s Day related Freebie: favorite moms in literature, books about motherhood, best mother/daughter or son relationships, books to buy your mom, worst moms in literature, etc. etc.

First off, shout-out to the best mom in the world! She inspired my love of books by reading me countless children’s books until I was old enough to read them to her. And the rest is history.

This topic was so open-ended I wanted to go in 3 different directions at once. I settled on highlighting 10 memorable moms in literature, whether noted for their sage advice or annoying presence. A few of these are non-traditional “moms”, being mother figures (sometimes reluctantly) to motherless or orphaned children for a large part of the story. Like in real life, these women who choose to love are just as important to recognize as key leaders in these little ones’ lives.

10 Memorable Moms in Literature

1. Mrs. Bennet in Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

She was the first notable mother that came to mind, mostly because of her obsessive and nervous tendencies. On the surface, she just wants to marry off all of her children ASAP. But, I think beneath her actions is a mother’s heart that wants to see her girls cared for in the long term.

A Flight of Arrows2. Good Voice (Two Hawks’ mom) in The Pathfinders series (The Wood’s Edge and A Flight of Arrowsby Lori Benton

Good Voice is of exceptional character. Through her eyes, especially as book 2 progresses, readers see the sacrifice she had to make as a mother and the continued sacrifices she was willing to make in order for her adult children to be at peace.

3. Mrs. Hale in North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

Obviously, Mrs. Hale is memorable for her annoyance and frailty. At least that’s how I remember her. She did not have the strongest of mindsets through the ups and downs her family faced, but she was loved and cared for by Margaret just the same.

Evergreen4. Ingrid Christiansen in the Christiansen Family series by Susan May Warren

She’s an encourager, always showing her adult kids grace in a different way. Her heart is really revealed at the beginning of each book in the series, where readers are treated to a letter from her perspective, told like a journal entry to her children.

5. Caroline Ingalls (“Ma”) in the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder

These books hold a special memory for me and my mom. This is the first series I remember us reading together when I was little. I recall Caroline as a resilient and resourceful mother, always working for her children’s happiness. She was always ready to share encouragement or wisdom with them, teaching them important lessons of friendship and faith.

a-portrait-of-emily-price6. Donata Vassallo (Ben’s mom) in A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay

Though she has minor page time, she commands what scenes she’s in with an unmistakable passion and demeanor. She loves her children fiercely and serves as an example of changing family dynamics as she adjusts to her new role as Emily’s mother-in-law.

just-the-way-you-are-by-pepper-basham7. Eisley Barret in Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham

Eisley is a single mom successfully juggling her career and 3 spunky kids. She’s realistically portrayed as a loving mother in all the chaos and humor of everyday life. She is memorable for her flexibility and selflessness that spills over into other areas of her life.

Non-traditional mother figures:

the-mark-of-the-king-by-jocelyn-green8. Julianne Chevalier in The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

Without giving too much away, Julianne finds herself in a new world during this story (French New Orleans). Toward the latter half of the book, she becomes the mother figure to a precious half French, half Mobile Indian little girl, showing her such tender care in an unsettling world.

9. Sophie Menzies in The Mistress of Tall Acre by Laura Frantz

What starts out as a friendship between Sophie and her neighbor’s daughter, Lily Cate, becomes a deeper relationship as the story goes on. Sophie is a natural mother!

727431810. Elle Drake in More Than a Promise by Ruth Logan Herne

This book is a contemporary marriage-of-convenience story, so Elle becomes an instant mother to 3 hilarious and rambunctious boys. It’s been a long-time dream of hers to be a mother, so to see it realized in an unexpected (albeit challenging) way is quite fun.

That’s it for my list. Have you read any of these books? What is a memorable “mom” in book you’ve read?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I Love Period Dramas

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Reasons I Love Period Dramas

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

This week’s topic is open-ended: 10 reasons you love _______. So, I’m taking the opportunity to ramble in delight over period dramas, whether they be film, television, or series productions.

Top 10 Reasons I Love Period Dramas

The Young Victoria. So many amazing costumes! AND it is a true story!

The Young Victoria. So many amazing costumes!

1. History

As a fan of both history and historical fiction, what better way to combine story and facts than a period drama?

2. Costumes

Cravats.

Cravats.

Style HAS certainly changed over time, and it’s fascinating. I’m thankful to live in a modern era where comfy pants are acceptable. But I love seeing the elegance and class of past eras. And cravats. Need I say more?

3. Musical Scores

Essential to enhancing a story, if you ask me! I spent a previous topic talking about some of my favorites.

William & Georgiana (James Norton & Eleanor Tomlinson) in Death Comes to Pemberley miniseries

William & Georgiana in Death Comes to Pemberley miniseries

4. Various Story Formats

Series, movie, miniseries. All great for different reasons.

5. Often adapted from books

Books + visual representation of setting + amazing casting = perfect recipe for a perfect period drama.

The Bennett sisters.... I love the way they are portrayed in P&P 2005!

The Bennett sisters…. I love the way they are portrayed in P&P 2005!

6. Portrayal of Relationships

For some reason, period dramas tend to have a better grip on relationships — or at least they emphasize them. And I’m not talking about romantic relationships, but friendship, sibling, or parent-child ones. Think Anne and Diana in Anne of Green Gables, or the Bennet sisters in Pride & Prejudice, or the closeness of Jo March and Marmee in Little Women. Maybe it’s because our life is more complex now due to technology and travel, but fewer modern stories can emphasize and portray relationships with such gravity.

Heath Ledger & Mel Gibson in "The Patriot". A favorite film set during the American Revolution.

Heath Ledger & Mel Gibson in “The Patriot”. A favorite film set during the American Revolution.

 

 

 

7. Love Stories

Call them chick flicks if you want, but I am a huge fan of love stories. And classifying a production as a period drama almost guarantees some part of the story will involve characters finding love and, hopefully, happiness. Which brings me to….

 

Little Women

Little Women

8. Happily-Ever-Afters!

Yes, I’m aware that not every period drama ends with a happily ever after scene. And that’s ok, I still like some of those! But I’m a sucker for a good ending. Or at least one that offers hope and maybe leaves you wondering about the rest.

 

 

 

9. Variety of Sub-Genres

Mystery, suspense, war, drama, romance, comedy, true stories.

North and South 2004. Drama, love, & social commentary in my favorite miniseries.

North and South 2004. Drama, love, & social commentary in my favorite miniseries.

10. Vocabulary

A little item, yes, but SO important. Language and vocabulary are two more things that have changed so much with time. It’s so interesting to be reminded how people spoke.

Henry Tilney & Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey adaptation.

Henry Tilney & Catherine Morland in Northanger Abbey adaptation.

And, sometimes learning new words is a fun bonus! Examples: Plimsolls, quixotic, taciturn.

 

 

 

 

It’s your turn! Why do YOU like period dramas? Or do you prefer another genre of film/TV? Please share your thoughts below!

Top Ten Tuesday: Music & Books (or, my favorite music from book to screen adaptations)

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

This week’s theme is books we’d give theme songs to or songs we wish were books. Well, I’m stretching it a bit and going with my favorite instrumental music from book adaptations. If music with no words is not usually your thing, I get it. I really do. But, trust me here, you might just be captivated by the emotion and beauty in some of these themes.

 

Top Instrumental Music from Book Adaptations

1. Poldark by Winston Graham – “Theme from Poldark” composed by Anne Dudley (BBC series)

2. Emma by Jane Austen – “Knightley’s Walk” composed by Samuel Sim (2009 BBC series)

3. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell – “Northbound Train” composed by Martin Phipps (2004 BBC series)

4. & 5. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – “Mrs. Darcy” and “Leaving Netherfield” composed by Dario Marianelli (2005 Focus Features film)


6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – “Orchard House” composed by Thomas Newman (1994 Columbia film)

7. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper – “Main Title” composed by Trevor Jones and Randy Edelman (1992 Fox film)

8. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – “Tara’s Theme” composed by Max Steiner (1939 MGM film)

9. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen – “My Father’s Favorite” composed by Patrick Doyle (1995 Sony Film)

10. The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans – “The Rhythm of the Horse” composed by Thomas Newman (1998 Buena Vista film)

What are some of your favorite series/film themes or scores? Have you seen any of these? What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top {11} Book Quotes

It’s another Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by  The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Tuesday at The Green Mockingbird

This week is a FREEBIE topic for Top Ten Tuesday! So, looking back through past topics, I was inspired to share some favorite book quotes (originally a topic in 2010, I believe). While I have many favorite book quotes, I have chosen 11 to share here that hopefully make sense out of context. Narrowing it down was not easy!

Top {11} Book Quotes

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

Taking a sip of tea, she felt immediately better. Tea was comfort. Tranquility. Civility. – Love’s Awakening by Laura Frantz

She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped. – Persuasion by Jane Austen

“You put new meaning to the word bookworm. More like a book… boa constrictor.” – Blake in Here to Stay by Melissa Tagg

We said goodbye at the end of the day with the kind of reluctance usually reserved for small children leaving Disneyland. – A Table by the Window by Hillary Manton Lodge

“…one cannot turn one’s back on the truth. One cannot wish it away, or pray it away, or even live it away.” – Verity in Ross Poldark by Winston Graham

“I know it’s difficult to see right now, but if we trust Him, God can bring us through these dark places, through our fears and even what we think is impossible, to give us more. More of Him. Even more of ourselves, through Him. In fact, He can do more than you can ask or imagine if you let Him.”  – Grace in When I Fall In Love by Susan May Warren

“I wanted to see the place where Margaret grew to what she is, even at the worst time of all, when I had no hope of ever calling her mine.” – Mr. Thornton in North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

“Do you know-” her tone went musing- “belief does something marvelous to courage. Courage is something to be drummed up without it, but if you have belief, it does the drumming.” – Clare in Maggie Bright by Tracy Groot

Not everything that happens to us in this life will bring us joy. …But in time God will work even the worst things men do to us for our lasting good. Eternal good. Trust in the Almighty, in His love for you, and you’ll have no need to dread anything He has befall you. For with a test, a trial, He gives an equal measure of grace to bear it and the comfort of His fellowship as He strengthens us. He is acquainted with suffering. – The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

Imagine how differently we’d treat people if at the beginning of an acquaintance we were given opportunity to know how that person would affect our life. – Mark of Distinction by Jessica Dotta

Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorite book quotes?

Final Read-along Discussion Post: North and South

The North and South read-along is officially over! It was so fun to read this classic by Elizabeth Gaskell. This is the last of the discussion questions. This post is hosted by Suey, so head over to her post to find links for everyone else!

North-and-South-Read-Along-600x408

North and South Final Discussion Questions

1.  There’s much talk about all the deaths in this book. What are your feelings on that? Do you think they were necessary? Or too much?

Mmm, they were all necessary to the story, though at times they were very sad. They each inspired a reaction (or lack thereof) in different characters.

2. Was there anything that happened during this last part that you found surprising or unexpected? Or was everything very predictable?

It’s been so long since I have seen the miniseries, I forgot a few details of the later portions. Other than the “killed cat” moment (ahem, moving on….), I thought that Margaret’s falling back into her old habits as Edith’s companion was a bit unexpected. I was glad when she stood up for herself a bit later and wanted to make her own choices.

3. What are your feelings on the about face Margaret and Mr. Thornton have with regard to their financial status?

For one thing, it forced them to have to correspond with each other again. On a deeper level, I think it proves the strength of character they both possess. Their change in fortune did not effect their personalities or demeanors by making them greedy or proud.

4. Do you think Margaret is justified in being so anguished over the lie that she told? Does it mostly have to do with her feelings for Mr. Thornton? Or something else?

She certainly spent a lot of time dwelling on the fact that Mr. Thornton didn’t know the truth! I think it had more to do with her feelings for him. Once she asked God’s forgiveness, she should have been satisfied personally, though she had to live with the consequences of it.

5. At what moment exactly do you think her feelings for Mr. Thornton completely changed?

At the moment when he covered for her being at the train station. He really lied for her, because he knew she was in the area with a man. In a way, his deliberate lie, to protect her, was very much like her lie to protect Frederick. Maybe this showed her Thornton’s capacity to care was similar to her love for her brother.

6. Discuss the character of Nicholas Higgins. What do you think about the relationship he has with Mr. Thornton? Did he change Mr. Thornton? Did Mr. Thornton change him?

Nicholas began as a character I liked, but didn’t really love. He changes, though, through everything he goes through with Bessy and Boucher. He became an endearing character; one who represented the working man and all his opinions to the story.

I think his relationship with Mr. Thornton changed both of them. I think, for the first time, their relationship caused each to view the other just as a man, not as a master or worker. Their common goal of providing for their family helped to unite them.

7. How does Mr. Thornton’s views on the master/worker relationship change? Or. . .did it change? Did your view on this issue change as you experienced this book?

His views changed some. Proof comes with his implementation/experiment of a new kitchen area available to his workers. I think he began to see ways he could provide for his workers beyond a fair job at a fair wage.

My view didn’t change. I enjoyed following both sides of the issue and seeing how they ended up working together (not without their trials, though). But I still say I’m on Thornton’s side.

8. Do you have a favorite quote from this book? If so, share and let us know why it’s your favorite.

This book has so many quotable lines!!! I think my favorite, though, is this from chapter 20: “He knew it was the first time their hands had met, though she was perfectly unconscious of the fact.”

I also love this line from Nicholas Higgins: “Any yet, yo see, North and South has both met and made kind o’ friends in this big smoky place.”

9. The ending! Are you happy with how things turned out? (Try not to compare with the movie here… that’s for a later question!)

Yes!!! I’m completely happy with how the story turned out. It did feel slightly abrupt – I would have been happy with a few more pages of John and Margaret getting settled and speaking with their families. But, I am good with how it was resolved. I know that Gaskell had to make the length of it fit at the time in Charles Dickens’ publication. And the roses were sweet 🙂

10. What aspect of this book would you like to address that we haven’t yet talked about? Is there something we’ve skipped over in our discussions that makes you want to say… “Yeah, but what about….?”  And if you’ve got nothing there, answer this: Did you like the book? Why or why not?

Hmm, the one thing we didn’t discuss was the fact that Fanny finally got married. Didn’t she supposedly marry a wealthy man in trade? Why couldn’t he help Mr. Thornton? I do wonder that.

BONUS MOVIE QUESTION:

If you’ve already seen the movie, go ahead… now is your chance to compare the two!

Ok, so I definitely love both the book and the miniseries, for separate reasons. The book is so richly detailed, and we see Mr. Thornton’s point of view. The movie, though, provides a visual for the characters and the setting. The movie has a different first meeting and a totally different ending sequence, which I am happy about. The kiss-less book ending is appropriate for that era of literature, I know. So for us in modern times, we have the series to watch and be happy about.

 

Thank you to Suey, Jenni, and Kami for hosting this fun read-along! It’s the first one I’ve participated in, and it has been fun and memorable.

Do you agree with my answers for this final discussion? Have you seen the miniseries? I’d love to hear your thoughts on either!

Read-along Discussion Post 1: North and South

Ya’ll, if you’ve never read North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, you’re seriously missing out on a great story and some beautiful arrangements of words. We don’t have quite the same vocabulary – or at least the flourish – as they did in the Victorian era. But this means we can admire and enjoy their stories!

So far, we’re 1/3 through with the read-along hosted by Kami, Suey, and Jenni. This means our first discussion post is upon us! Jenni is hosting it; and she’s come up with some great questions for this round. We’re linking up at her post, so be sure to add your link and explore everyone’s thoughts thus far! Also, we had quite the discussion on Twitter with the #NorthSouthRAL hashtag.North-and-South-Read-Along-600x408

1. Is this your first time reading this? If so, what do you think so far? If not, are you liking this reread so far? 

This is my first time reading it! It is better than I expected, actually. I wasn’t sure how entertaining it would be. Sometimes older books are hard to relate to or move too slow. BUT, it’s not that way. The plot moves at a nice pace and the themes seem to be relevant. Plus, the descriptions and history of the era intrigue me.

2. Have you seen the BBC mini-series? Is the book anything like you expected it to be?\

Yes, I have seen it once! So far, the series did stay very close to the book. And, like it was mentioned on Twitter, the casting of all of the characters in the miniseries was very well done.

3. Why do you think Margaret refused Henry? He seems like such a nice chap?

I think she refused him because she didn’t love him. (Perhaps another Pride & Prejudice nod, @moonlight_reads?)

4. What are your first impressions of Mr. Thornton?

Hmmm. With a mental picture of Richard Armitage, it’s hard not to focus on his looks, as Gaskell explains early on 🙂 With that said, he first became an acquaintance of Mr. Hale through whom he connected with a house to rent, etc. So maybe as a considerate person and friend to the Hales? After learning more about his character, it’s clear he deeply cares for the happiness of his mother and sister, Fanny. And he is fair in business.

5. Why is Margaret so indifferent to Mr. Thornton, but she can make friends with the Higgins? They are both northern people and have different customs.

I think Margaret has stereotyped Mr. Thornton as a proud “tradesman”, though she is unaware of the full extent of her feelings. The Higgins family is more comfortable to her. She has called upon “the poor” in the past to aid them, so the Higginses are a new outlet for this habit.

6. Compare the two moms we’ve seen in the story.

They are soooo different! Mrs. Hale is frail, sickly, and annoying in the fact that she pays Margaret little attention. And when she does, it is completely for her benefit to make her tea or sooth her. Mrs. Hale is decidedly selfish.

Mrs. Thornton, on the other hand, is confident and very involved in the day to day life of her son. She comes across as a little stiff and snobby, but I think that is just a crusty outer layer. In chapter 12, we see that she just has a different way of communicating her feelings.

7. What differences are you seeing so far between the north and the south?

Aside from the country/city differences, I think the larger scope of classes living in the north is significant. It allows for more complicated relationships between people (masters/workers, Hales/Thorntons, Margaret/Higgins’).

8. Do you think Mr. Hale was justified in leaving the church and his position?
I do think so. I admire him for standing up for his faith.

9. What are your feelings on Frederick’s situation?

If only I could remember how that comes into play later in the story……

But, it is unfortunate. It’s so sad that they couldn’t really communicate with him.

10. What are your thoughts on the master and worker relationship?

It’s a very interesting situation. One that is definitely relevant today. I can see both sides of the situation, though I do think the masters are more aware of the markets and how all that works. At least Mr. Thornton is known to be fair to his workers 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings about North and South! Have you read anything by Elizabeth Gaskell? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Happy Sunday!