Historicals in 2020

I randomly discovered my next book appearing in this article (linked below) today. Am I the only one who didn’t know they did a remake of West Side Story?

This is the first time I’ve been in a promotional piece where The Landowner’s Secret wasn’t the book featured. I feel a little sad that it’s time to move on to the next one!

The Artist's Secret (Brindabella Secrets #2) by Sonya Heaney

Love all things Historical? Here are the historical movies, TV shows and books we’re most looking forward to in 2020.

Virgin River Episodes 1-3

Virgin River Robyn Carr Books Netflix Adaptation

All right, I have to say this first because I’m seeing a lot of people talking nonsense online: Virgin River is based on a book series that began well over a decade ago. It is NOT a copy of Hart of Dixie.

Now I’ve said that, I shall move on to my review!

The most important question: do I like the Netflix adaptation of Virgin River? YES! I like it much more than I expected to, have laughed out loud several times, and will continue to watch the rest of the season.

Is it perfect? Nup and nope, but overall I think they’ve done a good job.

The Great:

Alexandra Breckenridge as Melinda Monroe Virgin River Robyn Carr

Alexandra Breckenridge as Melinda Monroe

When I saw the first picture from the set (on Instagram, below) I knew they’d cast a good Mel. What I didn’t know was that they’d cast an outstanding Mel.

20190918_100520

If you were to ask me who my most hated book character of all time is, I’d say Mel without hesitation. That Breckenridge has made her into a wonderful, rounded character I love is a pretty huge achievement.

The medical stuff is under control.

The thing I always found off-putting in the books was the obsession with detailed medical procedures. It squicked me out and I thought a lot of it was totally unnecessary. It’s so much better in the show – and in the background, where it belongs.

It also means “annoying, bossy Mel” has been toned down. She doesn’t get as many scenes to lecture everyone in.

Daniel Gillies as Mark

daniel-gillies-as-mark-virgin-river-robyn-carr

I want to marry this character. He doesn’t appear on the page in the series, but I’m very glad to meet him here.

Annette O’Toole as Hope McCrea

Yes, her character is nothing like the woman in the books, but I’m loving this version of Hope. She’s hilarious and I don’t mind that they’ve enormously expended her part.

The Good:

Tim Matheson as Doc

I’m liking him more and more as the series goes on.

The Not-So-Good:

Martin Henderson as Jack Sheridan

virgin-river-tv-series Book

I had my doubts when I saw the picture on Instagram, and I’ve been proven right. It doesn’t help that Daniel Gillies is so good in his role (we’re not meant to love Mark more than Jack!). Many a person stuck with the book series specifically because of Jack’s character, and so he was going to have to be outstanding.

So far he’s someone I’d have a chat with, not marry. And – sorry – but his character is supposed to be around my age, and this version of Jack looks old enough to be my father.

Also, the little addiction side story they’ve thrown in is totally unnecessary.

Character heights and sizes.

SO MUCH is made of these huge, tough Marine Corps guys in the books. I know Hollywood is populated with men who are smaller than they look on the screen, but when Mel and Jack and Preacher are all a similar size? Doesn’t work.

The Bad:

The changes made to Preacher and Paige.

Paige Chris Preacher Virgin River

Now, I’m not blaming the actors here. They’re both doing an outstanding job with what was written for them. The problem is that these characters bear no resemblance whatsoever to their book characters, and their storyline is unrecognisable.

It was a clever move to make Preacher a POC, and if you take a look at the books they never actually say he’s white. I’ve commented many times in the past that author Robyn Carr has both a problem writing diversity, and is sometimes outright racist.

My issue with Preacher: where’s our shy, gentle giant gone? Why is the man of few words relentlessly lecturing Jack about his personal life? What on earth is going on … ?

As for Paige: book Paige runs away to Virgin River with her son, and I can understand that the scriptwriters thought this made her story too similar to Mel’s. I would have been fine with her already living in the town (as she does in the show). What I’m not okay with is her running a flipping bakery truck. In a tiny town where it’s snowy and cold.

Surely the writers could have come up with something better than that, because I honestly think it’s incredibly stupid …

And, so …

Books and shows are different beasts, and while a good book can’t be episodic, TV practically demands it. Cliffhangers have to be thrown in, and so I can forgive quite a few of the changes. (My scriptwriting tutor from university would be overjoyed to hear me say this!)

Overall I’m pretty fine with how the show is going, even if Jack’s not my guy and even though Preacher and Paige are suffering from some serious character assassination. Mel, Hope and Doc make up for it.

Despite my issues I’d recommend Virgin River to anyone who wants a bit of a laugh to go with their drama.

The Week: 2nd – 8th December

It’s nearly Christmas, and I really think I need another month to get organised! The fires here have got worse and worse. The fire has burnt all the way to the sea, and there’s really hot weather on the way in the coming days.

After the strife superstar author Christine Feehan got in, first for filing to trademark common words, and then for defending her actions, she seems to have pulled the application. However, it seems everyone writing vampire fiction could do with reading this:

Hey, Christine Feehan! You don’t own the Carpathians!

Huculy_1933,_Verkhovyna_district Hutsuls Ukrainian Carpathian Mountains

And this Tweet pretty much sums up the situation:

KJ Charles Twitter Christine Feehan Trademark Carpathian

Virgin River Premiere!

Virgin River TV Series

My review of Someone to Honour (Westcott family #6) by Mary Balogh

Someone to Honour Someone to Honor (Westcott #6) by Mary Balogh

Premiere Date for Virgin River

Virgin River TV Series

The premiere of the Netflix adaptation of Robyn Carr’s Virgin River books is the 6th of December.

I’m sorry, but even though I think the Mel actress looks great, every time I see this guy as Jack I think he looks worse (and worse and worse). So much for Mr Crew Cut Marine! On the other hand, I do really like the actor in other things, so I’ll reserve judgement until I actually see him acting the part. My biggest casting surprise ever was with someone I thought was HORRIBLE for a role, and then I loved them when I saw them perform onstage.

There have been some major changes to other characters from the books. I anticipated a lot of the alterations (e.g. some much-needed diversity, though I never thought they’d age Paige and Preacher by 15-20 years!). We’ll see how ardent fans react …

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Melbourne Production

After a few weeks of previews, the red carpet was rolled out in Melbourne over the weekend for the Australian premiere of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which focuses on Harry, Ginny, Ron and Heroine as adults. It’s receiving rave reviews.

Terrifying, mesmerising, magical: Harry Potter lives up to the hype

I’ve been following the show’s development for months, because two of its stars are childhood friends from Canberra.

The Potters Harry (Gareth Reeves), Ginny (Lucy Goleby of Canberra) and Albus (Sean Rees-Wemyss). Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Melbourne Production

The Potters

Lucy Goleby, who plays Ginny, was a close friend of my brother’s growing up, and her older sister was one of my best friends in primary school. And “Hagrid” – Soren Jensen – was in my class at school from when I was twelve onwards (and his younger brother was in the same class as my brother). What a funny little world we live in!

We’re all a bit too old to say we grew up with Harry Potter; I was about to graduate from high school when the first book came out, and back then the series was very squarely aimed at young kids.

The show was first staged in the West End in London in 2016, and then moved to Broadway last year, and has won a mountain of Olivier and Tony Awards.

Persuasion 1995 – Recently I Learnt…

…That when the 1995 movie adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion was released on video in the United States, Columbia Tristar decided it wasn’t sexy enough.

And so they replaced the actors on the poster/cover with this:

Columbia Tristar Persuasion 1995

It’s especially appalling as many consider Persuasion 1995 to be the best Jane Austen adaptation. With a cast of renowned theatre actors, it is nothing like that image implies.

For comparison, here is the real leading couple in the movie. (Seriously, that wasn’t sexy enough? This is Jane Austen, not Fabio!). I’m not sure if it still is, but the entire movie used to be available to watch on YouTube.

Persuasion 1995 Jane Austen