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Goodly Creatures: A Pride and Prejudice Deviation Paperback – March 1, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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About the Author

Beth Massey lives in Chicago with her husband of forty plus years. Her first love as child in Chattanooga, Tennessee was the theatre. She spent her youth preparing for a creative life on the stage. A voracious reader, she devoured plays and novels with an eye toward imagining how she would play certain characters. Beth joined the Chattanooga Little Theatre’s youth troupe at age eight. She was awarded a work study scholarship to Monticello College in Godfrey, Illinois in the theatre department. While there, she played numerous roles—from Shaw to Shakespeare. After transferring to Barnard College in New York City as a junior in 1967, she switched her major to literature. But, ‘the times they were a changing.’ She threw herself into the struggle against war, racism and the emerging women’s liberation movement that had broken out all over the United States. One of her first acts of expressing her convictions was to participate in the Columbia University student strike in the spring of 1968. It was during this time, she met her husband Bill. Together the two—first as friends and then as partners—have devoted their lives to political activism. Beth spent her working hours as a payroll manager. In 2008, her job of seventeen years was outsourced. Given a compensation package that allowed her to stay home with an already retired Bill, she embraced the opportunity that working ‘9 to 5’ had made a challenge for most of the years of their marriage. Though Bill’s ability to be active has been curtailed by AMD, COPD and a debilitating essential tremor, his wit and knowledge are as sharp as ever. Ms Massey now spends her days in the company of her well-informed best friend and the two are free to engage in a great deal of conversation. Jane Austen would approve. Beth may have left a life in the theatre behind, but the desire for a creative outlet and a need to sketch the human character is still fervent. Goodly Creatures is the first endeavor of her new found leisure time.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 636 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1470045346
  • ISBN-13: 978-1470045340
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,443,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Yes, another positive review from me - everyone is going to think I am softening in my old age. Actually, I did read one that was complete crap recently, but I'm getting tired of having to defend my negative reviews (I much prefer defending my positive ones) and clearly the author has dear friends who would certainly castigate me should I go against all of those 5 stars.

To begin, I like to support new writers, so I am willing to overlook the odd grammatical/spelling/punctuation error that would be caught by an editor, so long as it doesn't distract from the story. Yes, this one did have a few minor errors, but unlike the majority of self-published authors, she had actually read it before publishing.

Secondly, this author does not do the horrid "head hopping." Yes, we are given multiple points of view, but they are divided into sections. Well done there.

I have seen the other reviews that complained about the use of P&P characters, either that they were used in this traumatic storyline or they were not at all like Darcy and Elizabeth. Although I do not post reviews for them all, I do read most P&P variations, and this is often a problem. Well, it is true here as well - but wait!

From almost the very beginning, I had to throw P&P out the window. Other than names, this book and its characters have nothing to do with it really at all; HOWEVER, I was pulled in by about 4% into it.

Since reading "The Journey," which I enjoyed a great deal, I have come to realize that our beloved Jane Austen has inspired some authors to write really good books, and I don't know if it is devotion to Austen that makes them call their characters Elizabeth and Darcy or it's the only way they think they can sell them.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
First of all, I NEVER give five stars. The only books that get five stars have to be generation spanning, personally and socially moving epics of the first order. Every other book I feel is excellent just gets four stars.

Yes, this book is that good. To read it as merely 'fan fiction' is to do it a massive disservice.

Using our favorite P&P characters as basic sketches, the author develops them as characters who are fully her own. She then uses them to weave this amazing tapestry of love, tragedy, courage, forgiveness, evil, healing and redemption (with a dash of the politics of revolution).

I should warn you that this is often a tough read. It begins with a terrible, violent act of hate. This act spawns much hardship, indignity, fear and pain. As the story develops there are many moments of confusion and misunderstanding as to where the guilt for this act rests. As with many P&P variations, these misunderstanding are what keeps our two lovers apart. Unlike these other stories, you don't find yourself yelling at the characters to just get over their vain stupidity and get us to our happy ending. Instead, these misunderstandings make you weep for the pain these characters feel, and weep more over the huge obstacles they must overcome. And my tears really did fall.

But you must persevere through the tragedies to truly feel the joys and moments of relief that are found along the way. As I approached each of these moments, I wept again.

I should also tell you, I'm not really a crier. I don't 'get misty' over movies, and I don't believe I have ever cried while reading a book (not ever Old Yeller). Actually, I have always considered an author's ability to make me laugh out loud as a great indication of book enjoyment and quality.
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Okay, finished this book today and it was a LONG book. Maybe too long for the topics discussed. First of all, being a long-time "variation" reader, not one of them started with the premise that Darcy was married to his cousin Anne. I found this off-putting at the very beginning. Anne has always been such a "nobody" in most of these books, including the original, I did NOT like the way she was portrayed in this book.

The sexual assault of Lizzie I felt was accurately described, but without being explicit or graphic. Never having been violated like this, I can only think the author followed through with Lizzie's response, her depression, sadness, feelings of no self-worth, etc. very well. The scenes with Darcy, however, I feel missed the mark. I'm sure a woman probably would not enter a loving relationship right after she was raped; but there was absolutely no warmth between Lizzie and Darcy at all, until the very end. It is not as if Darcy was the one who raped her. I am so used to reading and experiencing the passion between Darcy and Lizzie, even unspoken, that these scenes (which happened more often in the latter part of the book) really left me with all the coldness and distance there was between the two.

Having said all this, however, I did like the book. It did send out a social message that was definitely anti-rape and anti-pedophilia. Perhaps it will help bring about a better awareness of the psychological after-effects of these two horrible crimes. As a feminist of some long duration, I have to admire the effort of this author in doing that.
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