Excerpt: Finding Colin Firth by Mia March

finding colin firthGuest blog by Mia March, author of Finding Colin Firth

Book Blurb:

After losing her job and leaving her beloved husband, journalist Gemma Hendricks is sure that scoring an interview with Colin Firth will save her career and marriage. Yet a heart-tugging local story about women, family ties, love, and loss captures her heart— and changes everything. The story concerns Bea Crane, a floundering twenty-two-year-old who learns in a deathbed confession letter that she was adopted at birth. Bea is in Boothbay Harbor to surreptitiously observe her biological mother, Veronica Russo—something of a legend in town—who Bea might not be ready to meet after all. Veronica, a thirty-eight-year-old diner waitress famous for her “healing” pies, has come home to Maine to face her past. But when she’s hired as an extra on the bustling movie set, she wonders if she is hiding from the truth . . . and perhaps the opportunity of a real-life Mr. Darcy.

These three women will discover more than they ever imagined in this coastal Maine town, buzzing with hopes of Colin Firth. Even the conjecture of his arrival inspires daydreams, amplifies complicated lives, and gives incentive to find their own romantic endings.

Buy: Finding Colin Firth

Excerpt:

Only an idiot would attempt to make a pie—a special-ordered chocolate caramel cream Amore Pie—while watching Pride and Prejudice. Had she put in the vanilla? What about the salt?

Damn Colin Firth and his pond-soaked white shirt. Veronica set down her measuring spoons on the flour-dusted counter and gave her full attention to the small TV next to the coffeemaker.

God, she loved Colin Firth. Not just because he was so handsome either. This TV miniseries was at least fifteen years old, and Colin Firth had to be fifty now. He was still gorgeous. But it was more than that. Colin Firth was six feet two inches of hope. To Veronica, he represented what she’d been looking for her entire life and had never found and probably never would, at this point. Veronica was thirty-eight years old. Still not married.

If you wanted love, really wanted love, you’d have it, friends, even boyfriends, had said many times over the years. There’s something wrong with you, her last beau had said before he’d stormed out on her for not agreeing to marry him. Something wrong with the way your heart works.

Maybe there was. No, Veronica knew it was true. And she knew why too. But now, at thirty-eight, friends were worrying about her ending up all alone, so she’d started saying what felt lighthearted but true at the same time, that she was holding out for a man who felt like Colin Firth to her. Her friend Shelley from the diner had known exactly what she meant. “I realize he’s an actor playing roles, but I get it,” Shelley had said. “Honest. Full of integrity. Conviction. Brimming with intelligence. Loyal. You just believe everything he says with that British accent of his—and can trust it.”

All that and yes, he was so damned handsome that Veronica had lost track of her own Amore Pie, a pie she could make in her sleep. Her special elixir pies were in high demand ever since she’d been back in Boothbay Harbor—just over a year now. She’d grown up in Boothbay, but had bought a house in a different neighborhood than the one she’d lived in with her parents. It had been love at first sight for the lemon-yellow bungalow on Sea Road, and the day she’d moved in, while hanging the wooden blinds on her sliding glass door to her deck, she’d heard someone crying. She’d peered her head out the door to see her neighbor sitting on her back porch, wearing only a black negligee

and black leather stilettos. Veronica had gone over and asked if she could help, and the woman blurted out that her marriage was over. Veronica had sat down, and within moments her neighbor, whose name was Frieda, shared the whole story, how she’d tried to entice her husband, who barely looked at her these days, home for lunch with exactly what she was going to do to him. But he’d said he’d brought last night’s leftovers and would just have that.

“He’d rather have a cold meat loaf sandwich than me?” Frieda had cried to Veronica. “For months, I’ve been trying to entice him back to me, and nothing works.” She broke down in a fresh round of tears.

Veronica had told Frieda that she was a baker and would make her a special pie to serve her husband for dessert that night. When she gave him his slice, she was to think about how much she loved him, wanted him. And just for good measure, she could run her hands up the back of his neck.

Well, that night, Frederick Mulverson had said he didn’t know what came over him, but he was back. Frieda had Veronica’s Amore Pie on standing order every Friday. One word to her friends and relatives, and Veronica’s phone had started ringing with orders, just as it had in New Mexico. Amore Pies were her most requested.

She made upwards of twenty special pies a week. Plus two a day for the Best Little Diner in Boothbay, where she worked as a waitress. And nine pies a week for three local inns. But those— for the diner and the inns—were just her Happiness Pies, pies that tasted like summer vacation. She saved her special elixir pies for her clients around town, everything from Feel Better Pie, which came in all kinds of dietetic-friendly varieties, such as gluten free, dairy free, and even sugar free, to Confidence Pie, which involved Key limes.

What she couldn’t seem to do was make a Colin Firth Pie for herself. She’d made Amore Pies for hundreds of clients that seemed to attract love to them. Sure, maybe it was mostly power of thought, but so what, since it worked. You get what you believe is what Veronica’s grandmother used to say. At the thought of dear Renata Russo, who’d died just months before all the trouble had started when Veronica was sixteen, Veronica closed her eyes. She let herself remember what it was like when she’d had a family, when Veronica, her parents, and her grandmother would sit around the table in the house Veronica grew up in—just several miles away from here—and have big Italian dinners. Meatballs and so much linguini in her grandmother’s homemade tomato sauce that it seemed to come from bottomless pots.

She missed those days, days that had ended on an April morning when Veronica was sixteen and blurted out over a pancake breakfast that she was pregnant. One minute, she’d had a family—minus her beloved grandmother. The next, Veronica had been sent away.

Why are you upsetting yourself by thinking about all that? she asked herself as she turned her attention back to the TV and the Bennet sisters, Elizabeth and Jane, conspiring in their lovely white dresses about their love lives. But since she’d moved back to Boothbay Harbor, her past was all she could think about. It was why she’d come home, for heaven’s sake. To face it. To stop . . . running.

Buy: Finding Colin Firth

Movie Review: North & South (2004 version) Starring Daniela Denby-Ashe and Richard Armitage

Have you worn out your copy of Pride and Prejudice? Are Colin Firth and Matthew MacFayden in need of a little healthy competition? Richard Armitage is just the man to sooth your hunger for another hunk of delicious brooding male. You will melt. Mr. John Thornton is a new Darcyesque figure to fall in love with over and over again.

Richard Armitage is not only singularly fine; he’s also a terrific actor. When he proposes, you’ll die. Loved Mr. Darcy’s fumbling attempts at wooing Elizabeth Bennet? You’re going to enjoy watching Mr. Thornton try to win over the forthright Miss Margaret Hale. Daniela Denby-Ashe does a beautiful job portraying the vicar’s headstrong opinionated daughter.

The story is about a retired vicar and his family moving to the North to Milton, a fairly large factory town. Here they confront illiteracy, poverty, ignorance, and social mores their life in the South leave them unprepared for, especially the mother and daughter. Mr. Hale befriends Mr. Thornton soon after Mr. Thornton makes a singularly bad impression on Miss Margaret Hale. Misunderstandings and stubbornness are rife throughout the miniseries as the protagonists dance around each other trying to understand one another.

If you come into this knowing nothing, you will love it. If you have read the Elizabeth Gaskell novel by the same name, you will love it. Trust me, if you borrow this instead of buying it outright you’re going to be bummed at the thought of returning it. Sandy Welch’s screenplay is phenomenal—four hours of 100% heart-warming goodness can’t be beat. This may just have replaced the BBC Pride and Prejudice miniseries as best BBC miniseries.

Buy: North & South

Rating: ★★★★★

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Movie Review: 2005 Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly, Donald Sutherland, and Matthew Macfadyen

I’m pretty certain a select group of individuals will think what I’m about to say is sacrilegious. I think that the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly, Donald Sutherland, and Matthew Macfadyen is the best version of this Jane Austen classic made to date. Sorry – sorry! I know the die hard A&E fans loved Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth, but I’m going to stick with what I said. The main reason I love the 2005 Pride and Prejudice is pretty simple… better acting! Especially in the way Elizabeth Bennet and the mother are played.

Keira Knightly plays Miss Elizabeth Bennet to a tee. You could not ask for a better actress in this part. Opposed to Ehle who was over the top and rude, Knightly stayed just shy of too much is too much. Knightly plays Elizabeth with sass, a sprinkling of saucy wit, humor, intelligence, and grace. Her remarks are sharp and cutting without getting annoying (think Ehle as nails on a chalkboard grating). Whereas Knightly plays Elizabeth as able to fun herself and others, Ehle played Elizabeth haughty, arrogant, and more than a touch above her company. It is my opinion that Knightly played Elizabeth without overdoing it.

I choose Matthew Macfadyen as the better Mr. Darcy simply on the fact that I love how he says his lines, the emotion in his face, and that he’s my kind of drop dead gorgeous. Firth is quite handsome and plays his part well but saddled with Ehle, it’s no wonder he thought so ill of her at first! Who can withstand the deep-rooted passion that he carries through his tone and posture? I know I can’t! Yowza! You’ll have to tell me who you think is the better Mr. Darcy and why! Let’s start a list going for pros and cons. I’ll even help by giving Colin Firth the pro of the wet white shirt… Grin.

I also find I just enjoy the cast of side characters better in the 2005 version. The mother is by far the best played and I have seen them all – including the Laurence Olivier aka 1940 version of Pride and Prejudice. I can stand Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet even as I hate her (the mother) if that makes sense. Lydia and Kitty and Mary are perfectly well suited. Some will say Mary is too pretty in this version, but I like what the director said about her part. Check out the commentary on this film – I loved it and learned much trivia for future Trivial Pursuit matches.

Mr. Binghley is a delightful boob in this film. He’s so adorable how he stumbles all over himself around Jane Bennet. You’ll love him on sight! He’s eager and open and amiable in all the right ways. He’s just what a young man ought to be! Grin. His sister is perfectly wonderful for her role, again an actress who can play her part without going so far as to gross you out in it.

The scenery alone is enough reason to buy this movie, but think of the many rainy days and cups of tea you will enjoy while falling head over heals in love again and again. What’s your favorite version?

Rating: ★★★★★

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My Top 10 Favorite Romance Movies

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Everyone has movies that they tend to watch over and over and over again. We watch them because they make us happy, because we love the acting and the story. Yesterday I saw for the first time a movie that came out in 2007. It was stunning and has without a moment’s hesitancy, entered my favorites list. That movie was Arranged. Look out for a formal review as I will be writing one.

My Top Ten Favorite Romance Movies

(In order by release date.)

  1. Beauty and the Beast (1991) It’s easy to see that this is most girls’ first introduction into paranormal romance. The Beast and castle are clearly enchanted through magic. The castle itself is very Gothic, and our poor hero is as shaggy as any werewolf, though he certainly cleans up nice!
  2. Walk in the Clouds (1995) This lovely postwar romance follows a young soldier as he attempts to sell chocolates and winds up rescuing a damsel in distress. The grandfather makes this movie and the scene in the vineyard during a frost warning is breathtaking.
  3. Ever After (1998) I am surprised I haven’t worn the finish off this DVD. I used to watch it every day or two many many years ago. Prince Henri is a charming rascal in desperate need of a love match to stop his father’s political matchmaking.
  4. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001) Colin Firth as Marc Darcy. Clearly this is an awesome romance. Very strong language warning, but other than that it’s very delightful. If you haven’t seen it, you’re going to love the fight scene. Sigh!
  5. North and South (2004) Four hours is not nearly enough Mr. Thornton or Richard Armitage. I would like more please. Is there an unedited eight hour version hiding somewhere? No? Drat! I guess I will have to settle for one, “Look back at me!”
  6. Pride and Prejudice (2005) My favorite version of Jane Austen’s classic. I know I said Colin Firth and Marc Darcy and it’s true. Colin is great as Darcy, but this version with Keira and Matthew and Donald really yanks at my heart. The scenery is gorgeous too.
  7. Outsourced (2006) This movie is a call center and technical support romance between one yuppy American male and one spunky Indian female. Culture shock to say the very least and wickedly entertaining.
  8. Arranged (2007) One Orthodox Jewish girl and one Muslim girl are getting matched. They know each other from their teaching positions at the same school and as they go through the process of meeting men under watchful family eyes they become fast friends. Very satisfying ending!
  9. Enchanted (2007) I just love the songs in this film, especially “How does she know that you love her?” Patrick Dempsey is devilishly handsome and a treat to watch as he struggles against falling for a loopy girl who thinks she’s in love with a prince. Amy Adams is perfection.
  10. Lost in Austen (2008) Be honest, who hasn’t wanted Mr. Darcy to herself? One English miss from today’s world manages to get stuck in Jane Austen’s ‘fictional’ Georgian England at the start of the story and the rest as they say is history!

So there’s my list. What movies are on yours?

Photo Credits: http://weheartit.com/

Movie Review: The Importance of Being Earnest starring Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, and Frances O’Connor

The movie is Victorian with over the top contemporary additions. It is clear that Oliver Parker, the writer and director, attempted to dress up Oscar Wilde’s play to make it appeal to younger audiences who watch romantic-comedies.

But the play simply didn’t need it with the casting involved. So the movie winds up being a near-miss due to the additional distractions instead of being a favorite to be rewatched as incessantly as one watches Pride and Prejudice.

Two major problems for me include Gwendolyn getting as ass tattoo then wearing a thong and Lady Bracknell’s scandalous past flashback which makes her a hypocritical ninny.

One can’t forget when Colin Firth and Rupert Everett serenade a love song to the girls either. I can’t decide if I love it or think it’s too cheesy.

Beautiful sets and costumes.

One of the few changes I liked wholeheartedly was the addition of paying an outstanding bill. It added to the confusion of who is Earnest and was pretty funny to watch as Jack Worthing (Firth) and Algernon McNiff (Everett) exchanged slings.

The star studded cast does a fantastic job despite the goofiness in which Parker thrusts upon them. If you’re like me you will watch it for Colin Firth and enjoy the film. Reese Witherspoon (Cecily Cardew) and Frances O’Connor (Gwendolen Fairfax) are frosting on the cake. They are truly delightful to watch.

The Importance of Being Earnest is a fun romp but I expect a better version to be made at a future date.

Rating: 3 Stars

Buy: The Importance of Being Earnest

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