A Few of my Favourite Things…

By MC Dalton

I’ve never been the type of person who could honestly say, I had a ‘favourite’, favourite. What I mean by this is, there are too many things to like to simply only like the one thing – make sense?

Don’t worry if I don’t, I rarely do, hehe.

But, if I were asked about which books and movies have made lasting impressions on me, well then….
Let’s start with Movies.

Gone with the Wind.

Goodness. Nan and I watched this on Christmas eve, somewhere in the eighties, after she’d read the book with me. Gosh I loved the drama, the music, the grandeur and the romance! I cried for days after too. I was so angry at Scarlett, (Portrayed by the ever-stunning Vivien Leigh). What a silly woman pining after such a weak man as Ashley, (Leslie Howard), when she had Rhett (Clark Gable)?!

Lady Jane (Helen Bonham Carter). Gosh, I really was drawn to the tragic and dramatic love stories in my youth. I guess this lay much of the foundation for my writing today, except that mine always end ‘Happily Ever After’, Dammit!

Anna Karenina, was my next great movie love. Again, shared with Nan and a box of Quality Street chocolates. What a tragedy, what absolute heartbreak.

Ah, then my mood lightened…

Meet Joe Black, with the human God Brad Pitt and the King of acting Sir Anthony Hopkins. If there is a single thing which I find compelling in acting whether it be a movie, ballet, opera or play, it is the actors’ facial expressions. Brad Pitt had me at hello! The teaspoon of peanut butter – well that simply had me melting in my undies. (Naughty giggle).

In all honesty, I could ramble on for days about movies I love, but I’ll stop at four. Ooooh oooh no wait, there are two more you simply have to watch.

One, I do believe causes a divide in many authors and true historians and lovers of Jane Austen. I have found that I have chosen the not so popular side – always do though.

Pride and Prejudice, starring Kiera Knightley and Mathew Macfadyen. Again, this version brought what was a difficult read to my dyslexic brain, to life. I saw the love in his eyes, I saw her hurt and indecision. I battled to connect to the version with Collin Firth and Jenifer Ehle. But, that doesn’t mean it’s bad, it’s just my perspective. Also, the mini-series was more historically accurate and the movie more Hollywood.

And the very last one…

‘They seek him here, they seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere
Is he in heaven or is he in hell?
That demned elusive Pimpernel’

The Scarlett Pimpernel. Here though I first read the book, (will discuss it later). Then I watched the 1982 move with the always lovely Jane Seymour and the dashing, Anthony Andrews. While the movie somewhat deviated from the book, Anthony’s portrayal of the Foppish Sir Percy who was absolutely smitten with his Marguerite, stole my heart at once! The 1934 version, although truer to the book, did not have me quite as enthralled as the latter version. Even if it did sport ‘Gone with the wind’ Leslie Howard.

Books…

Again, no ‘favourite’, favourites, only those I will forever treasure in my heart.

The Far Away Tree – Enid Blyton. Man, if ever I loved magic, the eccentric, and absolute adventure, it would be this awesome tree. Mr. Potts, the Washer Woman, Moonface oh sweet, sweet, Moonface – loved him so much! This book was my go to, when the world became dark and frightening.

Then of course, thanks to Nan, I battled my way through Anna Karenina, my first Tolstoy. Gone with the Wind, Romeo and Juliet, my introduction to Shakespeare, all of which finally made sense when delivered to my dyslexic brain via wonderful movies. But they impacted me none the less.

Danielle Steel was great during my teens, and then there was a huge gap. Only nursing material passed before my eyes, and in my late twenties, how to raise triplets.

I am not afraid to admit that I read, Fifty Shades of Grey – twice! I don’t care what most think of the story, or that it is ‘badly written’, or the controversial sex scenes and wot not. I saw what few chose not to see – the actual story. The love story of today. Yes, so the main character is a billionaire, but he is damaged. Fine, so the heroine is a little odd at first, almost weak, but good grief people, she decided to stay, to commit, to show him the way – now if that ain’t love, and romance, then hell, I don’t know! And yes, it added spice to my marriage too. And just so you know, it was after I read this trilogy I decided to write seriously.

I wanted to write better, stronger, sweeter romances, and I have!

Outlander! I started watching the series before I read it. But after reading that first page, I was a gonner. Who doesn’t love a gigantic, braw Scotsman in a kilt? While the author, Diana Gabaldon, never intended to write a romance, all I saw was, romance. In the book, that scene where Jamie held Claire to him while on horseback… I knew it was a winner. So many diverse characters, twists, turns and history. Loved it!

I suppose I should begin to cut this short.

The other books, I have loved are:

The Scarlett Pimpernel, Baroness Orczy (And yes Melanie Page I agree. The most romantic, when he kisses the path she walked up the stairs, aaaah swoon!)

Daughter of the Forrest (the series), Juliet Marillier (In fact I love all of her books).

According to yes, Dawn French.

Dark Heart, Ellen Elizabeth Carter.

Lady Beauchamp’s Proposal, Amy R. Bennett.

Frankenstein, Mary Shelly.

Dracula, Bram Stoker.

And……….

Game of Thrones!!!!!! (The books. I got upset when the TV series deviated too far from the books).

Well that’s all folks. Like chocolate and wine, I love too many flavours to mention. But, I reckon this should keep you busy for a while yet.

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