Monday, March 31, 2014

March Tea and a TV show (or two)

March has come and nearly gone, and what with revision, travel, and friends coming to town, I haven't had much time to read, much less blog. So this very late edition of Tea and a Book will have a slightly different focus.

This past Friday, my dear friend Michelle and I capped off her visit with afternoon tea at the Adolphus Hotel in Dallas. The setting was elegant, the food delicious, and the company divine! (Click photos to enlarge)

You can see the actual menu here. Michelle and I both appreciated how the Adolphus emphasized quality over quantity, and how we were allowed to enjoy the experience in a leisurely fashion while still receiving the appropriate amount of attention from the unobtrusive staff. A skilled pianist played familiar classical tunes. Nearby a mother treated her two adorable daughters to a birthday tea. At other tables friends chatted and laughed. It was such a pleasant environment--highly recommended. (Apparently the Adolphus does brisk business at Christmas. Bookings open October 1st and fill fast.)

And now to the TV portion of this blog post . . .

During her visit Michelle introduced me to Hallmark Channel's When Calls the Heart. Many of you know that I'm a total sucker for Hallmark Christmas movies, so when Michelle first mentioned this show I knew I'd be interested, particularly because it's a historical featuring a refined young woman who takes a teaching job in a western mining town. This show was like a soothing hug, especially after all the dark stuff I've been watching lately. (True Detective, Walking Dead, etc.) I loved the strong female characters, the gentle romance, the family themes, and the fact that I could watch the show with no worries that a beloved character would suffer a violent death. (We had a special When Calls the Heart tea while viewing, and of course I used my new red teapot in honor of Mountie Jack.)

Michelle and I also watched Death Comes to Pemberley during her visit. (And I watched a second time with Steve over the weekend.) I read the book as soon as it came out and . . . I actually found it a bit tedious. The mystery was interesting enough, and P.D. James stayed true to Jane Austen's characters, but there was way too much telling and overall I found it hard slog to finish. This BBC adaptation (which comes to PBS in November) breathed new life into the story with its stellar cast and lovely production values. Matthew Rhys was nearly perfect as Darcy, and even though Anna Maxwell Martin (whom I adore) wasn't exactly how I see Lizzie Bennet, she played the part very sympathetically. Jenna Coleman (Doctor Who companion Clara) was excellent as Lydia, but for me the true standout was Matthew Goode. Until now, I've never seen a convincingly dashing Wickham. Goode is physically striking and certainly plays up the selfish and rakish aspects of "wicked Wickham," but he also has quiet moments of sensitivity and vulnerability. He's not a good man, but in this production I certainly see how a woman like Elizabeth Bennet might have found him greatly appealing, at least for a time.

Now back to revisions AND a three-day school visit. I wish you all a wonderful week!

[Cross-posted at Livejournal]


  1. Sounds like a productive, enjoyable visit! Any chance of moving that Adolphus a little closer to home??

    1. I know! I wish the Skirvin did a fancy afternoon tea. We could change things up at Christmas time.

    2. That's a fabulous idea. The Skirvin would be a lovely setting for afternoon tea.

  2. I intended to watch that Hallmark show when you first mentioned it and then forgot. Thanks for reminding me. And concerning those treats from the Adolphus, I'm afraid I would have wanted quality AND quantity! Glad you and Michelle had a wonderful visit.

    1. The treats were so rich that if we'd had more, we probably would have exploded all over their lovely atrium. Now that's an nice image, ha ha!

      There's a movie for When Calls the Heart, but Michelle recommended the series as being better. Maybe the Hallmark Channel will repeat it at some point? She also recommended the movie Remember Sunday, which re-airs later in April.

  3. This is such a heartwarming, happy post for me. The tea looks pretty enough for Pemberley. :)

    I loved Janette Oke's books when I was growing up. You called it a "gentle romance" and that's what she does so well. I MUST see this series and movie.

    I'm usually happy with the work of Matthew Rhys (currently obsessed with The Americans), and I can see him as Darcy. I would not have thought I'd want to watch this movie, but I'll have to check it out.