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Tough love

Jane Austen story hits big screen 

We meet characters we love and those we can't stand

 

IT is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of the greatest writers in English literature.
Fans of her work, therefore, will need little persuasion to catch the latest dramatisation of her novella, Lady Susan. Based on one of her lesserknown works, the film Love and Friendship was released in cinemas yesterday (Friday 27 May).
The story concerns the beautiful young widow, Lady Susan Vernon (Kate Beckinsale) who turns up at the estate of her  in-laws to wait out colourful rumours about her dalliances with men which are circulating through polite society. While she is there, she sets about securing a husband for her daughter, Frederica (Morfydd Clark), and also for herself. It shouldn’t be too difficult, as Lady Susan is known as a ‘most accomplished flirt’.
While Lady Susan is revelling in the attentions of the handsome Reginald DeCourcy (Xavier Samuel), she is also busy trying to arrange a match between Sir James Martin (Tom Bennett) and her daughter. Despite the fact that he’s a ridiculous man and totally unsuitable for Frederica, Lady Susan tells her to focus on one big positive – he’s rich. Frederica remains reluctant. She just doesn’t love him. Meanwhile, Reginald’s family are concerned about his blossoming feelings for Lady Susan. They don’t trust her. They think she’s trouble. Reginald’s father warns him to
stay away from her for his own good.

Suddenly, Lady Susan’s plan to secure a couple of marriages – which seemed so easy – turns out to be a lot more difficult than she expected. People make decisions which scupper her plans.
Unfavourable rumours spread. Frederica simply doesn’t feel the love that her mother wants her to. If only everything could go smoothly! Life rarely does. Whatever our personal story, we all experience twists and turns along the way. We meet characters we love and those we can’t stand. Unexpected circumstances crop up for us which mean we have to rethink our future. We face times of sadness when we have to close certain chapters of our lives in order to start new ones.

When we feel we have little control over what is happening to us, we can take comfort from the fact that someone else does. God knows what he is doing. In the Bible, God told Jeremiah that he had a plan for him – but he needed to trust in him in order to be able to follow it.
He said: ‘For I know the plans I have for you … plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart’ (Jeremiah 29:11–13 New International Version).
The same applies to us. God sees our potential and wants to help us reach it. He knows what – with his guidance – we can do and become. He longs to direct our steps because he wants what’s best for us.
But we can’t be the kind of people that God wants us to be unless we hand over our life to him. We need to invite him into our heart, say sorry for the times we have followed our own way instead of his, and have faith in him for the future.
When we turn to him, his love and friendship are always available.

The War Cry 28 May 2016

Library picture

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