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Showing posts by: Rachel Hyland click to see Rachel Hyland's profile
Aug 1 2014 8:30am

Romance’s Most Hated: In Defense of Outlander’s Laoghaire

Nell Hudson as Laoghire in OutlanderPoor Laoghaire.

Yes, you read that right. Oh, I am not about to suggest that she is a paragon of all the virtues—or, indeed, any. But I have always felt mighty sorry for the poor wee lass, and now even more so, since she (like Tara Thornton, Lori Grimes and Sansa Stark before her) is about to be hated by whole new multitudes, courtesy of the forthcoming Outlander TV adaptation.

For those who have read Diana Gabaldon’s epic historical time travel romance series, Laoghaire is often ranked second only to the ruthless, power-hungry sociopath that is Black Jack Randall in general and abiding villainy. But I beg leave to offer a dissenting view. A view that takes into account her tender years, the times in which she lived, her father’s brutality, her station in life and, above all, the bitter pangs of love unrequited.

First, a little background. When Laoghaire MacKenzie is but sixteen years of age, she is accused by her father of “loose behaviour; consorting improperly wi’ young men against his orders.” As a result of this (unproven, but who cares, even if it was?) charge, she—a member of Clan MacKenzie, and therefore under the stringent command of a Laird who has not the slightest problem with the public beating of women—is sentenced to be whipped at the hand of the clan’s massive, terrifying enforcer, right in front of everyone.

[Terrifying to us and we were just reading it!]

Jul 29 2014 10:04am

Cedar Cove Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: Baby Daddy

Maryellen and Grace in Cedar Cove 2x02Cedar Cove, the Hallmark Channel television series based on Debbie Macomber's romance novel series of the same name and starring Andie MacDowell, is back for Season 2 and H&H is all over it! Stay tuned for weekly recaps of this year's small-town shenanigans, and if you're just catching up, be sure to go back and read Rachel Hyland's Season 1 posts.

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Cedar Cove, including Saturday night’s 2x02, “Letting Go: Part 2.”

Who knew Cedar Cove had the power to surprise me? Oh, not in terms of plot twists or anything—I have read the Debbie Macomber books on which the show is based, and while their fairly forgettable details may not exactly stand out in my mind, I well recall the general gist, the vibe of each novel’s relationship rollercoaster(s). And even where the books and series diverge, well, it’s hardly The Sixth Sense. But the fact that this episode provided some of the most romantic and exhilarating moments the show has ever given us courtesy of, of all people, John Bowman (Charlie Carrick) and Maryellen (Elyse Levesque)... well, I never would have believed it possible.

Let us see how that happened, shall we? One couple at a time...


Cedar Cove royalty Jack (Dylan Neal) and Olivia (Andie McDowell) continue to wrangle with Jack’s sulky son Eric (Tom Stevens) and his recalcitrant inamorata this week as an emotional Shelly (Hayley Sayles) still lies abed at the (surprisingly state-of-the-art) local hospital on the very verge of a) having a baby and b) giving up said baby for adoption, to the never-ending whining protest of Eric.

[Quit yer cryin', dude...]

Jul 21 2014 9:02am

Cedar Cove Season 2, Episode 1 Recap: The More Things Change...

Cedar Cove Season 2 posterCedar Cove, the Hallmark Channel television series based on Debbie Macomber's romance novel series of the same name and starring Andie MacDowell, is back for Season 2 and H&H is all over it! Stay tuned for weekly recaps of this year's small-town shenanigans, and if you're just catching up, be sure to go back and read Rachel Hyland's Season 1 posts.

This post contains SPOILERS for all aired episodes of Cedar Cove, including Saturday night’s 2x01, “Letting Go: Part 1.”

Welcome, friends, back to Cedar Cove, Washingon, where the living is easy and the focus is soft upon mature beauties Olivia (Andie MacDowell) and Grace (Teryl Rothery) being expertly wooed by their attractive, appropriately grizzled, beaus. Meanwhile, among the next generation one finds romantic entanglements aplenty, with Olivia’s feisty artist daughter Justine (Sarah Smyth), Grace’s feisty curator daughter Maryellen (Elyse Levesque) and Jack’s sulky son Eric (Tom Stevens) all the object of some oftentimes problematic affections.

This year, we’re going to do a little something different with these recaps; my thinking is, since this show is based entirely on Debbie Macomber’s million-selling sweet romance series of the same name, clearly we’re in it for the relationships. So instead of a play-by-play, let’s just take this one couple at a time, shall we?

[Now boarding all 'ship passengers...]

Jul 7 2014 3:45pm

You Bet Your Love: Gambling in Historical Romance

Gambling cat picture by gchampeau via Flickr Creative CommonsWhist. Vingt et un. Hazard and Loo and Faro and Piquet. If you have ever read a historical, and certainly one set in London between, say, the two Queens Elizabeth, then chances are you have come across reference to at least a few, if not all, of these games of chance, once popular with the ruling elite. Only Vingt et un remains with us virtually unchanged (you might know it as Blackjack), though both Whist and Hazard have survived in modified form, as Bridge and Craps respectively. But even the most enthusiastic of today’s high rollers would be hard put to call themselves as dedicated to Lady Luck as were the scions of the Upper Ten Thousand back in the days of yore, for whom gambling was as much occupation as it was hobby and/or addiction. It was like they were an entire class of World Championship Poker players, only with less tattoos (though, possibly the same number of wigs).

Historical romance would have us believe that a gentleman of breeding spent much of his time at the gambling table—or gaming table, as it was much more pleasingly known (“gaming” has a much dorkier connotation now, of course), winning and losing enormous sums, bonding with each other in the camaraderie of excess, and occasionally becoming accidentally, often resentfully, engaged to some benighted fellow’s innocent young daughter, sister or (soon-to-be) widow.

[Place your bets now...]

Jul 2 2014 1:00pm

Love Among the Wreckage: Adrenaline-Fueled Romance at the Movies

In the closing moments of 1994’s Speed, Sandra Bullock’s Annie tells Keanu Reeves’s smitten Jack that “...relationships that start under intense circumstances, they never last.” Clearly she’s right, because by the time Speed 2: Cruise Control rolls around three years later she’s gotten tired of his constant life-in-peril routine and has moved on to Jason Patric—who, however, ends up being even more disaster-prone (in more ways than one). But despite the evident wisdom of this oddly self-aware heroine’s words some twenty—can you believe it? – years ago, filmmakers persist in giving us whirlwind romances shoehorned into even the most aggressively boisterous of explosion-filled blockbusters, because they think that’s what it takes to make us womenfolk happy.

And guess what? It makes me happy.

[We LOVE happy, too!]

Mar 31 2014 11:00am

Big Love on the Small Screen: Top 10 Current TV Sitcom Romances

Mindy Kaling and Chris Messina in The Mindy ProjectFOX’s The Mindy Project comes back on Tuesday, April 1, after more than two months on hiatus. Two months spent by many in a fever of anticipation, wondering what the future will hold for frenemies Mindy (Mindy Kaling) and Danny (Chris Messina), whose slow-burn snark-filled almost romance has become one of the most captivating on TV, as H&H’s Heather Waters so gleefully articulated in her post regarding the show’s game-changing winter finale.

Of course, romance in comedy is hardly new, and on the small screen, and in the half-hour format, we have seen a lot of compelling relationships develop under our amused, at times angst-filled, eyes. From 86 and 99 to Joni and Chachi to Sam and Diane to Ross and Rachel, we’ve seen many a love bloom under the aegis of a helpful laugh-track (or, so it is often claimed, a “live studio audience”-track), and it is most when dealing with the vagaries of such emotions that sitcoms elevate themselves from mere short bursts of entertaining nothingness to actual thought-provoking worthiness, by delivering a surprising punch of piquancy, passion, and pathos.

Here, a list of the Top 10 couples from TVs current sitcom crop that have brought us more than just the funny. (A note on the use of the word “sitcom”: true, some of the shows on this list don’t necessarily fit the textbook definition of the term, what with the variable sets and the lack of laugh-track, but “Top 10 TV Half-Hour Comedy Romances” just doesn’t really have the same ring.)

[Did your favorites make the cut?...]

Nov 22 2013 3:00pm

Giving Thanks for Romance: Thanksgiving-Themed Books

Thanksgiving by Janet EvanovichI have holiday envy. There, I’ve said it. Whether it be Passover or Ramadan, Diwali or the Mooncake Festival, there is barely an international observance, whether religious or otherwise, that I would not wish to have as part of my cultural heritage. Oh, sure, we in Australia get our fair share of awesomely unique celebrations—in my home city of Melbourne, we get a day off for a horse race, and even the Federal Parliament takes a break to see which horse will run fastest on that magical first Tuesday in November. But as cool as that is (and it is), it is the fourth Thursday in November that has long fascinated me, my knowledge of it gleaned almost wholly from TV, movies and, of course, books: the American Thanksgiving.

I don’t recall exactly when I first learned about this most excellent of occasions, but I am pretty sure it was from shows the likes of Little House on the Prairie, Family Ties and Diff’rent Strokes. There would be schoolhouse pageants about the Pilgrims and their unwontedly gracious guests, family dining tables groaning under the weight of exotic-sounding dishes like pumpkin pie and candied yams, and bewildering sporting contests ardently followed by all the males of the house. From Charlie Brown to President Bartlet, and from Holly Hunter in Home for the Holidays to Katie Holmes in Pieces of April, if there is a story involving a family gathering designed to give thanks to...whatever it is you’re all so thankful for, then I am completely in.

Imagine my delight, then, when I long ago discovered Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich, several years after its 1988 release date, but also several before Stephanie Plum made Evanovich beloved outside the confines of Loveswept fandom (the book has since been rereleased, back in 2006). It is the delightful tale of Megan Murphy and Dr. Patrick Hunter, instant enemies who soon become friends—and then more than friends—as they team up to care for an abandoned baby, all the while navigating the many family dramas inherent in this particular titular affair. Full of its author’s signature zaniness, the novel also brings a tangible sense of occasion to the tale, especially as it is set in Colonial Williamsburg, than which I don’t think I can even imagine a more appropriate locale to celebrate this particular event.

[Happy Turkey Day...]

Nov 13 2013 9:30am

Falling Prey to Linda Howard’s Montana

Prey by Linda HowardWe’re reading our way across America…one romance at a time.

Montana: Prey by Linda Howard

This 41st state to join the Union is something of a mystery to me. Oh sure, it’s “Big Sky Country,” as books from Linda Lael Miller’s, er, Big Sky Country to Nora Roberts’s Montana Sky to Kirby Larson’s excellent YA Hattie Big Sky (among many others) continue to assure us, but aside from a general impression of wide open spaces, untamed wilderness, various kinds of ranching and rugged individualism of the pioneering-settler school, the state really hasn’t made too much of an impression. Historicals (whether in prose or on film) set therein always seem to be about outdoorsy types exploiting its remote grandeur in some way, while contemporary stories most often use Montana as a suitably out-of-the-way locale in which to commit, or hide out following, Crime (with Nicholas Evans novels being the obvious exceptions).

So what better combination of these two overriding themes could I have found to best exemplify this state than a Romantic Suspense novel by Linda Howard which sees two hunting guides caught up in a deadly web of intrigue and murder—and which also happens to include a vicious, man-killing bear?

[Beware the bear...]

Oct 14 2013 3:31pm

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episodes 12 and 13 Recap: It’s a Christmas Miracle!

Grace and Cliff in Cedar Cove 1x13Debbie Macomber's sweet small-town romance series Cedar Cove is now a weekly television show on Hallmark starring Andie MacDowell! Check out Rachel's recaps of the 2-hours series premiereepisode 2episode 3,episode 4episode 5episode 6episode 7episode 8episode 9, episode 10, and episode 11. And now, onto her recap of the show's two-part Christmas special, episodes 12 and 13, “A New Life” and “Homecoming”:

One thing is for certain. After this two-part episode, Google-then-iTunes searches for the name “Hayley Sales” will escalate madly, as the singer-songwriter guest stars as Shelly, a pregnant vagabond who checks into the Thyme and Tide and finds a job at Moon’s Cafe in the space of about a second and a half. Gorgeous, silken-haired and golden-voiced, the lost waif awakens the curiosity of B&B matriarch Peggy Belden (Barbara Niven), whose husband Bob (Bruce Boxleitner) abjures her to stay out of their new guest’s business (“We’re a bed and breakfast, not a bed and rescue.”). He has much bigger things to be worrying over: Christmas decorations, for one.


Sep 30 2013 10:35am

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 11 Recap: Conflicts Everywhere!

Jack and Olivia in Cedar Cove episode 11Debbie Macomber's sweet small-town romance series Cedar Cove is now a weekly television show on Hallmark starring Andie MacDowell! Check out Rachel's recaps of the 2-hours series premiereepisode 2episode 3, episode 4episode 5episode 6episode 7episode 8episode 9, and episode 10. And now, onto her recap of episode 11, “Stormfront”:

In a show where Big Though Easily Resolved Conflicts have been the order of most every day, it is a surprise and a delight (and also a concern, in a “careful what you wish for” kind of way) to report that in this episode, among the conflicts aplenty with which our favorite small town pretty people are beset, very little gets resolved at all. Some of these conflicts have been a long time in coming, and some are relatively recent developments, but all of them combine to make this episode without a doubt the best we have so far seen—and yes, before you get all snarky, there’s some, if not tough, at least mild competition for that title.

Conflict #1: Remember how Jack (Dylan Neal), newspaperman extraordinaire, was off to his bustling hometown metropolis of Philadelphia to interview for a sports writer gig at the end of last episode? Well, I know you won’t even believe this, but he got the job! It’s a pretty sweet deal, actually, following the Phillies around the country, going to Spring Training, really getting to know the team and basically being their official biographer. It’s his “dream job,” one that he’d have jumped at as little as a year earlier, but now that he has Olivia (Andie MacDowell) ... he turns it down! Which was pretty damned predictable, but also slightly worrisome and not a little insane – hell, I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Mets fan who would have had to move to Philly from a different hemisphere, and even I would’ve taken it – because sorry, Jack, we also have...

[Jack, you may have made a huge mistake...]

Sep 23 2013 10:29am

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 10 Recap: A Town Full of Jerks

Olivia and Jack in Cedar Cove 1.09Debbie Macomber's sweet small-town romance series Cedar Cove is now a weekly television show on Hallmark starring Andie MacDowell! Check out Rachel's recaps of the 2-hours series premiereepisode 2episode 3, and episode 4episode 5episode 6episode 7, episode 8, and episode 9. And now, onto her recap of episode 10, “Conflicts of Interest”:

Relationship discord is the order of the day this time out in Cedar Cove, except between the blissfully happy Jack (Dylan Neal) and Olivia (Andie MacDowell), who apparently never tire of looking soulfully into each other’s eyes and saying the darndest things. Jack, indeed, is a font of pure schmaltz, forever telling Olivia just how lucky he is to have met someone so beautiful, so intelligent and just so generally awesome—compliments Olivia always takes placidly in stride because, after all, they are manifestly true.

The two of them are very cute, of course, and only the not-at-all-predictable, I-cannot-believe-that-happened plot twist of his possibly being offered a job on a real newspaper back in his beloved Philadelphia could possibly rend them asunder. Although, if Olivia’s ex-husband Stan (Andrew Airlee) has his way – as Jack has long suspected – there may soon be something else with the potential to tear them apart.

[Never let go, Jack! Oh, wait...]

Sep 17 2013 1:45pm

Rockin’ Out in Colorado: Kristen Ashley’s Rock Chick

Rock Chick by Kristen AshleyWe’re reading our way across America…one romance at a time.

Colorado: Rock Chick by Kristen Ashley

Heading to Colorado—home of Aspen, Stargate Command and Celestial Seasonings tea—for this next stop in our romance novel tour of America (the Centennial State was 38th to join the Union, by the by) was the perfect opportunity for me to at last check out Kristen Ashley’s Rock Chick, the 2011 indie-release-made-good about which I had heard so many excellent things.

The book, and the series it spawned, are set in Denver, and rarely has a place come so alive to me in prose as it did within these pages. From exploring various neighborhoods to hitting up local restaurants by what felt like the dozen, Rock Chick is as much Zagat guide as it is fun-filled crime caper; certainly, if I ever find myself in Denver, I’ll know where to go for the best sushi (Sushi Den), the best Mexican (Las Delicias), and the best Chinese (Twin Dragon).

But added to Denver’s allure here is the spirited India “Indy” Savage, bookstore-owner and self-proclaimed Rock Chick. The 30-year old daughter of a police detective, her wild hellion days might be behind her, but that doesn’t mean she’s given up the holy Rock Chick trinity of loud music, short skirts and high heels. As Indy describes each outfit she dons in loving detail, they sure do sound cute, each apparently suiting her buxom frame to perfection.

[Enter our hero...]

Sep 16 2013 11:09am

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 9 Recap: Men Have Feelings, Too!

Justine and Seth in Cedar Cove episode 9Debbie Macomber's sweet small-town romance series Cedar Cove is now a weekly television show on Hallmark starring Andie MacDowell! Check out Rachel's recaps of the 2-hours series premiereepisode 2episode 3, and episode 4episode 5episode 6, episode 7, and episode 8. And now, onto her recap of episode 9, “Old Flames New Sparks...”:

It’s all about the guys this time out, with Jack, Cliff, Stan, Will, Seth, John Bowman and even Bob taking center stage, their assorted paramours (and would-be paramours) much discussed, mooned over and wooed.

Let’s start with Jack (Dylan Neal), who kicks off the episode with some casual peeping, only to witness Olivia (Andie MacDowell) and her ex-husband Stan (Andrew Airlee) getting along famously, reliving old times. Jack has long been threatened by the genial Stan’s recent re-entry into Olivia’s life, and though Stan claims that he is in town for closure on the death of son Jordan, and to make amends with daughter Justine (Sarah Smyth), Jack is not the only one suspicious that maybe the compliment-throwing, flower-giving Mr. Lockhart is also hopeful of a deeper reconciliation with his beautiful ex-wife, despite the fact that he has remarried.

[Don't mess with Jack's lady, ex-Mr. Olivia...]

Sep 9 2013 2:31pm

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 8 Recap: Back to High School

Olivia and Stan in Cedar CoveDebbie Macomber's sweet small-town romance series Cedar Cove is now a weekly television show on Hallmark starring Andie MacDowell! Check out Rachel's recaps of the 2-hours series premiereepisode 2episode 3, and episode 4episode 5episode 6, and episode 7. And now, onto her recap of episode 8, “And the Winner Is...”:

The ladies of Cedar Cove are on a mission this week: date or be dated. Judge Olivia Lockhart (Andie MacDowell) is still deeply in-like with disgruntled newspaperman Jack Griffith (Dylan Neal) – honestly, he could not be more dismissive of her beloved town if he tried, calling its news “insignificant” as he sighs wearily over his desk at the Cedar Cove Chronicle. Now, for a start, he should just consider himself lucky to have a job in the print media, but even more than that, he’s totally wrong, because there is much of interest happening in this pastel-hued hamlet at present, what with the... wait for it... Eligible Bachelor Auction and all.

That’s right, in this apparently annual event, the town’s local talent is put up for bid to raise money for the animal shelter. Olivia’s busybody mother Charlotte (Paula Shaw) is the driving force behind proceedings, and she inveigles Jack into participating with the aid of her luminous daughter’s oh-so-casual hand on Jack’s thigh. Nice work, Olivia!

[How much will Jack go for, do you think?...]

Sep 2 2013 3:30pm

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 7 Recap: Second Chances

Jack and Olivia in Cedar Cove episode 7, Help WantedDebbie Macomber's sweet small-town romance series Cedar Cove is now a weekly television show on Hallmark starring Andie MacDowell! Check out Rachel's recaps of the 2-hours series premiereepisode 2episode 3, and episode 4episode 5, and episode 6. And now, onto her recap of episode 7, “Help Wanted”:

“Second chances” is the big theme of this episode, and boy do we get whacked over the head with it. It’s not enough that a convict Olivia once sentenced to prison, the misunderstood Lenny (Richard de Klerk), is back in town, looking for work and finding every door in even this cosy, pastel-hued hamlet closed to him. But romantically, second chances abound, with Olivia (Andie MacDowell) and Jack (Dylan Neal) off to Seattle for a romantic getaway, and rancher Cliff Harting (Sebastian Spence) making another play for town librarian Grace (Teryl Rothery).

We also get a second chance to wallow in the misery that is Rosie (Kendall Cross) and Zach’s (Lochlyn Munro – not appearing in this episode) divorce.

[One second chance we could do without?...]

Aug 28 2013 12:30pm

Better than Ever: Urban Fantasy’s Finest in Seanan McGuire’s October Daye Series

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuireIt is a rare series that doesn’t feel like it’s losing some of its shiny newness by the time Book 7 comes along. Hell, the Urban Fantasy landscape is littered with clever ideas that pale by Book 2, or tumultuous courtships that are totally played by Book 3, or witty banter that is already being recycled by Book 4. So many of these series feel like they have no well-plotted direction, and no over-arching theme driving them forward; plus, by Book 7 you’re pretty much guaranteed to have seen at least one “filler” novel, heavy on the exposition but light on the action, moving our protagonists infinitesimally closer to their next major trauma. Let’s face it: by this stage, the bloom is usually, if not off the rose entirely, at least considerably faded. Enough that one may even be considering breaking up with the series altogether.

An enchanting exception to this rule is the October Daye series by Seanan McGuire, which feels just as fresh and compelling in its seventh instalment (Chimes at Midnight, DAW, released September 3) as it did in its first, 2009’s Rosemary and Rue. McGuire’s world-building is second to none, her impeccable research evident in even her most off-hand of remarks, and her first person protagonist, the eponymous Sir October “Toby” Day, is, if anything, even more captivating now than she was when first we met her.

Although, admittedly, when we first met Toby, she was perfectly, almost idyllically, happy; luckily, that only lasted for the Prologue, because really, what kind of Urban Fantasy heroine would she have made for us if she’d stayed that way?

[Well adjusted?]

Aug 26 2013 9:32am

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 6 Recap: The Cedar Cove Guide to Catching a Man

Maryellen and John in Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 6Debbie Macomber's sweet small-town romance series Cedar Cove is now a weekly television show on Hallmark starring Andie MacDowell! Check out Rachel's recaps of the 2-hours series premiereepisode 2episode 3, and episode 4, and episode 5. And now, onto her recap of episode 6, “Free Spirits”:

Anyone who’s been paying attention these past few weeks will have noted that Maryellen (Elyse Levesque), the willowy, flame-haired curator of Cedar Cove’s gallery, has it bad for local art photographer John Bowman (Charlie Carrick). We’ve only met the man himself once, two episodes ago, but we can kind of see the appeal: hot, talented, terse, standoffish. There are women for whom a mystery like John Bowman presents a challenge as much as an object of interest, and Maryellen is assuredly just such a one.

[We don't blame you, Marellen!...]

Aug 19 2013 1:58pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 10 Recap: With Both a Bang and a Whimper

Elizabeth and Cecily in The White Queen episode 10****SPOILERS FOR THE WHITE QUEEN EPISODE 10****

Are you freaking kidding me, The White Queen? You are, right? You are joking, and jesting, and making with the japes. That is the only explanation I have for the final 45 seconds of this, your very last episode. Or your very last episode of Season 1, at any rate; I suppose it’s possible we’ll see The White Queen 2: This Time it’s Personal at some date in the future, perhaps depending on how well the series performs on its new US cable home. But regardless: man, did you anti-climax the hell out of this thing. Honestly, I have no words.

But, back to the beginning!

(Need to catch up? Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3episode 4episode 5episode 6episode 7, episode 8, and episode 9. The series is currently airing in the UK on BBC and on Starz in the United States, so beware of SPOILERS; episode 2 just aired on Starz on Saturday.)

We kick off this time around seeing our good Queen Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) returned to her beloved Rivers manor, where all of this wackiness began so very long ago. For us, it has been a mere ten weeks since she waylaid a King by the roadside and magicked her way into his fickle heart, but for her it is twenty years, ten kids, five uprisings and a bunch of dead relatives ago that she last made this place her home. Ferguson gives us a Lizzie smiling and at peace, away from the tumult of political chicanery and just happy to be living in comfort with most of her remaining children.

[How will the season end?...]

Aug 19 2013 10:46am

Cedar Cove Season 1, Episode 5 Recap: Let’s Put on a Show!

Grace and Cliff in Cedar CoveDebbie Macomber's sweet small-town romance series Cedar Cove is now a weekly television show on Hallmark starring Andie MacDowell! Check out Rachel's recaps of the 2-hours series premiereepisode 2episode 3, and episode 4. And now, onto her recap of episode 5, “For the Sake of the Children”:

Well, it had to happen sometime. Eventually, we had to be introduced to my least-favorite couple from the books, Rosie (Kendall Cross) and Zach (Lochlyn Monro). They come before Judge Olivia (Andie MacDowell) seeking a divorce, and it’s all a lot of he-said/she-said and so very painful to watch, as they rehash the minutia of their fractious suburban lives, assigning blame for their current state of impasse. Of course, there is realism in it, too – who among us wouldn’t prefer to remember ourselves as the calm, solicitous one, and paint our adversary as the unfeeling, irrational jackass? But when the breakdown of a marriage comes to us as a result of pizza delivery and missed soccer pickups, it’s hard to get too invested in either side’s struggles.

The case, which should have been so “cut-and-dried,” per Olivia, becomes complicated when Rosie decides to go after sole custody of their two kids, teen Allison (Matreya Fedor) and pre-tween Eddie (Sean Michael Keyer). Allison we met briefly last week, and it is clear that her parents’ breakup is having a profound effect on her. So much so that she skips school to hang out at the town library, which Librarian Grace (Teryl Rothery) allows, because she’s cool that way. And because, with Rosie currently duking it out in court over whether she or her husband is a worse parent, Grace is short one volunteer to help with Story Time.

[Gotta recruit 'em while they're young?...]

Aug 12 2013 3:30pm

The White Queen Season 1, Episode 9 Recap: Who Framed Richard III?

Queen Anne in The White Queen episode 9****SPOILERS FOR THE WHITE QUEEN EPISODE 9****

Seriously, who would ever want to be a king? Or a queen? Or the mother, sibling, child or spouse of either? Horrible jobs, the lot of them, taking the worst parts of working with family and mixing them together with cutthroat Wall Street–style office politics and the constant threat of imminent imprisonment or beheading.

I honestly cannot think of anything worse.

You know, I think Lord Robert Stanley (Rupert Graves) has the right idea here. Oh, not in that anything he does is right at all—he’s a bad, bad, sneaky and duplicitous scoundrel who makes dead serial traitor Lord Warwick look like Pollyanna—but in that he is perfectly happy being the power behind the throne, raking in the titles and the riches and the accolades without aspiring to have his face on the money. Either of his two faces.

(Need to catch up? The White Queen originally aired in the UK and is now airing in the U.S. on Starz. Don't miss Rachel Hyland's recaps of The White Queen episode 1episode 2episode 3episode 4episode 5episode 6episode 7, and episode 8.)

You may perhaps recall that Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) married Lord Stanley three episodes back, and since then they have been colluding together to bring about an end to the reign of York and usher in another Lancastrian era, with Maggie B’s son Henry Tudor (Michael Marcus) on the throne. Still exiled in Brittany, Henry awaits only his mother’s machinations to set sail across the Channel and defeat the king-in-residence’s army, whether that army be loyal to Richard III (Anuerin Barnard) or the nephew he callously disinherited last time around, Edward V.

[May the forces be with you...]