Rachel: Pride and Prejudice
Honestly? I don’t understand people who say they don’t like Pride and Prejudice. I think they’re a bit weird… You know, like people who don’t like roast potatoes. Who can resist the classic tale of overcoming ingrained prejudice and improper pride in order to find everlasting love?
As thoroughly explained in my review, I adore Pride and Prejudice. I now own 5 different copies and still read at least a chapter of it every week. I love the richly drawn characters, even those who are meant to be unlikeable (*cough*LadyCatherine*cough*), the witty social commentary, the pace, the setting. Everything in fact. I never get bored of reading this book and I always find something new in reading it.
Before I met my husband, I used to think it’d be jolly nice to meet a ‘Mr Darcy’ and now that I am happily married I despair every day that my husband refuses to reenact the ‘You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.’ bit! Ah well, probably for the best, my husband is way grumpier than Darcy!
My favourite Jane Austen novel (though I confess I haven’t read them all) is Persuasion. It’s one I only picked up a few years ago and I bought it because I was holidaying in Lyme Regis and much of it is set there.
It definitely enhanced my holiday, allowing me to access the history of the area in a way I wouldn’t otherwise, but the reason I fell in love with it wasn’t it’s accurate and enlivening descriptions of Dorset but its heroine Anne Edwards. Unlike some of Austen’s more popular protagonists, Anne isn’t a creature of wit and self assurance. She may have been when she first rejected the marriage proposal from the man she loved but the intervening years have stripped such vanities from her. Though thankfully they have left her grace and intelligence.
Read it to meet Austen at her best (in my incomplete experience) from the allegorical settings to the wisdom that not every happy ever after happens the way it should.
Kelly: Sense and Sensibility
I had a hard time choosing my favourite Jane Austen novel, and had narrowed it down to three! (P&P, Emma were the two runners up, in case you were wondering). But in the end, it could only be Sense and Sensibility. It’s Pride and Prejudice if Mr Bennet had died, and as such has a darker element at the start of the book. I love the relationship between Elinor and Marianne, their devotion towards each other and the way they each approach life in such different ways. Elinor steals the show for me: smart, logical, loving. A steady port next to the turbulent storm that is Marianne. I could never stand Marianne’s selfishness, her inability to see that whilst her heart ached for Willoughby, Elinor was going through her own suffering.
I love the 1995 film too. For me, one of the best adaptations of any Austen novel ever. The actors have become synonymous with their characters, none more so than Alan Rickman as Colonel Brandon. And the part where Willoughby and Marianne recite Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116? Perfect. Please excuse me. I’m off to watch it again!