Tag Archives: Jane Austen

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Overview
Mansfield Park (Vintage Classics Austen Series) by Jane Austen ...

Title: Mansfield Park
Author: Jane Austen
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Romance
Dates read: 17th May – 8th June 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Year: 1814
5th sentence, 74th page: She entertains me; and she is so extremely pretty, that I have great pleasure in looking at her.

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Synopsis

Fanny Price’s rich relatives offer her a place in their home so that she can be properly brought up. However, Fanny’s childhood is a lonely one as she is never allowed to forget her position. Her only ally is her cousin Edmund. When her cousins befriend two glamorous new young people who have arrived in the area, Henry and Mary Crawford, Edmund starts to grow close to Mary and Fanny finds herself dealing with feelings she has never experienced before.

Thoughts

I have started and stopped this classic about three times. Which is super annoying. Because all of the other Jane Austen books that I’ve read thus far I have absolutely adored. As in I started and finished them in a short period of time and thoroughly enjoyed the adventure. Yet, there is something about this one that I found more difficult. Maybe it was the size. But I actually went to DNF this for a third time. Then I decided to push on. And boy am I glad that I did!

Once I got past that first third that just made me cringe constantly. I think it was Mrs Norris. What a horrible, odious woman. And I honestly just wanted to cuddle Fanny the whole time – the poor, quiet soul! Anyway, once I got past that first third, I actually started to really love this novel. Fanny’s darlingness grew on me and felt less tragic and painful. Mrs Norris was still horrible and annoying, but there was the sense that others had begun to realise this. And the story just generally started to pull me in. I wanted the happily ever after that I knew was coming because I was beginning to be heavily attached to all of the characters.

Having said all of that, I do still find it weird that the happily ever after involved Fanny marrying her cousin. I know that this was a common practice at the time of this story. But I just found it uncomfortable. Particularly when she was kind of raised with the boy. I mean. Seriously. It was just… uncomfortable. When I stopped thinking about that aspect, and concentrated on the fact that Fanny and Edward made a good couple and made each other happy… well, it began to work.

I think that my absolute favourite thing about this book was the poetic ending. The fact that each and every selfish and annoying character in this book got a comeuppance. That in the end, Fanny’s goodness was noticed and she actually got her happily ever after. Plus, some of the poetic justice was just downright funny.

<- EmmaNorthanger Abbey ->

Image source: Penguin Books Australia

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Overview
Image result for persuasion word cloud classic book cover

Title: Persuasion
Author: Jane Austen
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Romance
Dates read: 2nd – 5th July 2019
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1817
5th sentence, 74th page: They did not like each other, and no renewal of acquaintance now could do any good; and were Lady Russell to see them together, she might think that he had too much self-possession, and she too little.

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Synopsis

Published in 1818, Persuasion was Jane Austen’s last completed novel. In this compelling love story, Anne Elliott is unhappy and unmarried twenty-seven. At the urging of her family, she broke her engagement to the man she loved eight years before because he was poor and didn’t have good family connections. When they meet again, he is wealthy, a captain in the navy, and looking for a wife, but he has not forgiven Anne for her rejection and resolves not to fall in love with her again. With a heat-burnished cover, foil stamping, and designed endpapers, the Word Cloud Classics edition of Persuasion is the perfect addition to any bookshelf!

Thoughts

I always forget how much I love Jane Austen until I pick up one of her books and start sinking my teeth into it again. The fact that there’s still a few that I haven’t read yet makes me think that I need to finish reading the books on my shelves. Especially since this was the first time I’ve ever read Persuasion, and I seriously couldn’t put it down once I got about a third of the way in. after all of the introductory, family history nonsense.

My heart broke a little as Anne’s plight and treatment by her family was fully revealed. There was something so sweet and kind about her from the very first introduction, and the fact that she was completely ignored and abandoned by her family was just… well, heart wrenching. But it also made this story all the more romantic and endearing. There is one man that truly understood her worth and he waited around for her for years and years.

We’ve all been persuaded to do something that we’re not really sure is right, or away from something that we know we really want and need in our lives. Although this story was written in the 1800’s, that is a theme that still occurs repeatedly today. Yet, I love that Anne has a chance to make things right and fix her mistake of being persuaded away from true happiness. Persuaded to go against her heart and work with her head and the sensibilities of others.

This is one of those novels that is going to the top of my favourites list. One that I’m going to read again and again. Whenever I’m feeling low, in a reading slump or just in need of a good story that will provide me with a little hope that the world isn’t actually that bad.

<- Northanger AbbeyPride and Prejudice ->

Image source: Pinterest

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Overview
Pride and Prejudice

Title: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Series: World Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves:
 Classics, RomanceStrong women
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Vintage Books
Year: 1813
5th sentence, 74th page: If you should have no objection to receive me into your house, I propose myself the satisfaction of waiting on you and your family, Monday, November 18th, by four o’clock, and shall probably trespass on your hospitality till the Saturday se’nnight following, which I can do without any inconvenience, as Lady Catherine is far from objecting to my occassional absence on a Sunday, provided that some other clergyman is engaged to do the duty of the day.

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Synopsis

Elizabeth Bennet is young, clever and attractive, but her mother is a nightmare and she and her four sisters are in dire need of financial security and escape. The arrival of affable Mr Bingley and arrogant Mr Darcy in the neighbourhood, both single and in possession of large fortunes, turns all their lives upside down in this witty drama of friendship, rivalry, enmity and love.

Thoughts

No matter how many times I read this book, I am caught anew by the beauty of Austen’s words and the excellent story that is shaped by them. There’s a reason that this is such a well-known classic. Regardless of the quote, there are so many moments in this story that people immediately know, whether they’ve read it or not.

Although this is set in a time when people courted, danced and never touched until they were wed. And women only had matrimony to ensure their future happiness, much of this storyline is still relevant today. Which is honestly, probably why it’s still such a potent story today. The follies of both pride and prejudice litter the romance between Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy from the very beginning. Both are proud, stubborn creatures, and Mr. Darcy’s prejudice against Elizabeth’s inferior social position, leads to her own prejudice against his own standing and view of the world. Luckily for us all, they eventually find a way past this and one of the most epic love stories of classical literature wins its way into our hearts again and again.

Although Pride and Prejudice is a great story about Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, I also love the storyline and romance of Jane and Mr. Bingley. Such innocent and sweet souls are completely meant for one another, and honestly, that simplicity and sweetness is completely unfathomable to me. It’s a fantastic way in which to balance out the more satirical and proud natures of their counterparts. And a nice way in which to balance out the tedious, frivolous antics of the rest of the Bennett family.

As soon as I’ve put Pride and Prejudice down, I’m always at a loss for what to do. Sometimes I want to pick it straight back up and read it again. At other times, I flip through book after book looking for something new to read. Something that can be comparable, I’m yet to find such a story.

<- PersuasionSense and Sensibility ->

Image source: Penguin

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Overview
Sense and Sensibility

Title: Sense and Sensibility
Author: Jane Austen
Series: World Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Romance
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Year: 1811
5th sentence, 74th page: They contained a noble piece of water; a sail on which was to form a great part of the morning’s amusement; cold provisions were to be taken, open carriages only to be employed, and every thing conducted in the usual style of a complete party of pleasure.

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Synopsis

Elinor is as prudent as her sister Marianne is impetuous. Each must learn from the other after they are forced by their father’s death to leave their home and enter into the contests of polite society. The charms of unsuitable men and the schemes of rival ladies mean that their paths to success are fraught with disappointment but together they attempt to find a way to happiness.

Thoughts

I’ve read this novel twice now, and even on the second reading, I haven’t lost my pleasure or joy in following the Dashwood sisters in their journey to marriage. Although I am a strong believer in the idea that marriage isn’t everything (in this day and age), there is something thoroughly enjoyable about watching these two girls become women and attempt to find the man with whom they shall spend the rest of their lives. The contrast between the two under such similar circumstances only helps to promote this love as it is a great reminder of the contrast between myself and my sister.

Sense and Sensibility isn’t just about coming of age in a society that I can’t even begin to fathom, it is also about two sisters learning from each other and caring for one another. Marianne is completely driven by her emotions, she is unable to sensor herself, and speaks before she thinks. Yet, although wearing one’s heart on their sleeve seems to be an open and honest way of living, not withdrawing and thinking before speaking led Marianne into strife more than once. Yet, Elinor, her polar opposite is unable to truly grieve the potential loss of her beau, and holds her emotions inside so thoroughly that even her own mother is unaware as to the depth of her regard for another person. It isn’t until both sisters are able to control and show their emotions a little better, respectively, that they are able to find their happily ever afters.

Although I have read many, many, many, many books in the past, Sense and Sensibility has one of the most anger-inspiring villains. Mrs. Fanny Dashwood encompasses selfishness and an ability to manipulate others with a sense of right that is often ignored by her consciousness. Her constant interferences with the lives of Elinor and Marianne and her inability to let their brother (her husband) to do anything to assist them may not lead to all of the evils throughout the story, but she certainly helps them along. It is her ability to ignore what she knows is right that makes her spine-tinglingly maddening.

<- Pride and PrejudicePeter Pan ->

Image source: Abe Books

Emma by Jane Austen

Overview
Emma

Title: Emma
Author: Jane Austen
Series: World Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Classics, FeminismRomance
Pace: Slow in part I, but picks up in part II
Format: Novel
Publisher: Vintage Classics
Year: 1815
5th sentence, 74th page: She must abide by the evil of having refused him, whatever it may be and as to the refusal itself, I will not pretend to say that I might not influence her a little; but I assure you there was very little for me or for anybody to do.

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Synopsis

Emma is young, rich and independent. She has decided not to get married and instead spends her time organising her acquaintances’ love affairs. Her plans for the matrimonial success of her new friend Harriet, however, lead her into complications that ultimately test her own detachment from the world of romance.

Thoughts

I can remember reading Emma for my major assignment in Year 12 English Studies. And I’m sure that I wrote many fancy things about the techniques, and the hidden meanings to the story. And just a whole hoop-la of technical jargon that showed what a great piece of writing Emma is. But, honestly, that doesn’t actually tell you if it’s a good story to read or not. After all, something can be technically brilliant, but completely boring (and tedious) to read. But, I digress, rereading this story not only left me thinking about and reminiscing on the joys of English Studies and the hours spent comparing and contrasting very random texts, but it also reminded me of just how much I love the word of Jane Austen.

We are all victims of our own presumptions, and quite often pride, in one way or another. Emma’s journey of blunders and mistakes is on the one hand incredibly entertaining, but on the other, it is startlingly familiar. There are moments in all of our lives that we look back on with regret, and not a small amount of shame – and Emma’s tale just heightens this sense. She is constantly making presumptions and acting under her own volition, without thinking about her own fallibility, or the genuine needs of others. Yet, luckily, as with all good stories, the happy ending of the story leads to the incredibly naïve heroine to recognise her flaws, realise her blunders and find a way to move forward in life as a new, complete woman.

Although I love Emma madly, I do find the story to be a little heavy as far as dialogue is concerned. Especially in those moments when Miss Bates is running off on one of her fancies. Although I’m sure that this was purposeful on the behalf of Austen, it does make the first two volumes of this novel a little more tedious and difficult to stick with. However, as the story progresses, it is easy enough to understand what is happening when the many principal characters decide to have long, and rambling conversations.

Although this story was written in the 1800s, and the idea of marriage for a woman and class systems were very intense, I still find this to be a story about a strong woman and her independence. Emma is determined not to marry, and when she does eventually find someone to whom she can see herself spending her life, it is still done to her terms. Emma’s strength of character and the ability to find a man who loves her all for herself is a really enjoyable read, and a reminder that although there has been over 200 years since this book was published, some of the themes and messages are still relevant today.

<- Hans Christian Andersen TalesMansfield Park ->

Image source: Amazon