Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (A Good Love Story Series #1)

5 Feb

Well folks. Like it or not, it’s February, and Valentine’s Day isn’t too far away. Whether you’re single, “it’s complicated,” have a significant other, or just like to rant and rave about the consumerist B.S. that surrounds this holiday, try and tell me you don’t love a love story. We all do, in some way, shape, or form (I won’t take any answer but that). So until Valentine’s Day, I’m paying homage to some classic romantic (and Romantic, capital R) books. Whether or not you want to rekindle your belief in love or just absorb yourself in a place with love (hopefully) reigns, it seemed appropriate to look to Miss Jane Austen to start this series off. It’s hard not to swoon over the infamous love story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, so do be sure to give it a shot this winter.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Published: 1813

Quick Read?: Yes.

Difficulty: There is some older language, but Austen’s plot moves rather quickly and smoothly, so it won’t slow you down too much.

Synopsis: Elizabeth Bennett is not the most delicate, fair, or desirable young lady in England. It’s not that she’s not beautiful or intelligent, but as a young aristocrat she does feel she can understand and judge those around her quickly and easily. But her judgement is thrown for a loop with the appearance of the dark and brooding Mr. Darcy, who Elizabeth immediately judges as “too proud.” She finds herself around him often though because her sister has started to court Bingley, an extremely rich man who comes through town. Yet Mr. Bingley leaves quickly and Elizabeth’s family threatens to fall apart, she must revisit her judgement of others as Mr. Darcy comes in to possibly save her life as she knows it.

Why read this book?: Austen is a controversial character, but her novels are still read widely today by women all over the world because they really are timeless. The love story of falling in love with someone you also can’t stand is a common motif in books and movies today, and harkening back to the original story is certainly a fantastic ride. The characters don’t feel old-fashioned for the most part, even if the portrayals of British societal standards might. The themes of too much pride and too much prejudice still apply today, which is an impressive feat for a book that is almost 200 years old (Way to go Austen! I’d like to say she planned it, but I doubt it).

Also, looking at love, marriage, family, and money in the early 19th century is certainly intriguing. The idea of honor and dishonor brought upon oneself as a woman, and one’s family, is pretty interesting. Any implication of wrongdoing or misdeed was enough to ruin everything, something that does not exist as much today. So if you want to feel the romance against all odds this Valentine’s Day season, check this book out for sure!

Some neat-o facts:

Jane Austen

There's pride in the way Austen is dressed and prejudice hidden in those eyes.

  • Austen was the daughter of a clergyman, and worked with the poor a lot. Because of this, many people critiqued her for only writing about well-to-do people. I don’t know if I blame her though…the drama is a bit more fun and superfluous. What do you think?
  • There are some pretty wonderful adaptations of this book as a film done by the BBC and elsewhere. Watch if you love romance! Avoid if you hate Valentine’s Day to begin with.
  • While many feminists have criticized Austen for her female characters always revolving around men and their actions, many would argue that that was a reflection of the times, and that most of women’s fate did revolve around marriage, childbirth, and motherhood. If you have an opinion of your own, do let me know in the comments!

If you like this, try: Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility, or Mansfield Park by Austen; Middlemarch by George Eliot; Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte; Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

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