Friday, 23 December 2011

Austen Week: Jane Austen's novels

With the film reviews out of the way, it's time to get back to the books! Instead of giving you repetitive reviews that have been given time and time again over the years, I am simply going to give you my comments on the books before I get down to the Austen sequels by other authors. Apologies for them all being penguin covers, I simply prefer their designs.

Pride and Prejudice

Definately my favourite of the Austen novels. A timeless classic story following the Bennet sisters and the relationship between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth. Elizabeth has so much wit, she is strong, independent and you just expect her to find the greatest love in the world as she seems to be the only normal girl at the time. Jane Austen could not have written this book any better, it is simply flawless.

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Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility is a story about the life and loves of two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, as they struggle to find happiness, particularly after they, along with their mother and younger sister are forced to leave their home when their father dies and the estate is passed to their half brother John. I really enjoyed this book, although the relationship between Marianne and Col. Brandon frustrates me as I just want Marianne to realise how good of a man he is for her much faster. As seen in all of Austen's novels, she is always consistent with how she develops relationships  between characters, and sadly there is always a scumbag that comes along and hurts one of the main female protagonists.

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Northanger Abbey

Another of my favourites. Following the story of Catherine Morland, a 17 years old girl that allows her obsession with Gothic novels to run her life. It unfortunately gets her into a bit of trouble, but then again you expect a book lover to wish they lived in their favourite books. She has a wild imagination and is a bit clueless when it comes to society. She is blinded by her honesty and purity and is shocked to see that people really do lie and play games. I loved this book because Austen writes about a young girl who for once isnt going crazy over finding a husband. I also adore Henry Tilney, a decent and kind young man who reminds me of my best friend - loves to play jokes with you but when it comes down to it, cares about all those close to him.

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Mansfield Park

Jane Austen loves to write about shipping girls off with other relatives or friends every once in a while. Mansfield Park is exactly that. Fanny Price, being from a poor family is sent off to be raised by her rich uncle and aunt, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, at Mansfield Park. She is raised with her cousins who don't care much for her, apart from Edmund who she comes to love. I rather dislike Fanny as she is very weak in comparison to the female protagonists in Austen's other novels. She is very dull, shy and honestly isn't a real heroine.

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While being extremely open to the powers of persuasion, Anne Elliot allows her family to control what she does and who she can marry. Persuased by her friend and mentor Lady Russell, along with her baronet father, she gives up the man she loves due to his lack of fortune. You wouldn't blame her love, Frederick Wentworth for holding a grudge, even after he becomes a wealthy captain. It is a brilliant story about Anne and the test of love and how she must grow to be her own person and stop others from controlling her. It is a real man after all that can accept a woman a second time round after years of wondering how his love could simply throw it all away because someone told her to.

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Mr Knightley! Thats all I need to say. Emma is a wonderful story about a wealthy, smart yet extremely naive young lady who decides to be a matchmaker. Unfortunately she isnt the best matchmaker in the world and is bound to make a few mistakes, particularly where friends are involved. The highlight of this book is her relationship with her dearest friend, Mr Knightley. He is like an older brother, a mentor and simply the perfect friend... you can't expect a relationship like that not to blossom. An absolute treasure!

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