“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.” Jane Austen said it – not me!
This summer, thanks to a friend of mine, I took pleasure in a good novel written by the fabulous British mystery novelist, P.D. James. She admits that Jane Austen is her favourite author, and so, at the young age of 91, she has penned her own novel to add to the Austenverse! I have read some of the sequels to Pride and Prejudice, in particular, and they range from a good read to laughingly ridiculous (seriously, underground religions cults?? Zombies??). P.D. James was a good read.
I like Jane Austen and I find myself drawn to her heroines over and over again. They are strong and intelligent women with a great deal to offer in a relationship. They are usually pretty, but not beautiful creatures, and are overlooked beside the vain and vapid beauties so favoured by the gents! (it reminds me of high school…) Her heroines often find themselves in situations where they are restrained by their upbringing and/or their station in life…and they want to rebel and be recognized for who they are, and not who they are expected to be.
I have read all of Jane Austen’s books, and some of them more than once…and I have watched various versions in movie format…as well as Jane Austen’s Fight Club on Youtube…But unlike Meg Ryan in the movie, You’ve Got Mail, I am not “always in agony over whether Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are really going to get together” (Pride and Prejudice). I have, however, on occasion, wondered how naïve Elizabeth Bennet was if she believed Mr. Darcy would never return to his former proud and condescending self once the “honeymoon” was over. How could Captain Wentworth’s head be turned so quickly by a perky bimbo? And why couldn’t Colonel Brandon fight for Marianne’s affection rather than standing in the background for so long? Ah…Still, lovers of Jane know that every book has a “happily ever after”…and despite how jaded we’ve become, we all secretly want a “happily ever after”. But while some “prejudices” and “sensibilities” may have changed since the early 1800’s, a happy ending may just not always be the Jane Austen way!
As for me, I wish I had more time to settle into another good book! I wonder what Android Karenina (Ben H. Winters) is like…