Pride and Prejudice seems to be ‘the’ novel most Jane Austen fans prefer. (Maybe Colin Firth in ‘that’ scene has a lot to do with it.) But for my money, my favourite is ‘Persuasion’. I’m currently listening to it on an audio book and once again I’m struck by just how perfectly Jane Austen observes and captures the human condition. (Click)
I love the fact her main characters are a little older. That they’ve experienced love and loss. That they’re smart and serious yet not jaded. That life offers them a second chance.
If you’re not a keen reader, check out the Ciaran Hinds/Amanda Root film version. Adapted by Nick Dear, he remains faithful to the soul of Austen’s work. (And the music by Albertan group Nickleback on the video below is pretty good too!)
I have to put in a word for ‘Emma’. It is one of the most amusing books by Austen. Many people are put off by the first chapters which depict Emma as the spoilt only child of a wealthy and doting old father – not everyone’s idea of a perfect heroine. She’s rich, confident, independent and like many of us she thinks, ‘If only people would do as I say, everything would be fine.” The trouble is, she’s half-blind to what is really going on around her. So when she tries to force things to go ‘her way’ she gets herself and other people into a bit of a mess. The other characters are individually interesting, as in all Austen’s books. Of course, everything finishes up happily and she marries a man whose wisdom she respects more than she does her own.
I like Emma too – as you say, she’s bright and determined. And Mr Knightley is a very attractive hero!