Emma | Jane Austen
“Beautiful, clever, rich – and single – Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected.”
My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
“I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.”
I’ve done it. I’ve actually found my least favorite Jane Austen book. And strangely enough, it’s the book that many have deemed Austen’s most flawless work.
These are the things I will admit: Austen’s writing is indeed flawless. The characterizations of all her main characters, and even her secondary characters, is impeccable. The slow revelation of the plot is masterful. The mystery element is captivating and is done in such a way that the book has been crafted to be read more than once. The romance is weaved throughout the story, and is not at all overwhelming or unbelievable in any aspect. None of the romantic relationships solidified towards the end seem contrived and are, in fact, formed naturally.
In short, Emma is, without a doubt, Austen’s best work. So, how could I give it 3.5 stars? To be honest, this book doesn’t deserve my rating. It is a 4 star at the least and a 5 star at the most. HOWEVER, this book just wasn’t for me. After the whole Harriet and Mr. Elton fiasco in the beginning, my attention dropped away so fast I ended up sparknoting and skimming a good portion of the middle section but forced myself to read the ending, just to solve the little mysteries presented in the text. And I also wanted to see who ended up with whom.
To be frank, I was BORED. I’m not sure why, but it may have been the transition from Pride and Prejudice to Emma. My mind might have been expecting a similar story, but was left dissatisfied. So, I’ll read it again much later, and see where I stand with this one. But for now, I leave it with my 3.5 stars.
Persuasion | Jane Austen
“At twenty-seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen’s last completed novel. Set in the fashionable societies of Lyme Regis and Bath, Persuasion is a brilliant satire of vanity and pretension, but, above all, it is a love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities.”
My Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 1/2
“She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older.”
Persuasion is, most definitely, my second favorite Jane Austen novel. There is a maturity to the plot that I haven’t seen in her previous works. It’s easy to see that Ms. Austen had written this later in life.
Her characters are much more sophisticated and wizened by age. I love Anne Elliot as the heroine. She is older and much more experienced than Austen’s previous heroines. She has already been touched by love and the main romance is built on a revisitation of an old relationship. Though I wasn’t all that connected to Captain Wentworth as I was to Mr. Darcy, I still found him to be a swoon-worthy love interest. His character was a bit bland at times, but his blandness was overridden by his playful outbursts and romantic intentions towards Anne. His note towards the end is, by far, one of the most romantic love notes I’ve read in all of Jane Austen’s novels.
The writing was excellent, the characters were well-rendered, and the satire was more subtle in comparison to her other texts. Austen explores the nature of persuasion and its effects, and she also discusses the differences between class and status. There is a dialogue among the characters, particularly between Ms. Russell and Anne, that conveys a distinction between the younger and newer generations, in terms of marriage and economy, during the 19th century. I believe Persuasion has a multitude of themes that may interest any avid reader.
I sped through this novel, and I think I’ll hold it dear for years to come. I highly recommend this one. If Pride and Prejudice doesn’t suit your fancy, then this one surely will!
That’s all folks! For now, I won’t be reading any more Jane Austen novels. I’ll save Mansfield Park for another day. I’ll now focus my attentions on other classics I haven’t read yet, like 1984 and To Kill a Mockingbird. So be on the lookout for more classic reviews in the coming months 😀