This is my third Jane Austen book. I hadn’t planned to read another one until next summer, but suddenly they’ve started a Jane Austen book club at my library, so I wanted to read this before the 13th so I can attend that afternoon.
I’m not sure whether I like this one or Emma better, though both are better than Persuasion. The book is the typical Austenesque plot – romances, families, betrayals, and an eventual happy ending for all. No need, really, to hash it all out.
(Okay, I admit it – Jane Austen really is the chic-lit of the 1800s.)
I have a hard time reading Austen books. The language is so maddeningly slow! I love the plots, but at the same time, they take me forever to read. I’ve been reading this book for three weeks now, and took time off to read both Loved Walked In and The Tales of Beedle the Bard on breaks from S&S. That isn’t to say I didn’t like it. I did. I’d seen the movie, so I knew what was going to happen, but I was still as anxious as the slow prose of Austen allowed me to be. I can see why die-hard Austen fans love it.
A note on Austen books in general:
I am really glad I don’t live in Austen’s time period and social class. Beyond the oddity of marrying one’s cousins, I just don’t think I could handle the small-talk of the day. It’s so oppressively polite! I don’t mind politeness, but my god! It’s insane! Everyone has to say one thing when they mean another; they speak contrary to what they feel; they must resist even when they want to accept…and on…and on…it’s a nightmare! I would never have survived. I was actually really happy to find a character in this Austen book who was a lot like me – Marianne Dashwood. She’s the first Austen character I’ve been able to relate to. She had no regards for propriety, she felt everything so strongly, she lived according to her passions, she was blunt and honest instead of passive-aggressively polite, and she was so full of life. Of course, there were downfalls in that – she was quite blind to reason and oftentimes didn’t see the traps she laid for herself – but all in all, I admired Marianne more than any other Austen character I’ve read. She was a breath of fresh air in a rather stifling environment.