Persuasion By Jane Austen Review!

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Persuasion (1818) by Jane Austen is the last book Austen fully completed.


The novel follows the romance of Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth. The pair had been engaged seven years prior to the beginning of the novel. At the time, he was not rich and hadn’t many connections in society. Anne had loved him but broke off the engagement on the advice of Lady Russell. Fast forward almost a decade on and he is doing rather well for himself while Anne’s family are not so good financially. Can the two have a second chance at love together?

It is a brilliant read. I haven’t read all of Austen’s books yet but so far, this is my favourite of hers. I did like the rest of them so far too though. But this book has so much emotion in it and a great message that as much as taking advice is great, sometimes you need to trust yourself and what is in your heart. Classism is a major theme in this book and my god that Lady Russell was one classist soul. I couldn’t stand her. She stood in the way of Anne’s and Frederick’s love because of her class discrimination and I always got the impression she thought she was smart and superior to both Frederick and Anne in different ways. I also find it interesting how peoples’ attitudes change towards Frederick and yet he is still the same person as he has always been. I like that Anne always seen him as a person and not as his class or his status. I felt for her that she was pressured into giving him up but at the same time I was mad with her for allowing people to be ruling her life like that. Did that mean I couldn’t understand why it happened? No. When put under pressure, it can be difficult to go by your heart and do what is right for you but she did hurt Frederick by her cowardice. And to let go of the person you love due to cowardice and people pleasing didn’t show the best side to her in fairness.

In saying that, Anne was nineteen the first time around and the way she let Lady Russell walk on her and tell her how to live her life probably showed that she wasn’t mature enough for marriage. Which is fair enough, she was nineteen. Because as she matures, she realises that when you really love somebody you fight for them and you put their needs before the likes of Lady Russell. It’s not a good basis really for when one does commit to someone whether that’s through marriage or living together because arguably the old Anne would let Frederick down to save face where the new Anne might even defend her husband or at the very least let him defend himself without making excuses for him that he probably wouldn’t want made. In the years they were apart, Anne grew a spine and I was proud of her for that. So while it was sad that years were lost, maybe it was the best time to see if things could work out between them. And I was rooting for the happy-ever-after for them of course.


I love this book. It’s a must-read.


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Emma By Jane Austin Review!

Emma – Jane Austen – 1001 Books to Read Before You Die


Emma (1815) by Jane Austen is a wonderful classic read.

It follows the story of the title character Emma Woodhouse who is playing Cupid with everyone in her life. She has just made the match between her governess Miss. Taylor (now Mrs. Weston) and Mr. Weston when the book begins. She is living at home with her father when she takes up a new subject in seventeen-year-old Harriet Smith and begins to search for Harriet’s husband. Harriet is in love with Robert Martin who feels the same and proposes to Harriet. However, Emma has other ideas and tries to get her interested in Mr. Elton. Harriet takes her advice and turns down Robert’s proposal. We also meet Jane Fairfax who lives with her aunt Miss. Bates and her grandmother Mrs. Bates. Her love life is something of mystery throughout. Emma’s plans go a bit AWOL when Harriet begins to have feelings for Mr. Knightley who Emma is in love with but doesn’t realise that she is.

The book deals with a lot of important issues like class, gender roles and the ‘Irish Question’. Austen’s writing is so great because she deals with issues like this in an inwoven way with the conversations. She doesn’t make them some far off thing but then in the same instance she does. It’s intriguing how she does it. Romance and love are obviously themes of the book and she weaves a lot of these issues into these themes as well as the theme of society. Her books are like a study in people done through fiction. Some of the more dramatically, soppy sentiments I can’t see people saying even in the time but I could be wrong. But I will admit I find it hilarious, like a guilty pleasure to read them all going overboard about everyone. Even those they don’t know that well. But at the same time, the characters are recognizable too. For example, we all know a Miss. Bates. Someone who never shuts the hell up but is super adorable at the same time. We all know a Mr. Woodhouse who hates the parties and is super health conscious bordering on the obsessive. We all know an Emma Woodhouse who interferes in everybody’s business or a Jane Fairfax who is shrouded in mystery.

I think my favourite characters were Harriet and Jane Fairfax. I wasn’t overly invested in their stories but for most of the book my favourite character was Mr. Knightley. I liked his opinionated nature. He was the only one who seemed to actually be himself and not be trying to people please and he was interesting. But near the end, he made a strange comment about been in love with Emma since she was thirteen at least and considering he is quite a bit older than Emma that put me very much off him. It came so late in the novel that I found myself thinking that Jane Austen created an amazing character and then totally destroyed him at the end. Emma is not a character I like but who I totally think was the best person to be the protagonist. She is interesting, complex and involved in everybody’s business so there is lots of story to tell there. But I do find her selfish and so into how people appear in society that she forgets that these people have feelings. It feels like she is moving people around on a chess board in order to create a soap opera she can watch. That’s fantastic if you are a writer, not so fantastic with real people. The way she treated Harriet and Robert was really awful.

This book is really great. You can tell that Jane Austen was very invested in the characters and that she had fleshed out their backstories very well including many of the minor characters. You really get to know these people. I liked how she had a Miss. Bates in a book of all these people obsessed with marriage. I liked the subtle mystery in the story about Jane’s story. I liked how she wrote Emma’s ‘reality’ versus the actual realities and I liked the attention to detail. You can literally see the scenes before you.

A must-read.


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Lady Susan By Jane Austen Review!

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Lady Susan (1871) by Jane Austen is a short read where the story is told through letters.


I found the structure great firstly. It’s done a good bit but it’s not a structure you see overly regularly so it was refreshing to read a book in this style. I don’t think I’ve ever read a full book in this structure before. The writer in me said this is a challenge Austen took on because it’s difficult to get all the information you need to put across in just letter form. But it works well. I didn’t feel like the reader was left out of the picture about anything going on and you get a great sense of all the personalities of the characters and the politics and dynamics at play between them all.

Lady Susan is an interesting character. She is looking to marry for a second time but hasn’t much care for her daughter Frederica’s happiness as she is trying to send her into an unhappy and unsuited marriage. I don’t like Lady Susan but I think for the book, she carries much of it and without the drama she creates there wouldn’t be much of a story. That isn’t to say that the story isn’t good. It’s great because Austen created this character who everything revolves around and who has everyone in a tizzy. Even though you may not like Lady Susan, you probably will still like the book. Just maybe don’t expect to go on a journey of rooting for her like with many of Austen’s heroines.

Lady Susan is ruthless, selfish and all for herself. On the redeeming side however she is funny, smart and she goes against the grain. But she is a terrible mother and I feel so sorry for Frederica who seems a nice girl and just needs encouragement and support which she won’t find from her mother.

I always find the way they go on with each other in these books very funny. The false politeness, the OTT appreciations of each other and the equally OTT apologies which never seem sincere. Apart from when someone’s life is been ruined, I actually find these things very funny and they give me a good laugh. And that’s a good thing when you’re reading. It’s an accurate portrait I’d imagine even though I didn’t live back then but I can’t help it. It’s kind of like a guilty pleasure to laugh at the phoniness and the ludicrous and over dramatic feel of it all. And Austen doesn’t disappoint here on that score. Her subtle satire is fantastic as always.

I love Jane Austen’s writing in general. I love the way she crafts novels about emotional entanglements between people so well and shows all these perspectives that make for great drama and true reflections of how the different opinions and sides influence any conversations or relationships in her novels. It’s often thought as trivial writing about matters like this but it is one of the most difficult. To do this, you have to really go inside different types of peoples’ minds to the best of your ability and write it accurately and authentically. She is a genius at this and I admire that very much in her writing.

As always, there is great humour in this book. Austen sprinkles dry wit throughout especially through Lady Susan. The letters are perfectly positioned and tell the story very well. Each letter by a different person feels like it was told from a different perspective and it’s just gorgeously written. This may not be one of Austen’s most famous books but it’s a hidden gem and well worth a read.

Excellent write.


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Death Comes to Pemberley By P.D. James Review!

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Death Comes to Pemberley (2011) by P.D. James is a wonderful mystery adapted from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.


The book starts six years after the close of Pride and Prejudice in October 1803. Elizabeth Bennet has married Fitzwilliam Darcy and the beginning of the book gets readers up to speed on the characters, their families and their situations at the current time. And then comes the murder of Captain Martin Denny and the murder mystery element of the novel begins …


I absolutely adore this novel. It combines two of my favourite reading materials in murder mysteries and Jane Austen. Kudos to James for dreaming up such a wonderful and intriguing plot. Very clever and creative idea. She also has written the book very well. As a Jane Austen fan I appreciated the way her writing in this book was so like Austen’s. She clearly researched Austen’s style of writing very well and that helped the cohesive feel of the novel as a continuation of Austen’s most well-known book.


The mystery itself is also great. Right up to the end I didn’t figure out who the guilty party/parties was which is fantastic for a mystery. The book is quite long but it is engaging and engrossing. It holds your attention very well. There is many suspects but James shields the killer/s very well which makes for a great read. Alongside the mystery there is a historical drama very much in the style of Austen. The combination of the two is amazing and through the two sides of the story we get a great insight into what the characters are like.


This book has had many negative reviews. I suppose James was always going to fall short taking on a classic author like Austen in the eyes of many Austen fans. It was certainly a huge challenge she set herself but I personally think she pulled it off. I found it a really good read and it was lovely to see Elizabeth, Darcy and co in action again.


A great read for James and Austen fans.


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The Jane Austen Book Club By Karen Joy Fowler Review!

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The Jane Austen Book Club (2004) by Karen Joy Fowler is an entertaining and light-heartened read.


As a huge Jane Austen fan, I found this book a joy to read. It follows a Jane Austen book club in Davis, California as they read her six classic books and along the way we get to know about each of the characters and their lives. There is a great variety of characters with varying perspectives on both life and Jane Austen books which makes for a very intriguing plot. In the club we meet Jocelyn who founded the book club. She has been friends with Sylvia since they were 11 and brought Sylvia and her husband Daniel, who Sylvia is now getting a divorce from, together. She loves dogs and breeds Rhodesian Ridgebacks and has never married/cohabitated, fell in love or became a mother. But now in her fifties her selfless streak and love of romance and bringing couples together starts her on a mission to get Sylvia together with the only man in the club Grigg, a man in his 40s who is wonderfully nerdy and met Jocelyn first outside a science fiction convention. However there is chemistry … only it’s between Jocelyn and Grigg instead. Sylvia’s and Daniel’s daughter Allegra who is 30 and is an artist and all-round adventure seeker, is also in the club and much like her mother is going through some romantic struggles in her life as she has left her girlfriend Corinne and moved back in with her mother. The youngest in the club is Prudie who is 28. She is a French teacher in a high school and is married to Dean but she is also having romantic problems and begins to become attracted to one of her students. And from the youngest to the oldest member of the club, we meet yoga lover Bernadette who is 67. Married many times, Bernadette is totally chilled out and loves a good natter.


I have to say that the idea of a book club to any reader is a brilliant starting point. It’s very easy to relate to for anyone who loves reading even if it isn’t Jane Austen books they like. So that was a clever idea. My favourite character was Allegra because I could relate a lot to her (adventure seeking in sky diving and rock climbing aside!) but I also liked Grigg. But I liked them all and they are a great mix of characters together and their interactions are great. There is a bit of everything in this book from romance to comedy and Jane Austen and even a bit of sci-fi book recommendations from Grigg.


I absolutely loved it. An interesting fact that I read about this book is that in 2004 it was published on April 22nd which was my 14th birthday. So that was cool. Included in this book is a guide to the novels, a collection of opinions on Austen’s work and questions for discussion from each of the characters. All of these pieces were very interesting and kept with the book club theme.


A delightfully fun read.


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Northanger Abbey By Jane Austen Review!

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Northanger Abbey (1817) by Jane Austen is a stunningly written story by one of the queens of historical romance. She finished this novel in 1803, the first of her novels to be finished but it was published after her death. Around the time this story was written Gothic novels were very popular and this novel was written as a satire to those novels.

I love horror movies and the gothic element to this novel is something I love as well as the subtle humour in it. It is an incredibly cleverly-written story following the protagonist Catherine Morland who loves Gothic novels like Ann Radcliffe’s Mysteries of Udolpho. Now seventeen, Catherine meets Henry Tilney and soon the Tilneys have asked her to come to stay at Northanger Abbey where they live. The fact that it is an abbey causes Catherine’s overly imaginative mind to think that it will be haunted and a horror-filled experience. She soon finds out that there is rooms in the house which no one goes into and that these rooms were the rooms of Mrs. Tilney who died nine years prior. Catherine puts two and two together and comes up with a hundred in thinking that General Tilney killed his wife.

Soon Catherine comes to her senses but Henry tells her that his parents were very much in love. Catherine leaves the abbey full with guilt and fears that has lost Henry who she loves due to her wild suspicions of his father.

I don’t wish to spoil the outcome of the novel so I’ll stop there. It is a wonderfully intriguing and page-turning novel as well as a coming-of-age novel. Austen wonderfully wrote a great commentary in an entertaining way on how reading for entertainment is great but it must not be confused with reality. She showed perfectly how the world of fiction can sometimes get the better of impressionable minds and how some people, bored with their own lives, try to make their own lives more interesting by relating their life to things they read in novels.

This was Austen’s shortest novel and can be read in just a few sittings. It’s really interesting and the pictures in the scenes are wonderfully painted. A great short read.


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