Last year I took part in Advent with Austen but only managed to read four of Jane Austen’s wonderful novels. To be honest, I was starting to feel a bit Austened out and was thankful when the month was over and I could pick up a completely different type of book. This year, on the lead up to Halloween, I was looking for a slightly spooky read, perfect for cuddling up with in the evenings, and from my first reading of Northanger Abbey a few years ago, I thought it was just the thing!
My second reading of Northanger Abbey didn’t engage my interest as much. I remember the book being full of tension and creepiness. Instead, the ‘creepy’ parts are rather silly, which I’m sure is the point, showing the ‘heroine’s’ naivety and over active imagination. I was disappointed that I didn’t get the same feel from the book, but still enjoyed the read, even if it was a bit slow. Continue reading
One thing about Advent with Austen that I was really looking forward to was watching the 1995 Pride and Prejudice TV series. I had never seen it and had heard some marvellous things… especially about Colin Firth as a certain Mr. Darcy. I also decided to re-watch the 2005 film with Keira Knightley and Matthew Macfadyen.
Within five minutes, I knew that I was going to love the 1995 version of this much loved book. It is immediately clear that the casting for the Bennet family was chosen brilliantly. It is almost unbearable to watch the high-pitched, shrieking Alison Steadman, who plays the annoying Mrs. Bennet superbly. Benjamin Whitrow is also fantastic as her quiet and sarcastic husband, forever teasing and making fun of her. The irritating daughter, Lydia is played by Julia Sawalha who is excellent and almost, but not quite as irritating as her mother. Continue reading
This is the fourth book that I read for Advent with Austen. Unfortunately, I did not finish it in time! Christmas is always a distraction, but this isn’t the only excuse I have for taking so long to read Mansfield Park. I think I was just feeling a bit tired of Jane Austen. However sharp and witty her writing is, and however engaging the storyline, there is only so much romance and society that I can take – even when Austen is poking fun.
Mansfield Park is different from the other Austen books I have read. It is mostly set in the home of Sir Thomas Bertram, where he lives with his docile wife, two sons and two daughters. Living nearby is the unforgettable Mrs. Norris, Lady Bertram’s pushy, money saving sister who seems to be included in all of the family’s decision making. Continue reading
For Advent with Austen, I decided upon two versions of Sense and Sensibility to watch; the much loved 1995 adaptation with some very talented actors, and the more recent 2008 BBC TV serial. Having heard good things about the 2008 adaptation, I decided to start with that one. The episodes were also a perfect length to look forward to after work for a few nights.
Pride and Prejudice is the most popular of Austen’s novels and the most re-told. Therefore, when I first read it quite a few years ago I was determined to not like it! When I look back on my feelings of the book, I thought Elizabeth Bennet was selfish, rude and not at all a heroine for women to be proud of. Now that I have read the book a second time, I am rather ashamed.
I think the reason the plot has translated so well to all sorts of different fan fictions and adaptations is because it is a story that can be believed in the modern day. Elizabeth Bennet is the second eldest in a family of five sisters. She is a good natured, pretty young woman who knows her own mind and is not afraid to show it. On first meeting the rich and exceedingly proud Mr. Darcy, she takes an immediate dislike to him, but who would blame her after he insults her quite openly? This dislike is carried on through most of the book, even as Mr. Darcy’s feeling towards her change. Continue reading
I like to think of Persuasion as a bit of a back-to-front love story. There is no gradual falling in love and no eyelash fluttering flirtations leading up to an engagement – at least not for Anne, the pretty and polite protagonist. There may be girlish flirtations and gossip involving the other girls in her circle, but Anne’s heart was taken seven long years earlier, and now can never love another. The man in question is Frederick Wentworth, a good looking and decent enough man, but who at the time had “nothing but himself to recommend him”. At the age of nineteen, young Anne was persuaded by her father and her loyal friend Lady Russell to pull out of the engagement. Continue reading
When I found out it was the 200th anniversary of this much celebrated classic, I immediately hurried to my bookshelf to check that I still had my, as yet, unopened copy. With a thrill of excitement, I found it among all of my other unread books. Now you may be shocked, but I have never actually read Sense and Sensibility. It’s one of those books that has been on my To Read list ever since I can remember, so it was nice to have an excuse to finally read it!
I loved the 1995 film adaptation when I was younger, even if I didn’t understand all the complicated love triangles. The pretty costumes and idyllic locations were what appealed to me most. So I was very happy to discover that the book itself recreated the lovely surroundings of the cottage at Barton with all the warmth that I remembered. Continue reading