The Jane Austen resurgence was all the rage when I was in high school! Other authors started publishing fan fiction based off her characters, new film renditions of her work took to the silver screen, even books about people reading her books became popular! I began reading her because, at age fourteen, I was bored one day at my mother’s house, and an old Reader’s Digest copy of Pride & Prejudice was lying around – literally the only thing to read. Once I got past the archaic dialect (I had never read a classic prior to this!), I found it quite enjoyable.
Pride & Prejudice is my second-favorite Austen novel. It tells the story of Lizzie Bennet and her sisters and all of their romantic escapades. Learning about the courtship and marriage culture of nineteenth century upper-class England was both humorous and fascinating. And of course, what fourteen-year-old girl could resist falling in love with the proud and attractively flawed Mr. Darcy?
Sense & Sensibility is my favorite Austen novel. I felt it was easier to read than Pride & Prejudice, as the character interactions seemed to move more swiftly and hold more tangible emotion. I was also completely surprised by the ending! It tells the story of two sisters, one frivolous and one more sensible, and how their romantic experiences alter and balance them. I really enjoyed it when I read it around age sixteen.
Emma is the story of a young woman who wishes to be a match-maker among her friends, but her matches all go wrong. This is a very popular and well-loved novel, but I personally found it a wee bit tedious!
Persuasion is about a woman named Anne, who was persuaded by her family to reject the man she loved, Wentworth, due to his status. Some years later, however, she is re-introduced to him, and finds she still has feelings for him. I couldn’t really connect to the characters in this one.