Myself and a friend recently saw Lucy Worsley speak about her new book relating to the houses Jane Austen lived in during her lifetime; it was such a fascinating talk and covered the houses themselves as well as very small biographical details about Jane herself. If you ever get a chance to hear Lucy Worsley speak I would definitely recommend that you go, we really enjoyed it, as did some of my teachers who went along too.
The talk got me thinking about how much I really appreciate Jane Austen not just for her stories which go far beyond tales of romance but also how she was a woman who carved out her own future without a husband which was very rare in the period. She really was a modern-day feminist in many ways although she would never have thought of herself in those terms, although that was a question asked at the end of the talk funnily enough.
The first Jane Austen book I read was ‘Pride and Prejudice’ for school. I didn’t expect to like it, I thought I would have to skim read it and possibly read a detailed review to be honest; so I was quite shocked when I found myself gradually becoming immersed in the world of Lizzie Bennett. I found her to be an extremely likeable character straight away and even her witty sense of humour (which I like to think is also true of myself, sometimes). I think it is interesting how even Austen’s humour is still very timeless, although the scenarios in Pride and Prejudice are very different to the modern day; the jokes are still very entertaining. I liked her independent nature and want to control her own destiny despite external pressures, I think this is still relatable to today in some ways.
My favourite Austen book is probably ‘Emma’. I adored this book which was recommended to me by one of my Classics teacher; I even got one of my friends to read it after I had finished it and she also enjoyed it. Emma is more of a light-hearted book centred around Emma Woodhouse who is a very independent woman who enjoys match making in her spare time which leads to many entertaining and difficult situations; the scene in Box Hill makes me emotional every time! My favourite hero so to speak is Mr Knightley (also my Classics teachers’ favourite too). He is such a witty, funny, intelligent and attractive guy; no more needs to be said really.
I have also read ‘Northanger Abbey’ which I thoroughly enjoyed, Mr Tilney is honestly such a sweetheart and with such a keen interest in fashion, (what a keeper). I am currently reading ‘Mansfield Park’ which I am enjoying so far, even though A levels leave me with little time to read what I want to.