Hey everyone, welcome back to my blog! I’ve been in a weird mood lately but I’ve been really wanting to talk about Jane Austen so I figured why not write a post about her books! The only problem? I haven’t read half of them! 😂 So, I decided why not read all of Austen’s books in publication order and finally see how I feel about her books!
So, I read them in pub order, no, I didn’t read her unfinished novels because I don’t want to do that to myself. What’s the point of getting attached to characters knowing that the story will never be finished? (by Austen, at least)
So, yeah, here’s a full Austen review! I hope you enjoy!
Sense and Sensibility
“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”
This was Jane Austen’s first published novel and you can tell, but that’s not to say this book isn’t really really good. The characters and plot are complex and nuanced. The narration is interesting and it still flaws me how Austen can write such an interesting book with so little dialogue, and not have me absolutely bored by page 10.
It felt a little long around the middle, but to be fair I think a lot of books get a bit slumpy in the middle, especially with this being over 400 pages (or, my copy is at least).
This definitely isn’t my favourite Austen novel but it’s certainly up there! I really enjoy Elinor as the main character and I respect her ability to take care of everyone around her, while also dealing with her own shit.
Ngl, I know this isn’t P&P so I know it’s not as popular by proxy but I defintiely think it deserves the same amounf of hype, though for different reasons. I thin kthe only real downside was the very quick ending. I’ll defintiely be re-reading this in the future!
Pride and Prejudice
“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
This is not necessary my favourite of Austens novels, but the one I re-read and re-watch the most. When I decided to do this post late last year and re-read or read fot the first time, all of Jane Austen’s finished published novels I figured this would be my favourite read of all the books I read but I honestly feel like something could beat this, even though I do love reading it.
There’s definitely more dialogue in this novel than there was in Sense and Sesibility but I actually think that really worked for this novel. S&S was mor eof a quiet novel whereas P&P is louder, if that makes sense? It’s amazing how well Jane Austen’s books read without all the dialogue.
I do think that this reads a lot faster than S&S and is also a lot funnier! as with a lot of Austen’s books this also takes place over a longer span of time than a lot of books and I really enjoy that because it makes the stoy feel a lot more real to me!
“Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.”
Okay, so this is where I officially started losing steam with my Jane Austen readalong that I created for myself. After reading the book I defintiely appreciated Fanny as a character more because I could step away from the actual book and sort of get some perspective. But, as I was actually reading the book I didn’t love Fanny at all. She came across as really weal most of the time, I could recognise that she cops a lot from the people around her but damn, she was just so WEAK. But, liek she wasn’t? She was just quiet and sotly strong, if that makes sense?
I don’t know, honestly. I feel like I might feel differently about Fanny if I read it again. But, honestly, I don’t see myself every re-reading this because in general I don’t love how women are talked about in this book – very weak and vulnerable and Fanny is VERY concerned with what Edmund thinks pretty much at all times. I also thnk this book was wayy too long!!
This book wasn’t bad but it sure as shit wasn’t good either. I can’t believe I’m saying this 1) because it’s Jane Austen and 2) because I used to love this story as a kid. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and this book honestly, just felt too long!
“I may have lost my heart, but not my self-control.”
This has definitely been my least favourite book in my Austen experience so far. I am not an Emma stan and I really don’t think I ever will be. I know she’s only 21 but I can’t forgive her total lack of awareness of her surroundings and the feelings of the people around her. I found her to be a totally unforgiving and selfish character, so while I love Jane Austen’s writing style Emma really ruined this book for me.
Also, disregarding the characters and just focusing on the actual book. I found that the chapters were really long! This book was shorther than a lot of the others but the chapters and my general dislike of Emma make this book feel a lot longer!
“The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid.”
So far in my Jane Austen reading experience, I’ve had the least amount of thoughts on this one. Usually I feel relatively passionate about how I feel about the characters, plot or the book in general, but I have basically nothing to say??? Except that I don’t really understand why Henry Tilney would want to marry Catherine and that this is very very low-Gothic kind of gothic-parody and you definitely don’t need to read Udolpho to understand it.
I used to enjoy this as a kid but honestly, as an adult I think it’s very naive and unenjoyable and yeah, I don’t think I’ll ever be re-reading this one either.
“I am half agony, half hope…”
I have no idea what to say. I went into this little experiment because I was in a Jane Austen mood and I wanted to see if anything could beat Pride and Prejudice and oh my god I think we’ve found the winner!
I recently buddy-watched The Lake House with Destiny and it inspired us to also buddy-read Persuasion because of the amazing parallel in the movie. I have read this before and I knew I enjoyed it, but honestly, re-reading this has really opened my eyes to the types of Austen books that I like and what it is about them that I enjoy. I think it’s the open inevitability of two characters meeting and falling in love that we have in this book. We have an amazingly strong main character in Anne Elliot, and an amazingly patient if a little heartbroken love interest in Captain Wentworth. I loved reading this and I already can’t wait to re-read it again sometime soon!
Honestly, I finished my re-read of Persuasion back in March and I’ve already had the urge to re-read it again 3 times since then, plus I’ve really fallen in love with the 2007 adaptation recently and I highly recommend it!
Ranking (1 – best, 6 – worst)
- Pride and Prejudice
- Sense & Sensibility
- Northanger Abbey
- Mansfield Park
Also, here’s a totally random thought but I thought I’d add this little note here because I’ve never really thought about it before, and especially not with classics in general. I would count Northanger Abbey and Emma as YA. I think because they’re classics, Austen’s books don’t read the same way YA or Adult reads now, but those 2 books read the most teen-friendly and would also be the easiest to read if you’re a teen.
I don’t really know where I was going with this random note, but I just thought it was interesting that I’ve always classified classics as “classics” instead of thinking about what age category they fall into. I know we have “Childrens Classics” like Peter Pan (questionable) and The Secret Garden but that can’t make everything else just a classic and acceptable for anyone over the age of 12, surely?