I spent a wonderful morning in bed finishing this book. I really enjoyed it. It was fun and light and full of sarcasm. Poor Catherine- so naive and gullible that people take advantage of her. Yet this made me love her even more. And it was refreshing to read a Jane Austen novel where people are basically as they seem (to the reader at least if not to Catherine). Henry Tilney did not turn into a Wickham or a Willoughby. Isabella and John were transparent from the start. General Tilney might have been the only character that was somewhat difficult to discern – but learning is motivations at the end were not surprising.
And I love the effect of Catherine’s overactive imagination. It may have caused some embarrasment to her, but it was entertaining. And I’m one of those peope who can’t watch horror films because of the effect they have on my imagination when I try to go to bed that night.
I’m happy and sad that this was my last Jane Austen novel. I love her style, humor, and ability to capture the feellings each character has in their interactions with one another. I also love how visible she as a narrator was toward the end of this novel. This doesn’t work in some novels, but it does here.
Having read all 6 novels, I believe my order of preference is:
1. Sense and Sensibility
2. Pride and Prejudice
3. Northanger Abbey
6. Mansfield Park
Mansfield part is a distant sixth. I really didn’t care for it. But the other 5 I love and I know that order will change as I go back and re-read them all and decide I love the one I just finished the most.
Finishing NA also meant that I achieved my goal of clearing my nightstand. 🙂
I’m now reading Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri along with War and Peace.
If you loved your Austen journey there are two books I'd recommend. One is "Becoming Jane Austen" which is a fascinating biography of Jane. It goes beyond her life but delves into the greater familial machinations that left her family in relative poverty, the supposed relationship with Tom Lefroy and how Pride and Prejudice was autobiographical but not as we think. It also talks about the autobiographical nature of Persuasion (which has surpassed P&P as my fave Austen) I also really enjoyed "Reading Lolita in Tehran" in which a literary professor works with a group of young women, and you see these ladies journey and the history of modern Iran all through the books they study, Henry James, Nabokov, and Austen. Her insights to P&P are fascinating and unique. I enjoyed the perspective. Also recommended: the 5 hr BBC production of P&P as you see the great subtlties of the regency relationships, and both the Persuasion with Ciaran Hinds (because Anne is brilliant) and the one with Rupert Penry-Jones (as his Captain Wentworth is just <sigh>). The new Sense and Sensibility (done by ITV) is good but the Emma Thompson one has some great side characters.I'm glad you enjoyed your months in Janesville.
I've seen the movie (don't you hate when you hear that) of Becoming Jane Austen, but I would like to read the book. I did not like Reading Lolita. But there were different reasons for that than her literary criticisms.I love both the BBC and the new P&P (although I know most JA purists agree that the BBC one is much better). I watched one Persuasion movie last summer after I read it but I can't remember which one. I've only seen the Emma Thompson S&S.I'm also going to read her unfinished novels and her letters. Those are waiting on my bookshelf. As is the annotated P&P for my re-read. It's been a few years on that one so I'm excited.
I own both the P & P's and also Becoming Jane the movie (which made me cry) so you won't hear any critique from me. 🙂 I actually thought the newer P&P had a better Darcy, as you picked up on his social awkwardness. The newer Northanger Abbey on DVD is good too. You see what an imagination Catherine has. Poor girl. Henry Tilney is awesome too.
Colin Firth will always be my Darcy. 🙂