I began with Pride and Prejudice. Seemed logical, since I wanted to compare it to James' mystery. I'd only read it once before, I think while I was in college and in love with the movie You've Got Mail, which references it. I wasn't a big fan, and for years my favorite Austen novel had been Persuasion. When I was in college, I watched the British version of P&P starring Colin Firth, and I did like the Keira Knightley/Matthew Macfadyen version pretty well, as I mentioned here and here a few years ago. But I didn't particularly love the story.
What was wrong with me?
In case you're not up on your Austen, this is the one where Elizabeth Bennet spends most of the book disliking Mr. Darcy because she finds him proud and cold. Mr. Darcy spends most of the book trying to convince himself he shouldn't love Lizzy because her family is unsuitable.
What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said a hundred times, and said better than I ever can? Not much. I'm amazed by Austen's ability to make ordinary people so compelling. I so admire her grasp of how details and small events build up to bring about important changes in hearts, minds, and lives. And I'm intrigued by her ability to allow a book's events unfold slowly and yet keep me enthralled.
Also, I'm totally in love with Mr. Darcy now. Just FYI.
(Originally posted on Hamlette's Soliloquy on Jun 14, 2012.)