I love the classics. Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, and of course, Little House on the Prairie were my favorites as a child. Then in high school, it was Gone with the Wind. Strong female leads and a historical setting…I just couldn’t get enough.
So it’s really quite surprising that I didn’t read Jane Austen until last summer. That’s right – it wasn’t until I was 30 years old that I read Pride and Prejudice.
I have to admit, it took me a while to get into the book. The language was so different…I was out of practice and found it hard to understand. I found that watching the old BBC miniseries as I read helped immensely, and when I finished the book, I borrowed my sister-in-law’s copy of the Colin Firth version, and finally saw Mr. Darcy dripping wet, the scene I kept hearing about over and over.
And I was hooked. I haven’t read any other Jane Austen books yet, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a few related pieces.
The Lizzie Bennet Diaries: This is not a book, but a YouTube series. And it’s pretty spectacular. It’s a modern version of Pride and Prejudice, told through short YouTube videos. So genius. (And, when I clicked over the website, I found out they have written a book - The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet: A Novel - and that they’re doing an adaptation of Little Women, too!)
This was billed as “Pride and Prejudice meets Downton Abbey” and it did not disappoint. It’s the story of one of the Bennet family’s servants, Sarah, and could definitely stand on its own. Although the fact that Pride and Prejudice is going on in the background adds another element of interest, and truly affects Sarah’s story, as well. I bought this for my sister-in-law for Christmas and then demanded that she let me borrow it. And I’m glad I did.
This was the Blogger Book Club book for July, and it was such a great choice. Most of the book was set in modern England, and has everything I love in a novel – a little love, a little mystery, and yes, a strong female lead. The novel also included flashbacks to Jane’s day, and really, Jane’s life. The modern day plot really could have stood alone, but again, adding the “Jane Austen” element made the story even better. Two thumbs waaayyy up for this one. (Check out the reviews from Kirby, Cassie and Jessica, too!)
Any other suggestions for an Austen fangirl like me?