“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
– Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
When is comes to the letter P, there was never going to any other choice but Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It is a book that has captured the hearts of millions of readers around the world. Austen has created what is arguably the most iconic and well-known first line in literature. What follows is a love story told with stunning Georgian grace; beautiful gowns, wealthy men, gossip and fabulous balls.
Pride and Prejudice is a love story we are all familiar with – girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl must overcome obstacles to get boy back. When Mr Bingley arrives in the district, he brings with him a friend, the dark and brooding Mr Darcy. The two gentlemen make lasting impressions on the two eldest Bennet girls although vastly different in their opinions. While Jane is quite taken with Mr Bingley’s cheery disposition, Elizabeth is offended by Mr Darcy’s indifference and distain for the situation he finds himself in. Elizabeth is determined to dislike him, especially when she learns of his meddling in her family affairs but after a series of misunderstandings and chance meetings, their affection for one another takes a turn for the better and all ends well by the end of the book.
In a society that is dominated by males, Austen gives a voice to the women in her story. The males are definitely outnumbered and Austen challenges perceptions with her subtle feminist lines. She presents the reader with all kinds of females; the pretty one; the funny one; the clever one; the bookish one; and the serious one. It is a time of complicated social rules that dictate the behaviour of all aspects of their lives. The poor Bennet family are constantly exposed to ridicule and judgement but for the most part, they are fairly unapologetic for their behaviour! Elizabeth is certainly embarrassed by her family at times but isn’t that what families are for?
Pride and Prejudice is one of those books I can pick up at any moment and be left with a smile on my face. It is a bright spark on a bad day and a complete and utter joy on a good one. It is the best kind of friendship, one that never wavers or demands, but consoles, reassures and comforts in times of need! It is a pleasure to read from start to finish!