Author: Jane Austen
Genres: Fiction, Classics
Pub. Date: 1813 (read Dec. 2020 on Audible)
Narrator: Claire Foy & Cast
I’ve read 3 Jane Austen’s in the last month and the narratives are already starting to run into each other in my mind, so I figured it’s time I write some of my reviews.
P&P was not my first Austen, but it was the first that I’ve read and loved. For some reason I seem to have an interest for classics only in audio form and I listened to both Emma and S&S in the last two years. The version of Emma I listened to was free and while I listened to the whole audiobook, I found it a little tedious. I followed that up with Rosamond Pike’s version of S&S and had even less luck and DNFed at 60%.
So I’m not sure what possessed me to make another attempt, but when I saw all 6 books available for 1 credit and narrated by a full cast, I couldn’t resist. I’ve always felt that Jane Austen aught to be an author I should love. Her wit and sarcastic commentary about social class, wealth, and romance just screams my kind of book and I’m thrilled to have finally realized my love for her!
I can’t recommend these audiobooks enough! I’m halfway through and have loved them all so far. They’re each narrated by a different actress and feature a full cast for the characters and dialogue. I do find Austen’s casts a little daunting at the start of each book in trying to keep all the characters straight, so I think the full cast has helped immensely in this regard. Claire Foy does an excellent job narrating P&P and to date the cast of P&P was also my favourite. Especially the actress who plays Elizabeth, I thought she did a wonderful job!
Apparently I’ve read retellings of P&P and seen the movie, and yet have never picked up the original text. I watched the Kiera Knightly movie in high school and hated it, but I’ve resolved to rewatch it now that I’ve actually read it as I’ve heard it’s quite good. I’m tempted too by the mini series because I think Colin Firth is just the best Mr. Darcy, but I’m not convinced I’ll ever find the time to watch the whole thing.
So despite already knowing the story, I loved this so much more than I expected! There are a lot of subtleties with the family that I never picked up on in the past and I found myself so amused by Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins. Austen’s humour is something I’d read about but never really fully appreciated until this read through. Her characters are both hilarious and exhausting – it’s a wonder women don’t agree to the first marriage proposal that comes their way because the whole process of ensnaring a husband seems so tiring and tedious.
So I laughed a lot at the secondary characters, was enthralled by the drama of it all, and fell totally in love with both Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. I didn’t realize Austen’s novels were so full of villains and I definitely got caught up in the intrigue of it all. I love that despite knowing her characters are all going to have happy endings, I never know which characters I can truly trust and to never let your first impression of a character carry too much weight.
I’m not going to both getting into a plot synopsis, we all know the story of P&P, but I found myself much more endeared to Mr. Darcy in this book. I feel like some of the retellings and other renditions don’t quite capture the goodness of his character and despite feeling resolved not to like him, I found myself falling for him just as strongly as Elizabeth.
The novel highlights for me were (in no particular order):
– Mr. Collins assured proposal to Elizabeth
– Mr. Darcy’s unexpected and insulting proposal to Elizabeth
– Mrs. Bennet blaming absolutely everyone but herself for her family’s failures and her general ridiculousness
– The Gardiners goodness
– Elizabeth telling Lady Catherine to suck it
– Mr. Darcy’s selflessness in trying to help the Bennet family at the end
– Lydia being an idiot
– Jane’s sweetness
– Mr. Bennet supporting Elizabeth when she declines Mr. Collins
– Elizabeth’s feisty character