“I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!”
’Pride and Prejudice’ (1813) is the absolutely iconic classic novel from the queen of romance herself, Jane Austen. With glamorous balls, family drama and Mr Darcy who could ask for more?
It follows the story of Elizabeth Benett, the second eldest sister (out of 5). Her family are invited to a ball where they meet Mr Bingley, who becomes rather smitten with the eldest sister Jane, and his enigmatic and brooding friend Mr Darcy. Mr Darcy is rather a catch as he earns £10,000 a year and is a handsome batchelor! Yet, he is overheard telling his friend that he doesn’t fancy any of the Benett sisters.
Bingley invites Jane to his house, where Darcy is staying as a guest. However, Jane quickly falls ill and is too poorly to leave Bingley’s house for a while, so Elizabeth travels to go be with her sister. Elizabeth and Darcy spend some time together and although on the surface they appear to not be able to stand one another, there is some romantic tension building here.
When Elizabeth and Jane return home they are greeted by Mr Collins, a young clergyman, who proposes to Elizabeth. She declines, hurting his pride.
Some military men are in town, and Elizabeth’s eye is catch by Mr Wickham. He tells Elizabeth that Mr Darcy cheated him out of his inheritance by manipulating his father, and this causes Elizabeth to distrust Darcy even more, despite him being alluring to her.
At the beginning of winter, Bingley and Darcy leave Bingley’s mansion and go to London. A further shock arrives with the news that Mr. Collins has become engaged to Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth’s best friend. Charlotte explains to Elizabeth that she is getting older and needs the match for financial reasons. Charlotte and Mr. Collins get married and Elizabeth promises to visit them at their new home.
Jane decides to visit Bingley in London as she misses him, but he does not turn up to visit her which upsets her.
Darcy and Elizabeth meet again and Darcy tells Elizabeth that the reason Bingley didn’t visit Jane was because Darcy told Bingley that Jane only wanted to be with him because of his money. Darcy then shockingly proposes to Elizabeth, which she quickly rejects and scolds Darcy for his actions.
Elizabeth receives a letter from Darcy apologising for meddling in Bingley and jane’s relationship and claims he only did so as he was looking out for his friend. He also explains that Elizabeth should be weary of Wickham as he eloped with Darcy’s sister when she was only 15 and took advantage of her. This causes Elizabeth to reevaluate her feelings towards Darcy, and she acts coldly towards Wickham.
The Bennett’s are shocked to find out that Elizabeth’s 15 year old sister, Lydia, has eloped with Wickham. Upon hearing the news, Darcy steps in and saves the day.
Bingley and Jane begin courting again and marry, and upon Darcy’s second proposal Elizabeth says yes. Everyone ends up married and happy.
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (The iconic first line)
“Their eyes instantly met, and the cheeks of both were overspread with the deepest blush.” (This one makes me smile)
“What a delightful library you have at Pemberley, Mr Darcy!”
“It ought to be good,” he replied, “it has been the work of many generations” (I like this because he is not talking about the actual library taking generations to build, rather hundreds of years of literature and story telling)
“They walked on, without knowing in what direction. There was to much to be thought, and felt, and said, to attention to any other objects”. (A classic lovely fairy-tale ending to the novel. Again, makes me smile)
I don’t know if you can tell, but I really love this book. I have read it about 3 times and I always get that fluttery happy feeling when I read about the quaint villages and the exciting character arc of Mr Darcy. It is the perfect book to cosy up to on a cold winters day around Christmas time with a cup of tea. There is a reason this is seen as a classic. The story is pleasant, with just the right amount of drama to keep it exciting. The Benett parents are the perfect injection of comedy into this world. Mr Darcy is the original Edward Cullen and Christian Grey: he’s dark, brooding and oh so intriguing to find out his secret. I think people are put off of reading old classic as perhaps the story will not be gripping or the language will be too complicated, however there is no need to worry about that in this book as it is an intriguing story and the language is easily-understandable and accessible. Austen actually received negative feedback when she published the book as it was seen as low-brow literature! You are immediately transported back into 19th century rural England. The text isn’t terribly long, and I absolutely recommend it to anyone looking for a feel-good classic novel!
Also, if you decide to watch it instead of reading, I 100% recommend the TV show starring Colin Firth. Not only is it the best adaptation as it actually uses a great deal of the dialogue from the book, but having it as a TV show rather than a film allows the story to take its time and not feel rushed. The slower pace fits the genre and time period better, and gives it a more book-feel.
Hope you enjoyed my first ever book review! Comment below what book you’d like me to do next.
Love from Evie x