“Happiness in marriage is entirely a matter of chance. If the dispositions of the parties are ever so well known to each other, or ever so similar beforehand, it does not advance their felicity in the least. They always continue to grow sufficiently unlike afterwards to have their share of vexation, and it is better to know as little as possible of the defects of the person with whom you are to pass your life.”
Charlotte to Elizabeth, Chapter 6
There are five Bennet daughters to be married off and their mother holds this responsibility tightly to her aggrieved chest. The eldest, Jane, is a beauty and she finds herself drawn to the agreeable and rich Mr. Bingley. Our heroine, Elizabeth, is next in line, but with no immediate prospects past her cousin, the silly Mr. Collins. Elizabeth does lock horns with Bingley’s friend Mr. Darcy and takes great delight in teasing him. The three youngest daughters and their mother lack propriety and there is little hope for an advantageous match for the three of them.
There are so many complex characters in this novel and I loved them all. I admit that I did not immediately love Elizabeth, but she grew on me rather quickly. She made fast judgements, but was not above admitting miscalculations. And Mr. Darcy, well, what’s not to love really? A smart, handsome, and wealthy gentleman who would move Heaven and earth to make me happy? Sign me up! I loved Mr. Bennet’s partiality toward Elizabeth, especially when her mother so completely undervalued her. And Lady Catherine was a great haughty antagonist.
This is a 19th century English classic. It takes aim at the aristocracy and the many social customs of the day. Were that to be all that it was it would be a classic, but what makes it so well-beloved is how well it has aged. I loved the characters and the plot was fantastic. There was a beautiful progression and the longer I read the faster the pages turned.
I’ve seen the BBC miniseries (Hello, Colin Firth!) and the more recent one with Keira Knightly as Elizabeth and enjoyed them both. Now after reading the book I think I might need watch the BBC version again. This is the first Austen book I’ve read and I loved it. The only thing keeping it from a perfect 5 is that just before the halfway mark it did drag a little for me, but that is a small complaint. I’m only sorry it has taken me so long to read it!