Everything Austen Challenge: Book One – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Everything Austen Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is one of the classics in literary romance one that, like many of Shakespeare’s works, has been repurposed, modernized or been a building block for so many books and movies today.

For me, this book was a re-read, and the most logical place to start reading for the Everything Austen challenge hosted by The Written Word. It’s funny, I knew I liked the book when I first read it, and certainly would consider it a favorite since I remember connecting with the characters even as a teenager (ye olde language aside). But after I read it, wrote my report, took my test or whatever it was I did, I wasn’t gushing over Eliza and Darcy like say Catherine and Heathcliff, whose story made my teenage heart swoon.

Pride and PrejudiceBut reading it now, so many (I’ll try not to become too depressed to think how many) years later I was at the end of the book and I wanted more. Eliza and Darcy were all the more lovely. I better understood the difficulty they had to “connect” with each other at the start, and how Eliza could build her love for Darcy.

What is it about opinionated Elizabeth Bennett and haughty Fitzwilliam Darcy that continues to move and interest us?

Many books that have romance as their driving plotline have a character fall in love at first site, scheme to become a couple and after some misunderstanding or misinterpretation realize they are meant to be. It wasn’t like that here. Our two lovers must meet a few times before either will really even tolerate the other, and then the witty banter begins.

What I think I love most about this book is that it is not Elizabeth who is the first to be hit by cupid’s arrow, and even as she begins to understand that she in fact has feelings for Darcy she does not plot or use charm or change herself to be who she thinks Darcy is looking for. She stays who she is from beginning to end, and still gets the guy.

So, before I jumped in to another book in this challenge I needed a little more original Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy and rented the BBC mini-series starring Colin Firth since I had not seen it before (I had only seen the more recent film adaptation with Keira Knightley back in 2005). Many people have mentioned how great it is, and it did not disappoint. Colin Firth is certainly the perfect Mr. Darcy. While it is a time investment (about 5 hours), it really takes on all aspects of the story and adds another nice layer to the characters. I know I can count this as Number Two for the challenge since we can use any Austen medium, but I would like to keep my challenge to reading, so we’ll call this 1+.

As I mentioned, reading Pride and Prejudice the second time made me long for more things Bennett-Darcy, and luckily many authors feel the same, so I will be re-evaluating my original list of books I planned on reading for this challenge and replacing them with some continuations of Elizabeth and Darcy’s story. What is your favorite new look at the Bennett-Darcy story?


7 Responses

  1. What a treat to re-read a wonderful book like this!

  2. Just stopping by to comment that after reading the orignal Austen books two years ago, I watched the old and new movie versions of these books. Colin Firth is the only Mr. Darcy in my mind! Never cared for the newer version with Kiera Knightly, either. I haven’t started reading my Austen-like books yet, but have a few in mind. ~~ Kim

  3. Tam, please stop my blog — I have a little something for you 🙂

  4. I haven’t read it yet but I picked up The Darcy’s and the Bingley’s as part of this challenge. It looked like it would be a fun continuation (or side trip) to their story.

  5. Awesome review, thanks!

  6. I agree about the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice. Colin Firth drenched in his britches beats the other Darcys hands down. The 2005 version is growing on me though.

  7. Yay — Pride & Prejudice! Oh my, I’m such a fan. And I’ve been having quite the Austen week! I watched the 2005 film two nights ago and fell even more in love with the story… and, of course, I’ve been reading tons of Austen fiction for the challenge, too!

    If you’re looking for more Darcy and Elizabeth, I’ve read really great reviews of The Private Diary of Mr. Darcy — especially Nicole’s at Books and Bards. I’m also partial to Syrie James’ The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, which isn’t about Darcy and Elizabeth persay… but kind of is. 🙂

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