Review: Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park Jane Austen Editorial Alba

Jane Austen’s novels are comfort reads for me because regardless of all the adversity, the protagonists always get the happy ending they so much deserve. Mansfield Park is the sixth novel I read by her, and it did not disappoint. 

Here’s the GoodReads description: Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle’s absence in Antigua, the Crawford’s arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.

Fanny Price, unlike the other heroines, is shy, quiet, and observant. She follows her gut and dislikes certain characters from the very beginning, although they hadn’t done anything (yet). As an introvert myself, I felt identified with her in several scenes, making her my favorite character of all of Jane Austen’s works.

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Pride and Prejudice Reread

Hello there! Almost a month since my last post. So after finishing The Broken Girls, I was thinking about continuing with my To Be Read pile, but I wasn’t in a big mood for reading. With everything happening right now in the world, it’s inevitable to feel anxious at times. Which is why I decided to read once again Pride and Prejudice. Because you can never go wrong with Jane Austen, am I right?

The first time I read Pride and Prejudice was back in 2013, I was doing a project for university where I had to choose a novel and analyze the character’s feelings. However, I felt I didn’t read it consciously since I was so preoccupied with meeting the deadline for the assignment.

I have two copies of Pride and Prejudice, they’re both in Spanish (though I do hope to eventually buy her books in English). The one on the left is actually the copy I bought back in 2013 for the university assignment, and inside it’s pretty messed up. Some parts are underlined with a pencil or pen, and some are even highlighted. But oh well, it’s what makes it unique. The copy on the right side is actually an illustrated edition, you can take a sneak peek of it here and here.

All in all, this reread has reinforced Jane Austen as one of my favorite authors. I’ve always been amazed at how Austen captures the character’s personalities so perfectly, even the secondary ones have detailed descriptions. From shallow to down-to-earth, from iniquitous to innocent ― it’s crazy to think how two hundred years later you can still find people with similar traits. Thought processes and emotions are vividly captured by her words.

“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.”

So that’d be all for now. I’m still debating on what to read next. Follow me on Instagram to stay posted. ‘Til next time!

Review: Emma

It’s better late than never, right? As you may have noticed, I didn’t post any book reviews on the blog during 2019. So while I’ll still be sharing short reviews on Instagram, on the blog expect to find more elaborate ramblings on the books I’m reading.

The first book I’ve finished this year was Emma. To be honest, I tried reading Emma last year but couldn’t get past the first chapter. For some odd reason, I just wasn’t feeling it. Has that ever happened to you? And as an avid reading and Jane Austen admirer, I even felt kinda guilty. But several months passed and it wasn’t until December ‘19 that I decided to give it another try. Only then did I realize that the edition I had bought had some faded pages. The print was small so it made it really hard to read. Hence, I bought another edition (hurray to hoarding books).

This time, I did get into the story. I would’ve finished sooner, but with the holidays and a small trip I took outside of the country, made it difficult to read without interruptions. Nevertheless, I finished Emma in less than two months. For some, it might be a lot of time. For me, that’s around my average. If I’m completely honest, I’m not the fastest reader. Not to mention, I have the habit of rereading certain passages as I go along, which causes me to take more time.

Well now back to the novel. Emma is about Emma (well isn’t that obvious?). She’s young and wealthy, the youngest daughter of Mr. Woodhouse and lives in Highbury. At the young age of 21, she basically considers herself an expert at identifying people’s wishes and intentions. She’s even played “cupid” and takes the credit for Ms. Taylor’s marriage — her former governess. While topics as such entertain her, she by no means has the intention of getting married.

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Review: Sense and Sensibility

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Hello! I finally finished reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen, her first published novel in 1811. Honestly, I found it a bit slow at first. The first several chapters focused on describing the characters and settings and lacked dialogue. I’d say that out of the four Jane Austen novels I’ve read (Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey and now Sense and Sensibility) this one has been the most descriptive of them all. By all means, description is good because it allows you to visualize everything clearer, but all the action is centered in the last quarter of the novel.

A couple of weeks ago, I came across an article written by an English professor, explaining why she doesn’t like Jane Austen. At first, I was astonished. Given Austen’s popularity, I thought everyone enjoyed her books. Then I was even more surprised to find out Charlotte Brontë and other famous writers didn’t like Austen’s work either. And as I was reading Sense and Sensibility, I grasped why they didn’t enjoy her work but at the same time, it made me realize that regardless of other people’s opinion, Jane Austen will always be one of my favorite authors. She provides entertainment and can transfer you automatically to the heroine’s world, being mostly a middle-class girl in her late teens surviving love and heartbreaks in the early 1800s.

In case you haven’t read Sense and Sensibility before, here’s a brief summary: after the death of her husband, Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters are forced to move from Norland Park to Barton Park, where they start making regular visits to their closest neighbors (Lady Middleton and Sir John) and end up establishing a friendship with them. Later, Mrs. Jennings (Lady Middleton’s mother) invites the two eldest Dashwood sisters (Elinor and Marianne) to spend some weeks with her in London. Both girls hope to encounter the boys with whom they’ve been talking to, secretly wishing for those bonds to become some sort of formal engagement. Most of the plot is set in London, where Elinor and Marianne become intertwined in gossip — apparently, these guys are already in love with other girls. But are all the rumors true? That’s your job to find out, I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

The story had some touching moments, I sympathized with Marianne — even in the 21st century, some men are still selfish jerks. As for Elinor, I felt completely identified with her, she has a personality that’s very similar to mine, it was both eerie and comforting knowing that I’m not the only one. But then there were many witty and laugh-provoking moments. Austen once again did an excellent job turning the mundane to amusing.

I’d rather not rate this novel, I loved it but at the same time I’m very aware that it wasn’t perfect. But if I had to give it a rating, I’d say it lies somewhere between 3.5 and 4. If the plot climax had started a bit earlier, I’d give it a 5.

‘Til next time!

Book Review: Northanger Abbey

Hi there! I just finished reading Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. This is the third novel I read by this author, and unlike the previous two (which were Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion) this one was remarkably different.  I’m guessing it’s because it was her first written novel, although it was published post mortem. Perhaps Jane Austen hadn’t defined her style completely yet. I thought it was a bit odd that from time to time, the author would directly address the reader. From those extracts throughout the novel, you can easily infer that Austen was a strongly opinionated woman. Of course, the romantic theme still prevailed.

The main character is Catherine Morland, a 17 year old girl from Fullerton who gets invited by the Allens (friends of her family) to spend a month in Bath. Unlike Elizabeth Bennet and Anne Elliot, she’s younger and naive. Catherine does not easily perceive a person’s intention, whether those intentions are good or bad. She genuinely believes what others tell her and only comes to a realization towards the end of the novel. And indeed, there is a boy, who she coincidently meets in Bath. His name is Henry Tinley, a 26 year old clergyman from a wealthy family. He has read gothic novels, which are Catherine’s favorite, so they have plenty to discuss.
Catherine becomes close friends with Henry’s younger sister, Eleanor. Their friendship extends to the point the she gets invited to spend a few weeks at Northanger Abbey, the home of the Tinleys. Here is where the satire of gothic novels begins, Catherine’s imagination starts growing a little bit wild thanks to the stories she has read. But what is truly important in this part, is that she and Henry get to know each other better. Consequently, their emotions for one another begin to increase mutually. But will they be able to have their happily ever after?
As I have mentioned before, I don’t like to spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet. And as usual, I do recommend Jane Austen’s novels, it’s impossible not to. Overall rating: 4/5.

Book Review: Persuasion

La Luna Vita

I started off the year reading Persuasion by Jane Austen. It’s the second book of hers that I read, the first one was Pride & Prejudice, which I greatly enjoyed. How could you not possibly end up loving Mr. Darcy? The reason why I decided to read Persuasion was because they mentioned it repeatedly in the movie The Lake House. While watching it with my mom for like the fifth time, I became persuaded to read such a captivating romance novel.

My book reviews are always quite general, I do not like to spoil it for anyone, so don’t worry! Let’s go straight to the point: do I recommend it? Absolutely. It’s the type of book that you need to read, period. While love and relationships in the 1800s had a very different dynamic than today’s, human feelings will always remain same. What I personally enjoyed the most was the way in which the context and characters were portrayed. With Jane Austen’s writings, you can get real insights into how the common/everyday life was back then. People spoke so eloquently and politely. It’s a shame we as a society have lost that.

Persuasion’s main characters are Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth. They had met several years ago and had fallen deeply in love. However, they were too young, naive and easily influenced by others so they went separate ways. Fast forward to the present (or rather the date were the novel takes place), and due to external circumstances –or destiny, whatever you wanna call it — they meet again. Will they continue where they left off? Or will the broken hearts be unable to mend?

I won’t tell, you’ll have to find out on your own 🙂