Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

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50398An average girl coming of age in the country where not much occurs, Catherine is sent to visit the town of Bath with Mr. and Mrs. Allen, who are friends of Catherine’s family. While in Bath, Catherine befriends the Thorpe family, who her brother James is also acquainted with. She also becomes interested in Henry Tilney, a clever young gentleman with an equally sweet and elegant sister who becomes fast friends with Catherine. But when it becomes obvious that the Thorpes aren’t too keen with Catherine’s relationship with the Tilneys, Catherine becomes torn between pleasing both families and is forced to make a choice.

The funny thing about Northanger Abbey is that it feels like nothing happens, but at the same time everything happens. The story itself is very simple: the daily activities of a 17-year-old girl as she is introduced to the world, which makes the book feel gossipy. But not in a bad way. In fact, the story was exciting and addicting. The reader becomes wrapped in the goings on of the families and forms strong opinions about certain characters, even rejoicing when just desserts are received.

While reading, I found it interesting that the book was titled Northanger Abbey since Northanger Abbey isn’t even mentioned until more than halfway through the book. Apparently, Jane Austen originally titled it Catherine, which definitely would have made more sense since that’s the main focus of the book. But Northanger Abbey is a big attraction to Catherine, so I guess it’s not so weird that the title was later changed to that.

If you’re a fan of Jane Austen’s other works, I highly recommend reading Northanger Abbey. A well written story with an attractive and steady plot, it was just as satisfying and well written as Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.

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Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

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14935Before Mr. Dashwood passes away, leaving Norland to his son John, he makes John promise to look after his step-mother and half-sisters. However, after his passing, John’s wife, Fanny, convinces him that Mrs. Dashwood and his sisters can be well cared for with only receiving a minimal sum. To avoid having to deal with Norland’s new owners, Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret, move away to a cottage in the country provided by a cousin of Mrs. Dashwood. There, the sisters meet new acquaintances and experience all the emotions that come with love and loss.

After seeing Love & FriendshipI had a hankering to read some more Jane Austen and luckily Sense and Sensibility was still on my ‘to read’ list. What I liked about this book was the casualness of the plot. It made me feel closer with the characters: like I was sitting in the room with them while they told me about Mrs. Jennings and the Steele Sisters and their latest antics and love interests and all the drama associated.

However, that casualness also caused me to feel slightly agitated and impatient. There were parts of the book where I felt the plot wasn’t going anywhere and there were several instances of me asking, ‘what is the point in telling me this?’ These thoughts tended to happen when Austen would describe scenes where nothing in particular would be going on to advance the plot.

The only other trouble I had was I became slightly confused by what specific character Austen would be talking about in certain parts of the book. Which isn’t that surprising when everyone is so formal: calling both sisters Miss Steele or Miss Dashwood would confuse anyone unless they were in the room and could physically see the characters. Also, the fact that Anne Steele would be called Nancy confused me, until I looked it up and learned that Nancy was apparently a nickname for Anne.

While I enjoyed Sense and Sensibility and would recommend any Jane Austen fan read it, it is not necessarily my favorite, and I would probably recommend Emma or Pride and Prejudice over Sense and Sensibility.

Love & Friendship: A Movie Review

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rs_506x749-160330170802-634-love-and-friendship-movie-poster-tt-033016Widowed Lady Susan Vernon is rumored to be a notorious flirt who decides to visit her in-laws to win them over as she tries to set up her daughter Frederica with Sir James Martin, a quirky and aloof man, as well as settle with a husband herself. With her eyes set on both her sister-in-law’s brother, Reginald DeCourcy, and the currently married but soon-to-be divorced Lord Manwaring, will Lady Susan Vernon be able to charm one—or both— of them or will she be left a widow forever?

Based off of a Jane Austen novella titled Lady Susan, the movie adaptation, Love & Friendship, is excellent, full of wit and charm and a mixture of comedy and drama. All the actors did a fantastic job, especially Kate Beckinsale who easily stole the show in her role as Lady Susan Vernon. I also found Tom Bennett’s portrayal of Sir James Martin to be hilarious and he helped bring together the comedic and dramatic aspects of the movie.

The only problem I had with the movie is that it took me a bit to get into it. I believe it was due to a mixture of the language used and the way that the film jumped around a bit with the plot. There are a bunch of different characters to get acquainted with, which I feel was a little rushed, but once I got into the movie I was able to easily identify who was who and what was going on. The movie also seemed to end abruptly, which may be good or bad depending on how you look at it. I had expected to go on a little longer, and was slightly disappointed when it didn’t, although I feel like if it had gone on it might have ruined the movie. But by the end all I wanted to do was relax with a Jane Austen novel, which is something I haven’t done in a while. I highly recommend this movie for fans of Jane Austen or of period pieces, such as Downton Abbey.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

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51fe3vjlwkl-_sx327_bo1204203200_In the quiet English village of Meryton, a mysterious plague has fallen that brings that dead back to life. Along with her sisters, Elizabeth Bennet has been trained in the art of fighting evil and is determined to save her little town from destruction. However, the arrival of Misters Bingley and Darcy begins to distract the young ladies, with Jane falling head over heels in love with Bingley while Elizabeth tries to understand the haughty and arrogant Darcy. With Elizabeth be able to keep focus on the task at hand or will she and the rest of her family become distracted by the duties society expects of them?

Based off the classic novel by Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was surprisingly delightful. I received the book many years ago as a joke from a friend because he knew how much I was offended by the thought that there was a book that combined one of my favorite classics with zombies. So of course I continued to push off reading it until I finally decided to give it a chance (what with the movie coming out later this month and all).

I will tell you that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is the story of Pride and Prejudice, with some extra scenes added in, set during a zombie apocalypse. That aspect is what I think made it interesting to me because I enjoyed seeing how the author had that type of society react to a zombie apocalypse. The story was also comedic, choosing to be rather blunt to the point of making fun of certain characters and their motives throughout the novel.

However, I also wished that the story went a little off from the original Pride and Prejudice much more than it actually did. Before reading it, I had this certain picture in my head that would show the Bennet sisters going through several trials and tribulations in a world with zombies, but that was only partially the case. The novel didn’t have as much zombie interaction as I expected it to, although the instances it did present provided an interesting twist and maybe it was enough. They do say: Less is more.

Overall, the novel was well written and it showed the characters in a different light than in Pride and Prejudice. The Bennet sisters tended to stand out more from society and I loved Elizabeth’s fierce independence and brazenness. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a good book for teens who don’t quite get where Jane Austen is coming from and for adults who are itching to read a good twist on a classic story.