Recently, I finished reading Mansfield Park. This means I have officially read all six of Jane Austen’s published works (which, I daresay, does make me feel accomplished in some small way :P).
I admit, I didn’t become a Jane Austen fan until after watching the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice – please forgive me! But that movie inspired me to finally read the book, and that book inspired me to read the others… that has to count for something, doesn’t it?!
Pride & Prejudice is, of course, probably my favorite… though I did highly identify with the heroine of Emma, who thought she was so smart and capable of influencing others, without realizing what trouble she was getting herself into… Northanger Abbey was a cute story of a girl with an overactive imagination (hey, I can relate to that, too!)… and my only real qualm with Mansfield Park was that the “happily ever after” consisted of Fanny marrying her cousin (clearly some things have changed since the 1800s :/). Still – overall, good books :).
What I love about reading Jane Austen’s works is the culture. Seeing the world of her day and age – it’s like a completely different planet! I know the rigid social rules and repressed emotions of the Victorian Era fascinate many people – I’m no exception. Observing the differences apparent in fiction such as hers is like looking through a crystal ball into the past; a slice of history pie, if you will. Some days I wish I could go back in time to experience that lifestyle for myself (preferably as the beautiful wife of a rich, handsome, Mr. Darcy look-alike). Other days I know I’d never survive in that world – I’m entirely too outspoken and addicted to modern things (like the music on my iPhone and indoor plumbing.)
I think my only real objection to the way Jane Austen writes is the endings. They come and go so quickly! It takes FOREVER for our hero and heroine to get together, but all of a single chapter (and even then, usually only a couple of paragraphs within said chapter) for them to marry and live happily ever after :/. No offense Jane, but that’s not quite emotionally satisfying for me! (A big thank-you to authors like Sharon Lathan who went back in time to write “sequels” that give us a taste of what those “happily ever afters” might have looked like… but perhaps I should save that for another post!) So, my own novels tend to have more than a chapter or two to conclude them. I like my endings to wrap up the book in a way that ties off all loose ends while giving you time to breathe now that the love story is no longer in danger. I apologize to any of you who like the story to simply be over and done with, but I prefer to expand the ending just longer enough so that you can really enjoy it :). If you notice this in my novels, you’ll know why!
What do you think? Share your thoughts in the comments section!
Until the next time, keep reading!
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I have two passions: reading and writing. You can't write good stories without first reading good stories - that's my theory, anyway. So this is where I'll share with you the depth of those passions: background on what and why I write, as well as talking about the books that I read and how they impact my writing.