2015 reading challenge: jane austen edition

Catch up here and here

On my recent vacation, I finished books 5 & 6 of my list for the Modern Mrs. Darcy reading challenge, so I am confidently half way through this particular group of books. This is the Janeite edition!


a book in a genre you don’t typically read
Death Comes to Pemberly – PD James

death comes to pemberley

In my initial selection of this book, I wrote: “The last time I tried to read an Austenite sequel, I think I was a freshman in high school. It wasn’t good. But I’m under the impression that this one is enjoyable, at least, and has a better understanding of the characters than most. And I want to watch the miniseries, so I might as well give it a go.”

Nope. For someone who generally has a good memory, this was a total fail. I definitely had previously read this book. But I’m not going to harp on myself too badly for forgetting because I have basically forgotten everything about it again. Already. It read like mediocre fan fiction, and it pushed too hard to make itself part of the little Austen universe with references to characters from other books. The reference to Persuasion bugged me. I had just finished Persuasion, which is clear about the years of the setting, and P.D. James just either ignored that or didn’t realize when she added that reference. Minute, but if you’re going to write fan fiction, at least do it right! Whatever, this book is not worth getting worked up over.

BUT!!! Persuasion is.

a book you should have read in high school
Persuasion – Jane Austen


Oh my word. I was so right about “looking forward to experiencing an Austen novel on a first read with adult eyes.” I took Jane Austen novels soooo seriously as a young teen, which would be a move for a Jane Austen heroine’s annoying sister. Austen’s insight into the core of human motivation had me laughing out loud and clutching my heart by turns. I loved the reading experience because it reminded me that people have always been the same, a reminder that also helps me recall that the people around me are all scraping by through the same things. Two hundred years later, you will still meet the Musgrave sisters and Sir Walter and Mr Elliot and the Crofts and Captain Benwick — for better or for worse.

Reading Persuasion also has me itching to reread the rest of the Austen oeuvre as an adult. My memories of her other romantic leads don’t have me shining with affection like Captain Wentworth did when I finished this book. Is it because this is a book about grown ups, and I’m a grown up now?

Note — there is also an alternate ending to the book that does away with Wentworth’s romantic letter. I think it is more realistic, and it’s super interesting (to me) to get a  glimpse inside the writing process. It is easily googled to find a reading format that works for you.

Let me know, yo. I want to hear what you think about Persuasion. Talk to me.

If you want to know more about what I’m reading, join me over on Goodreads. I occasionally will write about what I am reading, but I have been notably bad about that lately. Oops?

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