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I can't add more to what has already been said of this great classic early novel by Jane Austen. Times and customs certainly have changed since the early 19th century in England, but Austen's portrayal of human relationships comes through with a sharpness, wit and tenderness that can still engross the interest of a reader from the early 21st century. Nadia May's narration, as always, is faultless and brings each of the characters to life with a distinct voice.
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This book contains my favorite AAM (Austen Awkward Moment) when poor Edward Farrers pays an ill-timed visit to the woman with whom he was in love, Miss Elinor Dashwood and found that the woman to whom he was engaged, Miss Lucy Steele was also visiting. One of course, should note that these are two separate women and also note they each knew the status of the other and did not like each other one little bit. This was a gloriously satisfying AAM. Poor Edmond, such an unlikely hero, shy, awkward, maybe even inelegant, not at all handsome but I like him. When the critical moment arrived, Edmond stood tall and manly.
Ours is a time of fast books; off with clothes and into bed then on to the next person. With the possible exceptions of P&P and Northanger Abbey, Austen novels are relatively slow. Except for the presence of children one would think nothing interesting ever happened outside the drawing or ball rooms. Oh yes, certain disgraceful activities are alluded to. Still, most of the action takes place in the mind and conversations; vital information is conveyed by letters and notes. Miss Austen often refers to novels and plays of the day to make social commentary or funny points. In Mansfield Park, there was a big fight over who was to play Agatha and Cecilla. Until one reads Lover's Vows by Mrs. Elizabeth Inchberg (nom de plume), a person just can't understand what the fight was about. To figure out Austen, works such as Regency Etiquette, Vanity Fair, and books by Fanny Burney, Mrs. Anne Radcliffe, with trips to the Shakespeare and Cowper sections of the library are helpful. Miss Austen can sure keep a body on his toes even after 200 years. Two other authors helped make Austen works real to me: Ms Pamela Aidon and Ms. Laurie Viera Rigler who clothed their extensive research in very enjoyable novels.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful