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classic books

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen

What do you write about a book that has been reviewed more times since I’ve been born,
and there is nothing new to say. Yet, here I am with my own nugget about the book that
spawned a whole generation of Darcy romantics. Pride and Prejudice is not romantic in
the normal sense. It is a slow and delicate descent into the world of love and
togetherness.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of good wealth
must be in want for a wife. Sure, why not? In the 18th century. And yet, how did she
know? How did Austen write such universal truths when she lived more than two centuries
ago. Her comments on the society are so spot on that they are still quoted in homes,
rich and poor alike. The sentiments resonate because the same situations arise even
now, where finding a capable man for a girl of marriageable age is a norm. But, that
isn’t what the whole novel is about anyway.

This classic fiction is surprisingly modern considering it was written so long ago.

It starts with the introduction of the Bennet family – Mr. and Mrs. Bennet and their five
daughters, each with her own distinctive quality that drives the story forward. Mrs.
Bennet is chiefly concerned with the marriage of her daughters, while Mr. Bennet is
seemingly indifferent to the Mrs. He has realized with time that Mrs. Bennet gets on
his nerves with her busybody ways. Continue reading “Book Review: Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen”

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Celebrated Classics Book Review: Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte wrote the novel Jane Eyre under a male pen name, and let the book have its recognition for all the right reasons before the big reveal. Back in those days, women writers were looked down upon and any piece of writing would have been judged with those eyes before even looking at the content of the book.

Jane Eyre is an orphan who lives with her maternal uncle and aunt. Her cousins and aunt are very rude and impolite with her, and when her uncle dies, she is sent off to Lowood school for orphan children. With the past of being notorious, Jane is imprinted with that image for the first few years of school, after which people start to recognize her as a smart, hardworking and sincere girl. Later, she starts to teach at the very same school for two years and then accepts the job of a governess to a little girl at Thornfield manor- the only reply to her newspaper advertisement.

She is happy with her pupil, Adele, and the housekeeper. One day, she meets a stranger on the road, who turns out to be her master, Edward Rochester. She gets to talk to Mr. Rochester on topics of the heart and the world and both are impressed with the knowledge of company of the other. Even though there is an age gap, they start to fall in love. But the presence of another prospective lady for Mr. Rochester sends Jane away to her ill aunt. And with a few more turns, the story of Rochester and Jane find an ending.

In this book, we can clearly see the conflict between love and independence, passion and conscience, and the struggle of a young girl and woman to maintain her self-esteem. It is truly one of the best books I’ve ever read. It is not like the other romantic Victorian love stories that end up in the same way. Jane’s character has her own life, is strong, independent and knows how to think for itself, without causing harm to others.

Throughout her life, Charlotte Bronte preached and practiced tolerance rather than revolution. She had high moral principles. Although she was shy in public, she was always prepared to argue her beliefs. All of these traits come through in Jane Eyre. She is a masterful creator of stories and characters that grip you from the very beginning. You root for them and feel drawn to the charisma of the English world.

Classification: Hybrid- the Gothic novel, he romance novel, and the Bildungsroman (narrates the story of a character’s internal development as he or she undergoes a succession of encounters with the external world)

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Suspense Rating: 4 out of 5

Complexity Rating: 4 out of 5

General Pace of the book: 4 out of 5

Recommendation: Must read!

Wuthering Heights Book Review

Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights is the epitome of the English classic novel. It has the perfect mix of love, suspense, thrill, and mystery. The characters unfold slowly, but are complete in themselves and fit into the plot. The life of the 19th century can be ascertained by how the children grow up, the thought-processes and the kind of living and transportation modes. In this review of Wuthering Heights, I will highlight a little bit of the story and tell you why I quite liked the book.

The story begins when a Mr. Lockwood comes to rent the house, Thrushcross Grange and encounters the spirit of old Catherine. The old housemaid, Nelly Dean starts to recount the old stories which form the major part of the novel. How the estate came to be owned by Heathcliff, who was brought home from the roads one day. How Heathcliff and Miss Catherine became such good friends and then fell in love. How they were not allowed to be married. And what spurned the angst of Heathcliff and how he came to own a lot of the estate by brains and means. She also explained that since Heathcliff genuinely loved Catherine, her spirit wandered looking for him. Their children, then, meet each other and how the story progresses is very different, anticlimactic and yet a great read. Because the events are realistic, and naturally unfold. The story wraps up everything neatly and has a happy ending which is all you can ask for.

Bronte’s writing is so good, that you never want to put down the book. Once you get over the old English writing style, you end up wanting more. I read Jane Eyre, and Pride and Prejudice after this because I couldn’t get enough of the charm of the old English courting and portrayal of romance. Wuthering Heights is a book with a mass appeal, the perfect hint of mystery and lots of doleful, lovely moments. Some noteworthy sentences make it a keeper. A definite good read for me. It is also not a very long, which increases its appeal.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Suspense Rating: 5 out of 5

Complexity Rating: 5 out of 5

General Pace of the book: 4 out of 5

Recommendation: Grab a copy soon!

EDIT: Lauren, a fellow blogger commented to tell me that Heights is a Gothic novel rather than a Victorian one, as a previous version of this post mentioned. I have made the correction and understand the distinction!

 

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