Top positive review
Yet another triumph for the the great Jane Austen!
on August 9, 2017
I regret not having read this novel 10 or 15 years earlier, as it certainly serves as a great introduction to the work of Jane Austen. This lovely story of the prudent Elinor and her emotional sister Marianne and their fortunes and misfortunes on the road to getting married is and always be a timeless classic!
As every good fan of Austen's work knows, all her stories end with all the characters in wedded bliss (even the sometimes undeserving), the proverbial happy ending for all. One would think that with this in mind, the reader would lose interest because of this, but somehow or other Miss Austen always makes the journey to that ending so interesting. The characters are engrossing and dynamic (from the nosy but noble-hearted Mrs. Jennings to the haughty Mrs. John Dashwood) and Austen's analysis of them is razor-sharp. She manages to capture the very essence of their soul in their behavior (in spite of the restraint which good breeding requires them to display). As might be expected of a great novelist, she never moralizes but has the reader judge for themselves whom they would consider the most benevolent (and the least). The novel uses love, marriage, money and family as points of reference to gauge each of the characters and their views on these subjects make each of them who they are.
Overall, this was a fantastic novel, a real tour-de-force of Austen's wit and talent. My only word of warning to the reader would be to note that since this was her debut novel, it may lack some of the subtlety which someone who's read "Pride and Prejudice" or "Emma" may be expecting from an Austen novel. One must remember that she is only starting to come to her own in this novel (and does so quite well), and so inevitably some of the characters may seems a bit predictable and some of the plot points may seem a little forced. Also, in this novel, there is a strong tendency to say rather than to show (but for which there is a good reason), which is typically seen as a weakness in narration. I cannot say that this is her best novel, but I do think it quite worth reading (as all her works seem to be).
There is a good reason why every generation continues to spawn ardent fans of this fabulous writer, why her work seems least resistant to age than every other nineteenth century novelist, and the reader who does not understand why already undoubtedly will after spending a few minutes with this dazzling read!