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Showing 1-10 of 3,704 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 5,421 reviews
on June 13, 2014
So I just wanted to let others know that this collection is one giant book of all Austen novels combined. You can't tell from the picture, but I was actually expecting (and hoping for) individual books packed in one box like other book collections I have. So I was definitely a bit disappointed when I received this book. And while I am used to reading large books like David McCullough biographies, this compilation is by far the heaviest I have in my possession. I'm not sure I will be able to read this in bed or even hold it up in my arms for any long period of time. So beware. I would have chosen differently if had this information when I was contemplating purchase.
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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!
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VINE VOICEon September 13, 2016
A lot of water under the bridge since first reading this book many years ago. I do not know why I liked it so much them...possibly I was blinded by adolescents and want everyone to have a loving mate and played match maker myself thinking also I was above others..shame on me!! This book the second time around was so frustrating I could have screamed in parts. How dare Emma feel so superior in her small town and looked for others to make over in her image. How dare she play match maker with every eligible bachelor and made in the area thinking she knew best. Was she a true friend visiting all the families and offering her solicitations as if she were the queen and it being a big gift to shower her presence with others (all of whom she felt were inferior) on a regular basis.

Glad to have revisited this book and will revisit others but don't think they will be by Jane Austen. My book was downloaded onto my Kindle from Amazon.
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on July 3, 2014
Jane Austen's writing is one that I had trouble with when I first started reading the classics and over the time I have come to really enjoy. She took the time period and the problems of women in that time to different levels and put it out there for others to read. I found this book filled with heartache to be a perfect example of it.

The problems that women faced were numerous and the fact that they could only do two things in life, either marry or not was a given fact. Ms Austen brings to life the perils of the first and what can happen when a young woman fell in love and it was not returned. Driven to heartbreak she told how Marianne fell ill with the loss of her love and her sister, Elinor fell to hidden despair at the same time.

We also were given an example of the honor of the men of that time. Both in Edward but also in Colonel Brandon. As I have found with all of her books though she leads us on a merry chase to only have the happy ever after endings. However in this book we do find that there were some really interesting twists and turns to get us there.

What did I like about this book, well I think what I found is the honor of both men was the best. Edward and Colonel Brandon were both in a complicated love but in different ways. Edward due to folly and the Colonel due to a lost love. I was so proud of Edward when he stood by his commitment, even when his mother disowned him. Then the Colonel so giving even when he thought there was no chance for himself.

What did I not like, well that has to be obvious, Lucy and Fanny. They both drove me mad with anger. Throw in the stupidity of Edwards mother and it was enough to really give way to a fit. I know that even today there are women like that but it just made my skin crawl.

The best part of the whole book though was the ending. Edward to be released from the commitment and allowing him the chance for true love and for the Colonel to win the love of Marianne. Of course, even better than that was the love of family that surrounded all of them.

Reading the classics is an honor that should be required of our younger generations so that they can see just how far we have come. They have a freedom that was unheard of and yet they don't seen to understand how much they have. Even I have learned to really appreciate what so many prior to me have gone through just so that I have the right to make a decision for myself. This was a really great read and I am looking forward to continuing my enjoyment of the classics.
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on December 9, 2016
I'm re-reading most of these novels while others are new to me. But they are all a delight. Austen does more with dialogue in defining characters than other authors can do with long descriptions. What an ear! There are no great tragedies, like in the Brontes' novels, but the lives of these characters have very human joys and heartbreaks that can resonate in any era. Austen was definitely a woman of her time, yet she understood the ins and outs of the middle class better than any other author of any century. Darcy and Elizabeth are no Heathcliff and Catherine, and I'm very glad of it. Their troubles stem from human frailties and interference, which 'most anyone who has had any kind of relationship can understand and relate to. These are novels to savor.
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on May 24, 2016
Besides the character names and personalities, McCall Smith pretty much writes a brand-new story. For the first nine chapters, he gives us a backstory on Emma's dad's childhood, how the governess came to live with them, and Emma's childhood. Chapter 10 in the beginning of the story we get from Austen--Emma meeting Harriet Smith and seeking to pair her off with the vicar. There is a lack of depth to Emma's relationship with Frank Churchill, and even Mr. Knightley makes very few appearances to warrant Emma falling in love with him. In some ways, McCall Smith does move the story faster along than Austen does in the original, but it definitely feels like a story BASED off of Austen's Emma versus a modern re-telling of it.
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on January 3, 2017
Have to agree with other reviewers that this isn't the best Austen novel. It does pale in comparison to some of the better known novels. The story of the Dashwood sisters Elinor and Marianne and their path to finding "Mr Right." I have to admit to being just the teeniest bit underwhelmed with the male leads here Edward Ferrars and Colonel Brandon. I did however relish the selfishness of Willoughby and the avarice of the brother Dashwood and his wife Fanny ( now there was a match made in heaven). A trio that overshadowed the "goodness" of the other characters and I enjoyed reading about them.

An earlier work by Austen but you can clearly see the brilliance that was to be achieved with at least one later novel.
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on January 4, 2016
I enjoyed McCall Smith's re-telling of 'Emma' in a modern setting. Emma has remained a spoilt, over-indulged daughter of the privileged classes who needs less ego and more empathy and her father Mr Woodhouse is still an anxious hypochondriac worrying about all sorts of modern diseases and calamities like global warming . I also enjoyed Harriet Smith re-invented as a temporary ESL teacher while waiting to embark on a gap year. However, I did feel that we didn't see enough of Mr Knightley to get a feel for his character. He only made a few cameo appearances and comes over as rather dull and lacklustre. Isabel also barely rates a mention apart from her very brief courtship and marriage to John Knightley. Apart from that, I enjoyed the re-telling of the various scenes, in particular the dinner party and the later picnic. McCall Smith is such a good observer of human character that there were lots of little asides and observations throughout the book to chuckle at so overall it was lots of fun.
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on September 3, 2016
How can it be that, at age 66, I am, for the very first time, reading this classic novel? Neither have I seen a film version! And so, the words that have been read by many for well over a century, were new and fresh to me.

Some words were truly new while at the same time, quite old; they were words used in times past. A few could be found in the dictionary, some could not, which meant that there were instances in which the meanings of these obsolete words had to be guessed.

The ending was predictable. What was apparently scandal in days gone by, was somewhat anti-climatic (Oh no! They'd been secretly engaged!!!!!). And the ramblings of Miss Bates, though somewhat annoying, even to the reader, actually provided a great deal of insight and understanding.
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on October 26, 2016
Jane Austen has never been a favorite of mine. I purchased this book to read it to a friend, a desire of hers to hear it "read like a person". I am surprised to find it much more fluid and less convoluted in language than any other I've read. The characters are delightful. I heartily recommend it as an intro to Ms. Austen's works.
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