**spoiler alert** Well, I can now say that Pride and Prejudice is no longer my least favourite Jane Austen book, at least!
Austen was, of course, an ex...more**spoiler alert** Well, I can now say that Pride and Prejudice is no longer my least favourite Jane Austen book, at least!
Austen was, of course, an extremely talented writer and this book was definitely never boring to read. Austen is also certainly very skilled at creating characters you love to hate - I have not yearned desperately to punch a fictional character in the face quite so much as I did Lucy Steele in quite some time.
Unfortunately, the love-to-hate characters outnumber the actually-love characters by a large margin. The only character I really liked was Elinor and I never entirely connected even with her. The others spanned the distance between 'meh' (Marianne, Mrs. Jennings) and the aforementioned 'desperately want to punch in the face' (Lucy, Edward Ferrars). Even more disappointingly, the romances were perhaps the least developed I've ever read in an Austen book.
The pacing of Edward and Elinor's journey from unstated-but-assumed love to "nah, he's engaged, actually" to "hey, remember that girl I was willing to be disowned to marry? yeah, she married my brother last week and maybe I never loved her after all, so do you wanna get married??" literally made me break out laughing by the resolution. And I realise I'm looking at this from a very non-Regency, modern perspective, but Col. Brandon's "hey, you're half my age, but you remind me of another girl I loved who died, so I love you! Did I mention you're half my age? Did your mother mention it? Did your sister? Has it essentially been brought up every time our names are in the same sentence? Don't worry, it's totally not creepy!" thing for Marianne alternately depressed and annoyed me.
In conclusion, Austen is beloved the world over and Sense and Sensibility is a best-seller for a reason. I don't want to discourage anyone from reading it! However, I don't know that I'd say it's the best introduction to her work - it certainly would have kept me from reading further and discovering her (much better) other books.(less)
As I am required to write: I got this book through the First Reads giveaway. I was in no way compensated for this review, other than receiving a copy...moreAs I am required to write: I got this book through the First Reads giveaway. I was in no way compensated for this review, other than receiving a copy of the book, and any opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are mine and mine alone.
That being said, onto the review! I quite liked this book! I've always been intrigued by Catherine (or Kateryn, as it's spelled here) Parr, as she's always seemed to me the most ignored of Henry VIII's wives, and I've always wondered why none of the Tudor novels I've read, at a time of such religious conflict, really touched on any sort of religious issues. So this book seemed basically tailor-made for me.
The cons: It's a personal pet peeve, so it may not bug other readers, but I am decidedly not a fan of phonetically-written accents, so every time a midwife or servant popped up, I found myself cringing until their scene was over. Fortunately, it was only a few characters, so I could handle it. I also felt that some of the characters could have had more strongly-defined personalities (view spoiler)[ - I found the heroine somewhat . . . lacking in personality (though I just personally prefer very strong personalities and I know not everyone does - how else do you explain the popularity of Twilight and Bella Swan? :P) and Thomas Seymour seemed to go through a few personality changes over the course of the novel. (hide spoiler)]
The pros: (view spoiler)[The heroine gets raped at one point and as I've come across one too many gratuitous rape scenes in media before, I was somewhat disappointed at finding one here as well - until the ending, when the heroine's love interest gives a beautiful speech saying that, no matter what her rapist said about her (basically) leading him on, asking for it, dressing inappropriately, etc., her rape was not her fault and only the fault of the rapist. It's certainly a message that, sad as it, people today could stand to hear a lot more. (hide spoiler)] Also, I quite liked the heroine's love interest and the romance between them. I really enjoyed this story's characterization of Kateryn Parr, as well, and found her very a very interesting character.
I'll definitely be checking out Sandra Byrd's other Tudor novel in the future!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)