It is a truth universally acknowledged that Pride and Prejudice is arguably one of the most satisfying love stories ever written (see what I did there?). It’s the story of the irrepressible Elizabeth Bennet, and her struggles with affection, virtue, and most importantly, pride and prejudice.
Elizabeth Bennet is a well-bred young woman from a slightly dysfunctional family in 19th Century England. She is one of five daughters, a plight that her father, a respectable country gentleman, bears as best he can, with common sense and a general disinterest in the silliness of his daughters. It it apparent that Elizabeth (or Lizzy) is his favorite because of her level-headed approach to life, when his own wife’s greatest concern is getting her daughters married off to well-established (and very wealthy) gentlemen. Only Jane, Elizabeth’s older sister, is nearly as sensible and practical as Elizabeth, but Jane is also the beauty of the family, and therefore, Mrs. Bennet’s highest hope for a good match.
When Mr. Bingley, a young gentleman of London, takes a country estate near to the Bennet’s home, Mrs. Bennet begins her match-making schemes without any trace of subtlety or dignity. Despite Mrs. Bennet’s embarrassing interference, Mr. Bingley and Jane become fond of one another on their own accord. Mr. Darcy, who has accompanied Bingley to the country, begins his acquaintance with Elizabeth, her family, and their neighbors with smug condescension and proud distaste for all of the “country” people. Elizabeth, learning of his dislike, makes it a point to match his disgust with her own venom. She also hears from a soldier (with Darcy family ties) that Darcy has misused the man. Without [really] thinking through the story, Elizabeth immediately seizes upon it as another, more concrete way to hate Mr. Darcy. She contradicts and argues with Darcy each time they meet, but somewhere along the way he begins to have kind feelings towards Elizabeth.
Through a series of unfortunate and captivating events, things turn out for the better as pride and prejudice is overcome, and the truth is revealed.
Jane Austen is a fantastic writer, and I believe Pride and Prejudice deserves most of the hype it has been given. Elizabeth Bennet is not unlike the author’s own character, which lets the reader relate. For me, personally, I felt as if there was something lacking… perhaps I was craving a little more depth and thoughtfulness, and not as much tea-time in the parlor <insert sarcasm> But, this is a romance novel, reaching out to the female audience (typically), so I will give it a clean break and call it a book well-worth the read. Just make sure you’re in the mood.