Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
I'm going to dedicate this book review to my A-Level English teacher Mrs Pearce. Mrs Pearce was a small, Scottish lady, the epitome of a great teacher and a credit to her profession. She made literature come alive and positively bounce off the page. Reading Pride and Prejudice with her made it feel like you were cosying up with a cuppa and a good friend to discuss last night's television. 'Did you read Pride and Prejudice last night?' 'Ooh yeah, it was a good one wasn't it, that Miss Bingley, what a cow' and so on.
Mrs Pearce brought alive a book written in 1813 to a bunch of hormonal, spotty teenagers. Every nuance, biting comment and witticism was beautifully explained. This, already from a teacher who had made us all fall in love with 'Wuthering Heights' and it's difficult dialect. (And I say that as someone born and living in Yorkshire!).
As many of you know, this novel is about Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. It is about a woman's role and ambition in the society of the time. Mr Bingley moves to Netherfield Park, an exciting potential husband for the ladies of Merryton. He is joined by his rather proud and arrogant friend Darcy, and his 2 rotten sisters. Jane, Lizzy's elder sister, and Mr Bingley become very attached to each other especially through some outrageous tactical planning of Mrs Bennet, Jane and Lizzy's mother. But Darcy angers the local society with his arrogance and disdain. Whilst visiting Bingley, Jane is taken ill and forced to stay at Netherfield with Lizzy as her nurse. What follows are a number of delightful exchanges between Darcy and Lizzy who is not frightened or cowed by him. Darcy becomes very taken with Lizzy and her 'fine eyes'.
With the arrival of army officer, Wickham, Lizzy learns more about Darcy and his cruel behaviour towards Wickham, so is not best disposed to him when he proposes marriage which she rejects fully with quite a number of choice words. Further upset occurs when Lizzy finds out that Darcy has convinced Bingley to leave Netherfield and Jane, and is congratulating himself for saving Bingley from a disastrous match.
What will happen? Is Wickham all he seems? What about Jane, will she be reunited with Bingley?
Jane Austen wrote one of the most famous lines in English Literature. The dialogue and writing are like the delicate keys on a piano or Earl Grey being being poured into a china cup. Light delicious and fragrant. Lizzy is an intelligent, inspirational and engaging character, who doesn't bow down to the social expectations of the time. This novel certainly deserves it's place in the Top 10 of the BBC Big Read and I will remain ever thankful to Mrs Pearce for bringing this novel truly alive.
This book needs nothing more than to be enjoyed with a cup of Lady Grey tea and a delicate sliver of Victoria Sponge served on a bone china plate with a cake fork. Enjoy my loves!