I have an almost 50/50 love/hate relationship with Jane Austen. I say almost because out of the six published (not including Love and Friendship) because I have yet to read Sense and Sensibility, but I will be ranking it based on reviews from people whose opinions I trust.
I ABSOLUTELY 100% HATE this book! Not only did I read it once for my own enjoyment (or lack of) I also had to read it for school and it was the worst couple of weeks in my school life. I do not like the romance or the characters in general. It’s obvious that this was her first book because it lacks the charm that even the next one on this list has. Anne was insufferable and her inner monologues got so badly on my nerves that I had to put the book down for a while in order to rest my eyes, not from reading, but because I rolled my eyes too much. I don’t want to influence your decision on whether or not to read this because I am a believer that every book is different to everyone, but this book is rated 6 on this list and 3rd on my most hated books of all time.
5. Mansfield Park
I didn’t hate this one no where near as much as I hated Persuasion. I enjoyed, for the most part, the main character, Fanny Price. She was a decent character, but the romance was disgusting (given in this era it was acceptable but it wasn’t just who she loved but how the love story progresses that really threw me off of it) and the plot was dull enough to make me fall asleep. with that being said, i neither hated or loved it, but it doesn’t rank higher on this list because I enjoyed the others so much more.
4. Sense and Sensibility
Like I said, I haven’t read this book personally and I do plan on getting to it eventually, but from what people have told me, I should enjoy this more than the previous two books and the fact that it follows a close sisterly bond (that I am lucky enough to have with my own sister) makes me VERY excited to read!
3. Northanger Abbey
I am so disappointed that my teacher in high school made us read Persuasion instead of Northanger Abbey because not only was this book so much better, but it also taught a lot of valuable life lessons that I wish I would’ve had back then instead of having to find out through trial and error. Catherine is the most adorable character and her relationship with Henry and his sister was one of my favorite aspects of this book; however, the romance was almost insta-love and Austen fails to add in why the two were attracted to each other and why they fell in love, but I can forgive all that because this book portrays a strong female friendship.
2. Pride and Prejudice
Surprised that this is number 2? I certainty was, but as I was thinking about this list, I realized there was one more book that ranked just slightly higher. P&P is everything I could ask for in a novel: a strong sisterly bond, a strong female friendship, a strong male friendship, a strong father/daughter bond, and one of the most heart pounding, frustrating, can-barely-read-through-tears romance. Elizabeth is everything I strive to be in life and much much more and while the previous books failed to keep my attention for longer than five minutes at a time, I read this book on a eleven hour road trip and only stopped to eat. If you are trying to get into Austen and have tried any of the other books (including my number 1!!), I suggest you read this one first. *
I’m not biased because my name is Emma (okay maybe a little) or that I was actually named after my dear Miss Woodhouse (okay so maybe a lot)! No, I do honestly think that Emma is Jane Austen’s greatest novel. My main reasoning behind this is that despite everything AMAZING that P&P is it still felt a little like Insta-love, but with Emma, the romance is so far from instant that I can barely breath when I think about how much I love it! Also Emma Woodhouse was written to be an unlikable character and I still managed to fall for her which just comes to show just how good Jane Austen was at what she did. This book also has: a strong sisterly bond, a strong father/daughter bond, a strong male/female friendship, a strong female friendship, and the insufferable but lovable Ms and Miss Bates! *
* Okay so both of these books have characters name Jane and they are both like the PERFECT people, so what’s up with that?