So... it's been two and a half years since I confessed that I hadn't read any Jane Austen. I thought I would give you an update.
I've read three now - Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Mansfield Park. Phew.
Here is the next shocking confession: I didn't particularly like them. Now, I didn't hate them, but I certainly didn't love them. And I expected to love them. When faced with an evening alone and the TV to myself I search for a period drama. I love Downton as much as as anyone else (and boy are there plenty of parallels between Downton and Austen). I adored all the Bronte books when I read them. But, at times, these three Austen books were a bit of a slog to get through. I finished Mansfield Park at some point last winter and decided to take a break from Austen.
I'm not dismissing their value as literature of the the English language, nor the enormity of their story and the fact that they were written by a woman. There were, however, many, many times that the detail was intense and the plot very, very slow. More than once I wished the BBC had done a miniseries on all of the books.
(As an aside, I do totally get the Colin Firth thing now.)
You know what? I think I would have loved these if I read them in my 20s. When I had a romantic view of romance and still thought drama in a relationship was admirable. I too was daydreaming of marriage and that being an end result as opposed to a beginning. Now, approaching 40, I consider it romantic when my Hubby empties the dishwasher and drama means The Evil Genius thinks the world is out to get her again.
Don't worry, I'm not giving up. I will finish the other three, maybe even this year. I've got lots of tea on hand.