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4.6 out of 5 stars1,890
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 5 June 2011
I never really imagined myself to be a potential Jane Austen fan as I normally read sci-fi, fantasy and historical novels but once I read Pride and Prejudice I could not help but speed through the rest of her works in pretty quick succession. Austen has an amazing talent for writing about the most mundane every day events in a most interesting and entertaining way. Gossip about people whom one does not know (which is essentially what her books are!) should by all rights be incredibly boring, but then Austen depicts her characters so well that you feel that you do know them. She does not do this so well in any other work as she does in Emma.

Emma is a character who is very easy to relate to, in spite of (or possibly because of) the fact that she is so flawed. Jane Austen referred to Emma as 'heroine whom no one but myself will much like' but how wrong she was. In spite of all her flaws Emma is very likeable indeed. She is highly intelligent and can actually be very shrewd in picking up some social cues.. the audience's entertainment is in the manner in which she misinterprets them! Her main redeeming feature is in the fact that she doesn't realise her own faults, but once she does, she is utterly sorry for them.

Emma is snobbish, her understanding of the events around her is imperfect and she takes a pleasure in interfering in the lives of others. Moreover she is selfish, vain about her intellect and standing in the community and has a tendency to look down her nose at people who do not posess the same qualities she believes herself to have. Poor Emma does not see it this way at all, she is unaware of her own flaws - aren't we all? and it all comes back to bite her in the backside in the end when she not only causes her friend to suffer but also causes her to adopt some of Emma's own negative personality traits which is perhaps one of the key reasons for Emma's epiphany about just how ugly those traits are and just how badly she has behaved. But then, Emma is only 17, and what 17 year old does not make these mistakes? The concept of a teenager may not have existed back in 1815, but teenage behaviour clearly did!

The main amusement for the reader is in seeing things from Emma's perspective but then also seeing it from a perspective that Emma cannot (ie the truth of the situation!) and picking up the clues that Emma misses or misinterprets. It is an entertaining, easy and funny read which I highly reccomend.
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on 21 December 2013
The book is wonderful and very engaging, however it was missing a lot of words which was annoying. I would recommend a better version where the text hasn`t been cut, and to someone reading it just for the storyline and pleasure.
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on 6 February 2007
This novel - after a little adjustment to the style of writing if not accustomed to Austen - makes a marvellous read ! Emma is feisty, warm, witty and mischievous - but not without fault. One finds oneself caught up in the characterisation of Emma and quickly realise that the themes of pride, perception and prejudice ( Austen's speciality ) run throughout.

The reader really is only meant to see events from Emma's point of view - she is the heroine afterall. Her personality carries this novel - she is amusing, clever and inspiring - she has a good nature, is not too egotistical and is willing to learn from her mistakes.

My fave Jane Austen novel - with bouncy, flowing dialogue, an interesting main character and clever subversive story that does not reveal too much all at once, but allows the reader to indulge in the interraction of characters.
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on 26 June 2012
Yes, I know this is free so you can't expect much from a free book but why can't we have the full text? This is my favourite classic and I was looking forward to reading the e-version but feel I have been cheated. One of my reasons for getting a Kindle was the promise of free classics and now I'm finding it be a promise with hidden terms and conditions.
I'm sure this version is great for someone who has not read the book but many of us have. I knew by the first page something was missing from this version. Just be careful which edition you download!
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on 30 June 2002
What can I add about this jewel of a book.
I first read it as a A level student in 1982, and did not know quite what to expect, having read no Austen before. What a revealation it was, the characterisation and pacing of the novel are as close to perfection as I have ever encountered.
Surely no writer can ever have matched Ms Austen for her consummate use of dialogue, and often what is implied says so much more than what is stated, a difficult technique.
Particular favourites of mine are Mr Wodehouse, and his constant fear of illness and draghts, and the verbal excesses of Miss Bates, both instantly recognisable characters.
If you do not know the plot, I won't reveal it, but heartily recommend this glorious read to anybody of any age.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 7 September 2014
'Pride and Prejudice' was published in 1813 and describes how its heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, copes with life among the landed gentry in the early nineteenth century. It is a delicate, wise and sometimes richly humorous novel about how to cope with polite society and its rules. Elizabeth is one of five sisters, the daughters of a moderately well-off country gentleman; his estate is entailed to the nearest male relative and the girls will have a very modest inheritance, so it is imperative that they marry well. To find a suitable husband, they must be accomplished, beautiful and well-mannered and the book deals with issues of manners, upbringing and educations, as well as morality.
This is such a well-known story and has been made into films and television series so many times that you'd think that reading it would be a yawn. On the contrary, it is subtle and charming and wise and thoroughly enjoyable, in my opinion Jane Austen's greatest novel. How much I'd have missed if I had simply watched this on tv! One really understands why Elizabeth and Jane's embarrassing relatives - their parents and siblings, were such a drawback to making a good marriage, as well as why their father's conduct was a reprehensible as their foolish mother's. What I loved was the realism - the explicit way in which women recognised that their only route to a secure and comfortable life was to marry the right man, and that actually falling in love was an optional extra. Elizabeth's plain friend, Charlotte, trades herself off to a foolish man whom she does not love in order to have a home and family and her painful predicament is completely understandable. Elizabeth is determined not to marry without love. Will she succeed? She learns many lessons in her journey to happiness, as does Darcy, and this is what gives the plot its movement forward. A lovely book!
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on 23 September 2003
elizabeth Bennet is a wilful, head strong girl, and when she first meets Mr Darcy she thinks him to be an arrogant, conceited man who dislikes her as much as she does him. when she later discovers that darcy has involved himself in the love affair of her sister jane and mr bingley, and the awful treatment of her newly discovered friend mr wickham, she is determined to hate him even more.
the story that follows is a delightfully funny and well observed tale of the dating game. and Austen's wonderful way of writing characters and there behaviour is absolutely captivating, before you know it you're drawn in to the story, willing Mr darcy and lizzie to realise how they truly feel!
for a casual reader who has not got the time to listen to the entire thing, i would recommend this as it runs at a quite comfortable 5 3/4 hours on 6 CD's. Joanna David's lovely honey voice carries you through and it draws you in, her voicing of Mrs Bennet is especially good.
however i would not recommend this for students as the book is abridged on these CD's, though the editing is done skilfully and the story lines carried nicely through the bits that are left out.
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VINE VOICEon 2 January 2013
I only have limited shelf space and now I have a Kindle I try to balance what I buy for the shelves vs. what I keep on the Kindle.

When I saw and then touched this paperback edition of Jane Austen I was instantly smitten. My existing copies are getting old and crumbly. These have pretty covers with an interesting feel, the printed pages are decent quality with a nice sized font. I bought all 6 Austens: Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion.

If you haven't read Jane Austen, she died in 1817 and was writing during the Napoleonic Wars, an amazing time of exploration, scientific advance and a huge expansion of trade of which she mentions hardly anything. Just occasionally how 'officers' are turning young women's heads.

It is also a time when legally women have very little money of their own and little opportunity for well paid employment and the only way for a woman to have the opportunity to express herself is from the security of marriage - ideally but not necessarily 'happy' marriage.

Pride and Prejudice and most of the rest of Jane's books follow one or more young women with nothing much but their personalities to support them manage to find love and happiness.
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on 8 November 2009
Please, if you have never read Emma, please do judge this book by any film or TV adaptation you may have seen. The classic mistake of adaptors is to squeeze out a plot where there is none, trying to turn it into another Pride and Prejudice. (I love P & P, but Emma is better.)

This novel is about characters and is a wickedly funny observation of the society, the manners and the daily lives of the early 19th century. It sparkles with humour.

This is a truly great book that does not give up all its secrets at the first (or even the tenth reading.) Nothing happens in Emma, everything happens in Emma.

Read, savour, re-read.

(Who am I to praise the great Jane?. Unworthy. I will just genuflect and go.)
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on 25 May 2004
I had the terrible misfortune to go to a school that insisted on making us read the most miserable old books for our English courses. For years afterwards I suffered under the assumption that anything labelled as a "classic" was certain to be grim and impenetrable, and I stuck to reading relatively modern novels.
I bless the day when I wrestled with my prejudice and picked up a friend's anthology of Austen's novels. I had heard plenty about Austen's "social observation" before. It's an unfortunate phrase, because it suggested to me that her writing would be interesting but a bit dry and academic. Not a bit of it.
All of the Austen novels I've read so far have been good, but Pride and Prejudice is head and shoulders above the rest and ranks as one of the most entertaining books I have ever read. The characters are fabulously drawn, from the odious Mr Collins and the vacuous Lydia to the blithe Mr Bingley and the truly heroic Lizzie Bennett. The book is wonderfully constructed, going through what seems to be fairly straightforward plot development before Mr Darcy's proposal puts the main protagonists through a second half full of suspense and heart-felt self-criticism. Austen's writing is clear, concise, full of acute observations and coloured with a wonderful sense of humour.
While the whole book is extremely satisfying, it is Lizzie who steals the show. Much has been made of Mr Darcy's sex appeal, but most red-blooded men would find hard to deny that Miss Bennett is a deeply fascinating and attractive woman. She is fabulous throughout, and the story is peppered with moments where she delivers some truly marvelous dialogue, not least her reaction to Mr Darcy's proposal and her interview with Lady Catherine (which almost had me cheering out loud on the train into work). Strong-willed, intelligent, good-looking and cool under pressure; what a woman.
A fabulous book. How I wish I had read it years ago.
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