Have I ever read a book as perfect as this one? I think not.
Every single page of this story was enjoyable to read. I had never heard of this book before seeing it on the 100 Book Challenge list, so I had no idea of what to expect. The bizarre title and inconspicuous author name gave me no clues either. So I just opened the book and began to read.
This book took me four days to read. Every waking minute during those four days I was obsessed with getting back to the book. When I finally read that last page I was relieved: I could go back onto focusing my daily life again.
But would I recommend you read this book? I’m not sure.
It takes me about half a book of Austen before I start enjoying it. That first half is always such a struggle. I’m constantly looking at the page numbers and monitoring whether I’m a tenth through, a fifth through, a third through…
And then, just when I’m thinking I can’t possibly go on, something takes over. I am connected to each of the characters, I understand what drives them, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
I wasn’t particularly drawn to Emma herself – she is the classic 19th century English woman, and somewhat annoying with her matchmaking – but the characters who surround her are brilliant. It always amazes me how I can read about people from the early 1800s and can immediately think of someone I know who has the exact same characteristics. Technology has changed so much over time… but it hasn’t done anything to change human nature.
Why did it take me so long to discover this book!?
I have to admit, the first chapter was one of the most tedious chapters I’ve read during this 100 book challenge. I was ready to give it the flick. Then a word here and there piqued my interest… there was a deep mystery, albeit so slightly mentioned, and from that page on I was hooked.
This one was spooky! Similar to Wuthering Heights, this one kept me awake at night wondering if the noises outside my window were in fact coming from a vampire. It may sound crazy, but while I was reading this book, it seemed to consume me and my real-world thoughts, and everywhere I looked I saw things that reminded me of the book.
My third Austen book (but only my second ‘official count’ for the 100 book challenge) was Persuasion. I didn’t have high hopes, considering I found Pride and Prejudice such a struggle and I was getting very little sleep thanks to my two, albeit adorable, ratbags.
I’d bought Emma, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion from MacLeans and knew I needed to tackle one of them. So of course I chose the latter, being the one with the fewer pages.
Finally an Austen girl I can relate to!
I had a gift voucher to spend at the local book shop and was excited to buy a few from the 100 book challenge list. The Penguin and Vintage classics were selling for $14 each so I began searching the shelves for familiar titles.
At one stage I had War and Peace in one hand and Of Mice and Men in the other. The former is a whopping 580,000 words and the latter a mere 30,000. Being part of the classics range, they were both $14. It seemed a no-brainer: War and Peace was much more value for money. Just 2.4 cents per 1000 words.
I had my 6 month old daughter in the pram, and she had started to fidget. She wanted out. I put the books down to lift her out of the pram. Baby on hip, I then decided which of the two books I would add to my collection.