Shelf Conscious [3]: Jane And Elizabeth


In 2005, I discovered Jane Austen. I know, know. That’s fairly recent considering her books were published a couple of centuries ago. I saw this interview with Keira Knightley about a movie she was promoting at the time. I didn’t know what the movie was and frankly, didn’t really care. In the middle of the interview, they showed this clip:


I hadn’t a clue what they were going on about (the dialogue was too English and much too fast) but man, you can cut through the tension between them with a knife. She got my attention. I went on the internet and researched whatever I can about the movie. Since there was no way my husband would agree to see this period piece in the cinema, I knew I had to find another way. Again, this was pre-Goodreads era.  So when I found out about Pride & Prejudice was actually a novel, I knew I had to get it. But mostly, I was biding my time until I can get a copy of the movie. Thankfully, this was not a huge release so it was available just a few months thereafter.
Ever since then, I had to read all of Jane Austen’s books.  As far as literary heroes go, the dashing but recalcitrant Darcy was hard to forget. I thought for sure that it was going to be my all-time favorite. But I was wrong. Captain Wentworth made me forget Fitzwilliam Darcy’s existence almost in an instant.
Persuasion is probably the novel that made me fall in love with second-chance romances. Basically, Anne’s family was once rich who belittled Wentworth when he was a poor boy. Years later, the wheels have turned. He becomes a rich, decorated military man while Anne’s family is struggling to keep up appearances. Admittedly, the revenge wasn’t so sweet. Because for all the snobbery and attempts of hurting Anne, Wentworth suffered two-folds. And that is why Persuasion was my favorite of Austen’s novels.


Ah, but nothing could’ve prepared me for Mr. Thornton and Margaret. Looking back, I don’t remember how I discovered North and South. If Elizabeth Bennett is your homegirl because she’s all, girl-power and whatnot, Margaret Hale is the leader of their girl band. She is fearless as she is kind-hearted; charitable but opinionated. She fought for the rights of the poor people, but she didn’t stand for the violence they incite. This is England on the cusp of  Industrial Revolution when the rich who owned factories were against unionization. She’s a daughter of a pastor who served God and their fellowman. But she’s far from meek, and she wasn’t afraid to tell a man off. Unfortunately, that role was filled by Mr. Thornton on more than one occasion. You can tell he couldn’t decide whether to kiss her or strangle her or both. But I love the romance because, in the end, Margaret saved Mr. Thornton.

How did you discover Jane Austen?

Have you read North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell?

  • Ohh 😀 So glad you love these books sweet girl. <3 I.. have not read any of her books. Sigh. But one day, maybe 🙂 I just don't think I will love them, lol. But I am curious 😀 But.. I do think I have read the P&P book. While on a Spain trip in 9th grade. But I remember noooothing from it. lol 🙂 Aaanyway. Lovely post Joy. <3

  • Yeah…. I haven’t read any books by her… Watched the Pride & Prejudice movie though… I need to fix that!

  • My mom and my aunt love Jane Austen, so they used to talk about it a lot when I was younger, and I’ve seen the Kiera Knightly version of P&P like 20 times at least (I’m not even kidding). I have yet to read an Austen book though…I seriously should because I love the film versions for many of them. I’ve read several YA retellings, which I totally recommend: For Darkness Shows the Stars and The Trouble With Flirting are the two that come to mind! Also, if you haven’t seen The Lizzie Bennet Diaries web series, you absolutely need to–loved it so much 😀 Great post! This really makes me want to pick up one of Austen’s books soon.

    Rabiah @ Confessions of a Readaholic

  • I don’t know how I got to know Jane Austen but knowing her is basically like ‘general knowledge’ to me. She’s one of the most famous classic authors. So I always assume everyone knows her. I haven’t read any of her books though but I have Pride & Prejudice on my shelf. I don’t know when I’ll read it though since I’m not the biggest classic reader.

  • Like many others, I discovered Jane Austen because she waz required reading in school, and I really enjoyed pride and prejudice. I haven’t read her other novels though!

  • Much like you, I didn’t get into Austen until a few years ago. From school, a dislike for classic literature grew because I was being brat and hated being forced to read books that were so old and boring. What do you mean there’s no dragons?!

    But one day, I just decided to take a plunge and give Pride and Prejudice a go, after heading EVERYONE and their cats rave about it and the romance. That was when I fell in love. If you haven’t yet, make sure you check out ‘The Lizzie Bennett Diaries’ on YouTube. It’s a modern day adaptation of the book in YouTube form!

  • oh yay on Jane Austen, I discovered her in high school. My favorite movies done is Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice with Kiera Knightley. I can’t tell you how many times I have watched that movie hehe

  • My older sister is crazy about Jane Austen novels – in university she was part of the Jane Austen society as well although I have no idea what they do for their meetings. Anyway, because I am a fellow bookworm for Christmas she bought me the Jane Austen set. I have yet to read all of them but I have read Persuasion and P&P. Maybe not such a fan of the latter, but my favourite classic of all time is Mansfield Park and I do like Persuasion a lot too 😀

  • I actually discovered Pride and Prejudice during my high school years so possibly 2009-2010. I loved the movie so much! But I’ve never read Jane Austen’s novel. But now, give me Persuasion! I didn’t know what it was about until now and I love second-chance romance so I need this!

  • I had to read Northanger Abbey for school and I just couldn’t get into it! I tried reading Emma but I couldn’t make it past page 60. However, I read a retelling of Pride and Prejudice a few weeks back and now I really want to give Austen’s books another go as I LOVED the retelling! This post has made me want to read her books even more now! 🙂

  • I’ve only read one of her books many years ago and can’t even remember which one. I don’t even remember how I discovered her.

  • I’ve ONLY read Pride & Prejudice, but I remember liking it so much more than all the other classics I had to read in English class hahah! I think I would read more, but I don’t know. Her novels don’t sound like my type of novels. At least right now they don’t!

  • I’ve only tried to read Austen twice, and admittedly never finished or liked them. I’m in the minority, though!

  • I haven’t read any of the books (I know, I’m ashamed), but I do indulge when an adaptation comes out. Even the zombie one! lol

  • Oh my gosh I was OBSESSED with the Kiera Knightley version of Pride & Prejudice for the longest time, which is what got me into Jane Austen. I still have to read Persuasion but it’s on my list.

  • I love Jane Austen and yes Pride & Prejudice is a personal fav! I didn’t discover her until a few years ago myself. I’d always viewed her novels as “required reading” but when I finally did indulge… It was great!!

  • I discovered Austen when that PP tv series came out when I was in elementary school and I was all looooooove. North and South I watched when it came out and was all Armitaaaaage

  • shootingstarsmag

    I feel like I’ve always known who Jane Austen was, but I only read one of her novels in college, and that was Persuasion. I even wrote a whole paper on it and I really did enjoy it. I need to read more!


  • I REALLY need to actually read Jane Austen 😀 (It’s shameful!) I’ve seen all of the movie adaptations and my favorites are Pride and Prejudice 2005 and Emma. Also I shall put North and South on my TBR!

    I need to go read some Jane Austen now 🙂

  • I’m kind of ashamed to admit that the only book by Austen that I’ve read is Pride and Prejudice. I loved the book (and all of the movies that I watched) but for some reason, I had no interest in continuing with her other works.

    I’ve never tried any Elizabeth Gaskell books either. After reading this post, I’m thinking I should definitely fix that.

  • Jenny @ Supernatural Snark

    I LOVE THAT MOVIE! Keira Knightley did such a good job I thought:) And yes, the tension between them was palpable:) I discovered Jane Austen in high school, we actually had to read P&P for class. I loved it, but haven’t actually read anything else by her! I fail.

  • kindlemom1

    Oh my gosh Thornton’s moment of “Look back, Look back at me” just about broke my heart! I discovered Austen in high school but didn’t really get into her books until about, oh ten years ago when I bought her entire collection in one book (it is massive!) and read them all one summer. From there I bought The Kiera version of P&P and then the old Colin Firth version (it’s like 5 hours long but almost quotes the book verbatim). And from there I had to buy Persuasion, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility which let to North & South thanks to Amazon’s recommendation. I own them all and watch them all every year, sometimes several time, okay. tons. I even love the new version of Jane Eyre. I made myself read all the books before I could watch the movies though and I don’t regret it one bit. They were all fabulous. I’m a hard core fan of them all.

  • ChristinaBookAddict

    Ahhh! I love Jane Austen. I first encountered P&P in high school and read Persuasion for a course in college. I love both novels as well as Emma. I haven’t read North & South yet, but it has been on my TBR list forever. I’m sure I’ll love it. I think there is a mini-series based on the book as well. I definitely want to check that out after I read the novel. Great post!!

  • I haven’t as yet but it’s on my TBR and bought a copy not too long ago. I think I was around 12 when I’d first read Pride and Prejudice and completely fell in love with Elizabeth. She was a girl who didn’t allow herself to be pushed around and I loved that about her. It’s still my favourite Austen, only surpassed by Bronte’s Jane Eyre. I love how female authors were creating strong female characters even back then and can imagine how many women they inspired.

  • Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

    Wait, YES! I adore that scene from P&P, not to mention Persuasion is the most overlooked of Austen’s romances even though it’s SO GOOD and that letter gets me every time and North & South is sheer perfection! The film makes me swoon every time and I’m such a fangirl (as you can tell…).

    My mom was a huuuge fan of P&P and would watch the film fairly often while I grew up and, being an irritating teenager, I just didn’t get it–and frankly didn’t want to. So when I finally decided to read it, my mom and I would have these long, crazy discussions over chai where I’d be so confused how she could like Darcy and by the end, of course, I was in love. It cemented a trust in my mom’s taste that I carry to this day. After that I read Jane Eyre and cried so much at the wedding, and then Gone With the Wind which made me a shell of a person for weeks, and somewhere along the line I read all of Austen’s books (Mansfield Park is the worst) and stumbled upon North & South, too.

    Anyhow, excuse me while I go re-watch this version of P&P ASAP! 😉