“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife”. And with this, perhaps the most famous ironical sentence ever, begins Austen’s masterpiece. First published in 1813, it achieved instant success and its popularity has endured till this date. With a working title of First Impressions, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen has remained an evergreen favorite among all in the literary world. Every English major has read it and moreover, there are so many others who aren’t majoring in English, but are still among this classic’s ardent lovers.
Pride and Prejudice follows the trials and tribulations of the five Bennet sisters- Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia, with all their various quirks and mannerisms. It is a truly funny and satiric novel in the sense that it subtly pokes fun at the various stereotypes in Regency Era England.
We see the irony in appearance and character- for instance, in the fine-bred Lady Catherine de Bourgh and her condescending manners, Mrs. Bennet with her silly and loud ways as well as Mr. Collins who surely loves to hear his own voice. There is also a comparison made between simplicity and intricacy in between Jane and Mr. Charles Bingley, and Elizabeth and Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. The novel’s title may be a reference to Mr. Darcy’s pride and Elizabeth’s prejudice against him; however, it goes both ways.
Since Pride and Prejudice can be classified as a novel of manners, we can also see quite a few social themes that haunted every action and thought of people in 19th century England. Reputation is one major theme in this novel, but it comes into prominence with Lydia’s elopement with Wickham. At the base of the story, we can say that Pride and Prejudice is a story of two young people coming together, as love inexplicably binds them together. It is thus no wonder that love should be one of the major themes of this novel. Financial status or class is another recurring theme- it is what drives Mrs. Bennet with the threat of the entail hanging of her head, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh when she visits Elizabeth towards the end, and expresses how unfit any union of her and Mr. Darcy would be. In the same vein, social appearance, humility and prejudice are also among the few other themes.
Personal growth is quite a major theme throughout the novel- it takes place in the two major characters of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Taking this factor, Pride and Prejudice can also be classified as a bildungsroman. A lot of the storyline is also taken forward through the medium of letters- among Jane, Elizabeth, Caroline Bingley etc. thus we see an effective use of the epistolary form as well.
I remember that that first time I read this, was back in 2012 when I was perhaps in the eight standard. I had loved it then and I loved it as I possible read this for the hundredth time this semester. It truly is a wonderful experience every time I read it and one of the obvious choices when people ask me for classics recommendations. I rated it, as usual a 5/5 stars; I do not know anyone who would grant it any less!
Publishers: Mills and Boon Limited.
Virgin or wanton…?
Oliver Lee is a man with a shadowed past. He is suspicious of everything and everyone…so when he meets Fliss, he thinks her innocence is an act. Fliss may be innocent, but when Oliver’s around she can’t help behaving as if she is a woman of the world. Fliss is tempted to throw caution to the winds, because life with Oliver seems to offer such exciting possibilities. The passion he inspires in Fliss is just like raw silk–beautiful, unique and desirable. But like raw silk, it is fragile…. Only love will help it survive.
As far as a Mills and Boon goes, I believe this one was pretty well constructed. The author has nicely embedded an intricacy through the mystery element in what is otherwise a bland plot line. I think this is the one thing that actually kept me stuck till the end.
Fliss as a character is not someone I admired; I found her too weak-willed and without a spine. And her reaction whenever Oliver was near was too overrated; I know certain things have to be a bit overrated in any romance novel but this, I believe, was just too much. I did enjoy Oliver’s character as well as Rose Chen’s. They were both powerful personalities worth admiring.
I rate this a 2/5 stars. It’s not something I’ll pick up anytime soon!
Before I begin, I would like to state how very lucky I consider myself to have found out about BookChor, and if you haven’t, let me tell you-you are missing out on the best steal deals on books that there ever have been.
I bought Bitter Betrayals from BookChor for less than 100INR, and I am very glad of it. Mills and Boon’s books have been my guilty pleasure, ever since I started reading them at 17. I like that they are quite lighthearted and fluffy to read- often short enough to complete in one seating. Bitter Betrayal is one such book.
I think the author has very tragically described how rejection can change a person like we see in our protagonist Jenneth. This brings to light also the bitter side of the real world- something one does not always see in books of this genre. The various issues or themes, this brought up were very thought-provoking- trust, self-esteem, friendship, and of course love. The author has also brought in the real-life issue of sex- sexual relationships without the entanglements of love, especially in Eleanor. This perhaps will help to slowly dispel the “virgin” concept, so much prevalent in the Mills and Boon series, especially of the 20th century. Brotherly/familial love and concern is also another theme seen here- we have Nick and Kit, and then Angelina, all of whose love for Jenneth is clearly seen in the book.
Apart from the characters, I saw a few irregularities in the plot. The whole way that the marriage came about- the reason, which everyone had so easily accepted, seemed too far-fetched to me. It felt like the author was trying to just get Jenneth and Luke, her male counterpart, to tie the knot, in any way that was possible. Like in most Mills and Boon books, the man is always arrogant and dominating, and Bitter Betrayal is no exception. However, we were given glimpses into Luke’s point of view at times, and I found it a refreshing take.
I have read a Mills and Boon after a long time and truly enjoyed it. However, it was a light read nonetheless- something I picked up one night when I couldn’t sleep. As such, I rate it a 3/5.