Charlotte Reads Classics

Slowly, slowly, she sipped a sentence.

Advent with Austen

November 27th until Christmas Eve is Advent with Austen. And indeed, Advent in general.


I’m planning to read as much of this list as possible, although what I don’t manage I’m sure I’ll get to at some point:

  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  • Emma by Jane Austen
  • Lady Susan / The Watsons / Sanditon by Jane Austen
  • Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James
  • Jane’s Fame by Claire Harman
  • Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin
I’ve never read Sense and SensibilityEmma or the unfinished stories before so I’m looking forward to completing the Austen novels. My currently read Austen’s are ranked:
Northanger Abbey
Pride and Prejudice
Mansfield Park
It’ll be interesting to see whether this changes at all after this month. I’ll confess it is hard to imagine anything beating Northanger Abbey or anything being worse than Mansfield ParkDeath Comes to Pemberley will be my first attempt at reading an Austen sequel; it takes place six years after Elizabeth and Darcy’s marriage in Pride and Prejudice. I think that if anyone could pull it off, P. D. James could – something about the tone of her writing feels possible. Other than snippets of information gathered from The Jane Austen Book Club, I know pretty much nothing about Austen herself. Claire Tomalin has written biographies of so many authors I like that I really want to actually read one. Claire Harman’s book seems to capture the spirit of Advent with Austen; what makes her so timeless and why we want to read her books today. Time to get the books out…

The Last Anne Brontë

agnes grey

Agnes Grey by Anne Brontë

Well, I’m hideously depressed because I now have no new Anne Brontë novels to read. I really wish she had been able to write more. I love love LOVE both of her novels (not sure if I’ve stressed this enough, the past few posts). Agnes Grey is not as dramatic as The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, it is sweeter, more domestic but just as strongly defiant.

The story revolves around Agnes Grey and her experiences as a governess living amongst richer families. If you haven’t read it, I’m not sure how interesting I’ve made this book sound, but I thought it was completely fascinating! I was fully sympathetic to Agnes when she had to deal with such horrible ‘superiors’ and thought it must have been a satisfying book for Anne to write – no doubt this novel was informed by her own experiences.

I’ve really enjoyed reading both of her novels because they read as though they have completely captured a particular time in history. I think because they are so realistic; the characters are very human, the situations specific, the action grounded by what was plausible; a modern reader feels like they have been let into someone’s very much real life.