Thursday, February 23, 2017

Pride and Prejudice with Songs from Regency England by Jane Austen, Read by Alison Larkin

Title: Pride and Prejudice with Songs from Regency England
Author: Jane Austen
Read by:  Alison Larkin
Publisher: British Classic Audio
Length: Approximately 13 hours and 29 minutes
Source: Review Copy from author Alison Larkin - Thank-you!

A perfect book for the Valentine’s Day holiday this month, Pride and Prejudice is one of the most romantic novels that have ever been written.  What a delight it has been to listen to the audiobook version of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen wonderfully narrated by Alison Larkin.  It made my daily commute much more enjoyable.  Alison Larkin has a perfect voice for narration and had unique “voices” for the individual characters.  As I’ve said in other reviews of audiobooks of Austen’s novels, I feel they translate particularly well to the audiobook format as Austen would read them herself to her family and I feel they were written to be read aloud.  I enjoyed the piano music between each chapter. 

My favorite part of this audiobook version was actually the regency songs at the end.  Alison Larkin sang four regency era songs and had them in a scene where Mr. Darcy and others are listening to the singing. It was magnificent and humorous at the same time.  I could listen to an entire CD of Alison Larkin singing regency era songs.  They were beautiful.

Why is Pride and Prejudice such a romantic novel?  I think it is because of the unique relationship between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth.  They don’t both meet, fall in love, and ride off into the sunset together.  Mr. Darcy insults Elizabeth’s looks and his snobby behavior infuriates her.  She is afterwards willing and able to believe the worst of him including any and all malicious rumors. As Darcy gets to know Elizabeth better, her sense of humor, and no nonsense observations on life attract him.  She is unlike any other woman he has known, she is not afraid to tell him exactly what she thinks.  Which is what she does when he proposes and she refuses.  Things seem at an end until Elizabeth visits Pemberley with her Aunt and Uncle.  She meets Darcy again and he has changed the way he treats everyone.  Elizabeth also sees how he treats the staff and his sister and is impressed by his goodness.  I believe it is because Elizabeth and Darcy have to work through their first misunderstandings to find true love that makes this such a romantic novel?  What do you think?  I also think watching Colin Firth as Darcy in a wet shirt in the 1995 mini-series helps to make this a romantic classic.

I was struck again while listening to this audiobook on how financial stability is one of the driving forces of the novel.  Who has what living or money is the talk of everyone in the novel  With Longbourn entailed away to Mr. Collins, Mrs. Bennet has a real concern that if Mr. Bennet dies, she and her daughters will have no way to support themselves.  I like when in the novel, Mr. Bennet reflects on how the only money they will have is what Mrs. Bennet brought to the marriage and that he probably should have been saving money all along.  He then shrugs it off and thinks it’s too late now.  That is why my British novel instructor in college said that Mr. Bennet is the real villain and Mrs. Bennet is the real heroine when you look beyond the comedy of the novel.  Elizabeth Bennet holds out for love, but her friend Charlotte is more practical and marries Mr. Collins knowing that their marriage will provide a secure future for herself.

Pride and Prejudice is full of some of my favorite quotes of all time.  Listening to this audiobook was like listening to an old friend tell my favorite story.  Here are just a random sampling of some of my favorite quotes:

“For what do we live, but to make sport for our neighbors, and laugh at them in our turn?”

“You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

“She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me, and I am in no humor at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men.”

“They walked on, without knowing in what direction. There was too much to be thought, and felt, and said, for attention to any other objects.”

“How little of permanent happiness could belong to a couple who were only brought together because their passions were stronger than their virtue.”

Overall, Pride and Prejudice with Songs from Regency England by Jane Austen and read by Alison Larkin is a beautiful version of one of my favorite books.  Alison Larkin is a wonderful narrator and I love the unique rendition of the regency songs at the end of this audiobook.  It’s a perfect audiobook to listen to, especially when you want to relax and escape from the daily grind or daily news.

Why do YOU think Pride and Prejudice is a romantic classic? Do you have a favorite audiobook version?


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    1. Laura, the regency songs must make this even more enjoyable to listen to--how wonderful it sounds! Excellent review! I think P & P is romantic because the feelings of the main characters go from one extreme to the other, from intense dislike--to love. <3

  2. This must be really good to listen to. Very atmospheric!