A few years ago, I read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen for the first time. I am ashamed to admit that even though I studied literature in college, I didn’t read Jane Austen. It was never assigned, so I just didn’t read it. Years later, I wanted to right my wrong and picked up Pride and Prejudice. I’ve been obsessed with Austen since.
Last year, I decided that I wanted to read all seven Austen novels. My plan is to read one per year, in the winter, until I read all seven. I already had Pride and Prejudice under my belt. For my second Austen title, I chose Sense and Sensibility, which I enjoyed, but definitely not as much as my beloved P&P. This year, I decided to read Emma.
Emma was funny, charming, witty, and at times, a bit frustrating. It’s a classic, slightly comical take on misconstrued romance and manners. The title character, Emma, is a terrible matchmaker, however she doesn’t think so. I found Emma to be more humorous than the other two Austen novels I’ve read. The supporting characters were my favorites out of all three novels. Each one had such personality and color. I thought the book was absolutely charming and delightful, the perfect read for the end of winter.
When I read Jane Austen, I like to look into the themes surrounding her writing. I find her fascinating. I specifically love the way she depicts gender. While Emma is spoiled and slightly snobbish, I saw her has a strong woman. She sees no need to get married and would much prefer to meddle in other people’s affairs than her own. She’s both likable and disagreeable. Thug Notes has a great YouTube video about Emma. It’s hilarious and informative. I’ve watched it at least 5 times since reading the book.
After I finished reading, I watched the movie on Netflix with Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma. What I pictured in my head while reading was very similar to how it was portrayed on film. I was happy to know that I successfully understood the novel! I really enjoy the movie versions of Austen’s novels, and Emma was no exception. Pride and Prejudice (the one with Kiera Knightly) is one of my favorite movies of all time.
To pair with Emma, my drink had to be light and fun. I turned to another Bright Cellars wine; they never disappoint. I decided to go with a classic Chardonnay to pair with my latest read. When I first opened the bottle, I wasn’t sure about the taste. I’m very picky about Chardonnay. Typically I’m not a fan of an oaky wine. I much prefer to drink wine that’s been fermented in steel barrels, as opposed to oak. Not wanting to waste the wine, I let the bottle sit in the fridge for a day or two, then went back to it. On my second tasting, I liked it much better. It’s different from what I usually drink. It was incredibly smooth and rich. There were subtle notes of vanilla that pleasantly lingered. It was a fun departure from my typical wine choice; I was glad I gave it a second chance.
I thought it was appropriate that the label reminded me of Jane Austen. I could see Emma in her sitting room, cross-stitching this pattern!
Here’s my current rank of the Austen novels I’ve read thus far:
- Pride and Prejudice
- Sense and Sensibility
Next year is Persuasion. We’ll see where that one fits in!
What’s your favorite Jane Austen novel?
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*I was not compensated for my review. All thoughts and images are my own.*