Summary from Audible:
One of Jane Austen’s most beloved works, Pride and Prejudice, is vividly brought to life by Academy Award nominee Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl). In her bright and energetic performance of this British classic, she expertly captures Austen’s signature wit and tone. Her attention to detail, her literary background, and her performance in the 2005 feature film version of the novel provide the perfect foundation from which to convey the story of Elizabeth Bennett, her four sisters, and the inimitable Mr. Darcy.
In Pride and Prejudice, the Bennett sisters try to find their way in the repressive strictures of 19th-century society. Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and the experience of falling in love, and she superbly describes a world which, despite being more than two centuries old, still resonates with modern concerns.
Okay, first off, I read this the traditional way several years ago and you can read the review I did then here. When I had the opportunity to get this awesome audiobook version for review, I thought it would be a nice experiment. How would the audio reading experience measure up the the normal reading experience? Would I love this as much the second time around? Or would Darcy irk me like he does a lot of people? The conclusion? I think it’s a safe bet to say I might just prefer audiobooks to actually reading (PLEASE DON’T SHOOT ME!).
I have actually been avoiding writing this for a little bit because I never feel like I can do supremely awesome stories justice. I am a mere mortal and Austen is a god and how am I supposed to string words together in the bastardized version of the English language we use today to explain just how amazing Pride & Prejudice is? What am I to say that a hundred other reviewers haven’t already said more elegantly than I ever could? Here’s my best go at it!
Pride and Prejudice is an acclaimed novel for a reason. Even classic-haters like me adore it. Austen brings the Bennet family to life and that’s the magic of this story, even a hundred years after it’s publication. Ultimately, P&P is a love story about Elizabeth and Darcy, but it’s also about the Bennet clan. It’s about Jane and Kitty and Mary and Lydia. It’s about the dynamic between the parents and the siblings. It’s about how close Jane is with Lizzy and how truly irritating and immature Lydia can be. I think that is part of what makes it magical, there’s character development all around. It makes you want an hoard of siblings to call your own…as well as a Darcy, cuz…you know, he’s Darcy.
I also love this because those slow-build, I-hate-you-until-I-love-you love stories have always been a weakness of mine. As much as I love Elizabeth with her love of books and walking and her outspokenness, it was Darcy who I really related to. Not because I’m insanely rich with fake people continually clamoring for my attention (I WISH), but because he’s so shy and awkward. When he utters the following line, I was finished: “I certainly have not the talent which some people possess, of conversing easily with those I have never seen before. I cannot catch their tone of conversation, or appear interested in their concerns, as I often see done.” That is me in a single line and I swooned on the spot. I have no talent for small-talk either.
Basically, this is everything that all the positive reviews claim it is and it should be mandatory reading in school instead of depressing things like Wuthering Heights!
As I said, I was very interested to see how the audio experience compared to the traditional experience. In a word? It was “better.” That seems like an understatement. Rosamund Pike is fantastic. I was both excited to hear her narration and nervous. She plays Jane Bennet in the Keira Knightley film version, so I knew she could do that would, but how well would she do the rest? Would I just feel like Jane was reading me her sisters love story? But not to worry! Rosamund does a wonderful job with the proper voices and that great accent. Really, I think I’d give this more than five stars if I allowed myself to rate anything about 5 stars. I definitely enjoyed this more than reading it myself. Rosamund really brought the story to life in a way I didn’t think was possibly outside film. If you are on the fence about reading this particularly classic, do yourself a favor and just get this version. Trust me, if you don’t love it with Rosamund narrating, you aren’t destined to love it at all.
****Thank you to Esther Bochner at Audible for providing me with an audio copy in exchange for an honest review****