By Constance Moore
This book is the perfect gift for your Janeite best friend. “If you want to make like Elizabeth Bennet and live happily ever after with a man who owns half of Derbyshire, then arm yourself with this Austen-tatious guide to flirting and courtship” proclaims the blurb. However, less a guide and more an ordered set of lovely quotes, Moore delivers a lovely little paperback pocketbook (around 14.5 cm by 10.5 cm with 128 pages) that ensures no day goes past without a word from Jane.
I picked up this book for AU$14.95 from Dymocks in Rouse Hill Town Centre, after my Mum picked it up and twisted my arm *cough* to make me buy it, but it can be bought for £4.99 via the official publishers website. It was published by Summersdale in 2010.
“Many of us have come across an aloof Mr Darcy or have fallen under the spell of a caddish Mr Wickham” says Moore, but this book of quotes from Austen (with elegant mini- illustrations from Hugh Thomson, C. E. Brock and H. M. Brock) is here to set you on the straight and narrow. The book is bound elegantly, with lovely blue font and illustrations continuing on throughout the cover and the contents. Swirly motifs and cameos set the quotes off wonderfully and allow you to feel completely “Squee”-ish and elegant while reading it.
The quotes are set out into different categories, Love, Finding Your Squire, The Gentle Art Of Conversation, Declarations of Love, An Engagement, Breaking Up, Unrequited Love and Happily Ever After being only a few of them, and I think that this sets it apart from other quote books in that firstly, it is on a specific topic within Jane Austen and then it specifies even further. Whenever I’m in need of a bit of romantic guidance, I definitely know where to turn!
The bulk of the quotes are, as expected, from Austen’s canonical books, however they are also selected from letters to Cassandra Austen and to Fanny Knight with a couple from Love and Freindship, The Watsons and Lady Susan. I would also say that the most commonly quoted text is Pride and Prejudice from a quick count (which is definitely a good thing!). Some of the quotes chosen from P&P aren’t necessarily the usual ones you would expect. For instance: “He smiled, looked handsome, and said many pretty things” as well as “You must not let your fancy run away with you” (Aunt Gardiner) and “She was convinced that she could have been happy with him; when it was no longer likely that they should meet.”
On the down side, it doesn’t offer anything more than other Austen quotebooks could do, except that it does point out which character said each quote- which I personally think is a nice touch. It’s great to dip in and out of for a little bit of a breath of fresh air after a quarrel or a stressful day. Does anyone know of other good Jane Austen quote books, or Pride and Prejudice quote books? As much as I know there are several out there I can never seem to get my hands on the good ones!