My Top 5 Austen Adaptations

I’ve been in a really romance-y mood lately… which has led me down an Austen adaptation rabbithole. Watching and rewatching a crazy amount of these has got me thinking about which ones are my favourites and I thought it would be fun to share them with you lovely people. Quick note: it’ll be glaringly obvious to fans that Mansfield Park is missing- that’s not cos there aren’t any good versions, it’s cos (as is no secret) I’ve never liked the story. Now that’s out of the way, onto the list!


BBC Pride and Prejudice- to my mind, this is THE BEST adaptation of anything, ever! Yes, this is my completely biased view 😉 I tend to rewatch this every. year. (thank you Beebs for including this in your boxsets!) This is, in every sense of the word, PERFECTION. The acting, the first class writing lifted from the book, the wonderful choice of locations… this is always going to be my favourite.

BBC Sense and Sensibility- so, confession time: I’m not hugely fond of the movie version- though it has some sensational performances from the likes of Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant, I feel like the story could’ve done with a bit more space to breathe. Which is why I was so excited to check out the new(ish) BBC adaptation- and I wasn’t in the least bit disappointed! I watched this for the first time recently and almost felt the need to rewind and watch it all again. The acting and writing was brilliantly done- but most importantly this hit me right in the *feels*!

Emma 1996- this might be an unpopular opinion, because I think most people prefer the TV version (which is understandable, because that’s a great version too). In truth, I don’t know why I love this version so much- especially since I often prefer the TV serials for Austen, given they allow the stories to develop over a greater time span. That said, I simply LOVE the performances in this- particularly Jeremy Northam who is my definitive Mr Knightley (who, yes, just happens to be my favourite Austen love interest).

Northanger Abbey– even if this wasn’t the only Northanger Abbey version that I’ve seen, it’d make the list, because it’s a lot of fun! It’s completely different to a lot of other Austen adaptations, playing on some of the themes in quite a hilariously modern way, upping the imaginative gothic levels and heroines’ fantasies… and for some reason this rather tickled my fancy.

Persuasion 1995- I watched this most recently and I was delighted with it. I’d seen a more recent version and wasn’t quite blown away (especially disappointing because at the time I watched it I probably would’ve classed this as my favourite Austen). I was so happy with this version however and would definitely recommend it for those looking for an Austen fix! 

Have you seen any of these? Which are your favourite Austen adaptations? Let me know in the comments!

My Austen Rankings – Inspired by Never Not Reading

So in case you don’t know, I’ve pressed pause on the favourite classics list for now, but the whole process of doing that has got me thinking. Especially since there were a ton of books I put on the list and then took off the list- it was a bit of a hokey pokey process 😉 I kept trying to select the absolute best ones by any given author, otherwise it’d just be a never ending list. One of the more difficult ones for me to decide over was Austen because I actually adore 5/6 of her books… so how did I choose between them?! Well, that’s why I thought it might be fun to talk about them all (and yes, I know I’ve talked about the top two recently, but you can never talk about Austen too much!)

This post was inspired by the absolutely lovely Katie @Never Not Reading, who came up with this awesome idea a few months ago and who has the most *incredible*, interesting, thought provoking content. She’s currently on maternity leave (MASSIVE CONGRATS to her and her whole family 😀 ) but that is *no excuse* not to check out her blog- I guarantee you won’t be disappointed! Her blog is one of my favourites!!

And of course I loved her post on this! The thing that excites me about everyone’s preferences when it comes to Austen is that no matter who you talk to, no one seems to have the exact same order- which makes it such a fun thing to do! Let’s get to my ranking:


Emma– ahh it can hardly surprise anyone, given the number of times I’ve cited this as the perfect book 😉 I’m gonna be brief, I’m into everything about this book: the wit, the character growth, the romance- it all makes me swoon 😀 Plus, it’s kinda fitting for this to be my number one since it’s the book that made me fall for Austen in the first place. Although in fairness, depending on my mood, you could switch it out for…


Persuasion– yup, there’s loads of times this has been my number one Austen- the romance is so intense in this one! As I’ve mentioned before, the love in this gets me all sappy, because dammit they’re still in love after all this time and ISN’T THAT JUST THE SWEETEST! *Ahem, regains cool*- I also have a great respect for the heroine- she’s kind, without being a total pushover (*cough* like some other characters I will mention… *cough cough*) But yeah, I’ll summarise my feelings about this book thusly: squeeeeeeee!!!

pride and prejudice

Pride and Prejudice– *confession*- the first time I read this, I wasn’t especially taken with it (I was a bit young and I don’t think I picked up on the irony) then I got set it as one of my AS texts and just *groans all round*. At least, that was my initial reaction- before I reread it, I picked up Emma and fell in love with that… so much to my surprise, when I reread this I fell in love with it too! Now I adore everything about this book and will happily reread it any time 😀 So moral of the story, I can change my mind about books 😉 (although I can’t think of anything else I’ve drastically changed my mind about since then 😉 )

northanger abbey

Northanger Abbey– it feels so wrong putting this fourth on the list given how much I love it. I do hover about whether I put this ahead of Pride and Prejudice *all the time*. It’s such a romantic book- and hilarious at the same time! I also think the parodic elements get funnier with every gothic book I read.

sense and sensibility

Sense and Sensibility– again, I really enjoyed this one, so don’t assume I’m putting it at number 5 on the list for any other reason than I like the other ones slightly more. Like Pride and Prejudice, it has strong sisterhood themes and I was definitely into the relationship drama.

mansfield park

Mansfield Park– okay, I’m not going to make any excuses about putting this last- quite simply, it’s the only one I dislike. Fanny’s a drip and the relationship’s incestuous- I actually was rooting for her to end up with the Mr-Wickham-stand-in (is it obvious I’ve not read this in a while?) I am actually tempted to reread it and see if I still hate Fanny just as much (plus I did just go on about giving Pride and Prejudice another chance)… but also really can’t be bothered because there really wasn’t anything I enjoyed about this one- sorry!

What I learnt just then was that ranking Austen is HARD! Honestly the first four often end up in different positions, so this doesn’t even feel definitive. Anyhoo, do you like Austen? What’s your ranking? Let me know in the comments!

New Lessons I’ve Learnt From Rereading Emma

Emma_Jane_Austen_book_coverHi all! Hope you enjoyed my post yesterday, though I have to say that since I did not have the chance to change it after midday, according to the sacred rules of April Fools I became the fool- whoopsie.

Anyhoo I’m back to my old Librarian self now, so time to discuss this wonderful book! Before Emma I’d read Pride and Prejudice, but somehow hadn’t connected with the story in the same way. But the second I read the first sentence of Emma, Austen’s humour just clicked and I fell in love right away. After that I found I was finally able to connect with Pride and Prejudice in a way I hadn’t before. So I have this book to thank for introducing me to my love of Austen.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reread this book. And there’s a reason I keep going back to it time and time again: it’s the perfect novel. What makes it perfect? Well that there are so many lessons to learn from it no matter how many times I read it. Here are just some of the things I noticed this time round:

(Be prepared, cos this might get a little spoilery)

  1. It’s okay not to be perfect. One of the best things about Emma is how imperfect Emma is because we can see ourselves in her imperfections. Besides perfect characters are boring.
  2. Even if she’s not perfect, Emma is the perfectly constructed character. She is a list of contradictions: ungenerous and charitable, kind and selfish, empathetic and yet blind to other people’s true feelings. This is the best sort of character because it feels realistic.
  3. It is one thing for the main character to grow; it is another for the reader to grow too. The book provokes you to dislike Emma at the start, grow to understand her in the middle and fall in love with her by the end. That is no easy feat and a sign of Austen’s true artistry.
  4. This is a common theme in lots of other books and somehow I had not noticed it in this book- but central to this story is that sometimes by doing kindness one can do the greatest harm. Emma really is just trying to help Harriet by discouraging her from being with Martin and inflating her own self-worth. Emma really believes she is helping her- but it almost costs her friend her happiness in the short term and destroys what little is good in Harriet’s character by giving her a bit of a superiority complex. Which is especially bad as she is just the natural daughter of tradesman- and never had any hope beyond being with Mr Martin.
  5. The Eltons are arses. Not just to Emma and Harriet, but to Jane as well. In the guise of being nice to Jane, they humiliate and belittle her. I don’t know why I didn’t notice that before.
  6. I finally understood what Mr Knightley meant by saying she should not have insulted Miss Bates because she is rich- it’s not that she is automatically superior, but that she has certain advantages and it is not nice to flaunt what she has. It is because of her position of privilege that she was in a position to say such things in the first place and she should not have abused that position.
  7. Frank is a fascinating character. I never paid as much attention to him before- but he’s actually a lot more complex than I ever gave him credit for before. Don’t believe me- think of the scene where he makes himself appear foppish and ridiculous by going all the way to London just to get his hair cut, just so that he can have a cover story for getting Jane a gift. Because I only ever saw the story from Emma and Knightley’s perspective, I never really thought about how sweet that is!!
  8. And speaking of Frank, I never noticed before, but the story within the story is actually far more complex than the story itself! That is incredibly intricate plotting- bravo Austen!
  9. Though it still has a flighty, romantic air to it, it is one of the more realistic of Austen’s novels. The scenes of misunderstanding, friendship and love could easily play out in a modern novel. It is the perfect social satire because it is so enduring.
  10. This isn’t really new, but it’s always lovely to be reminded that love is there all along. I adore the moment when Emma realises her feelings for Knightley at the end of the book. In a way, it reminds me of the line in The Wizard of Oz: “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.”

there's no place like home.png

Who would have thought I could have found similarities between Emma and The Wizard of Oz?! Clearly my brain works in mysterious ways….

Anyhoo- have you read any Austen? Are you a fan? Let me know in the comments below!