You guys, this month had me worried. During the first two-thirds of this past month I hardly touched this book. We were nearing the launch of our latest e-course (Blog Life), and as deadlines go, it always seems to get crazy at the very end. So, I felt way behind in reading this month’s selection. I was really bummed and feeling like I was probably going to have to admit that this month I didn’t finish the book in time. I’m sure that will happen some month this year, but still.
I am happy to report I finished! Trey and I had a family wedding this past weekend and found ourselves on multiple flights headed to California. I can be a fast reader if I have no distractions (I’m super distract-able). So, I flew through the second half of this book. (Pun!)
At first I was worried I had picked a stinker for us this month. I just didn’t get into the story at first. But, once the characters were established and the story really started, I totally got hooked! I’m not sure I loved this book as much as Pride and Prejudice, but I sure did enjoy it. I am a sucker for love stories, and although the ending might not be as happy as Elizabeth Bennet’s turned out to be (in some ways), I thought it was very fitting.
Warning: If you’re not done reading yet I recommend you hold off on the following discussion since there will be SPOILERS!
I’d love to hear what you thought of this month’s book. You can comment on the following discussion points. Feel free to reference the number if you like. Or you are welcome to bring up new discussion points or ideas.
1. Did you feel the book felt true to the original Pride and Prejudice story while still (obviously) creating its own narrative and world based on the household staff? It’s been a long time since I read the original story, so I felt like I was re-remembering everything as it unfolded from this new point of view. I really ended up LOVING this. It almost felt like I got to reread an old favorite book. Like, wouldn’t it be fun to reread all the Harry Potter books from new points of view (like from the Hogwarts staff or something)?
2. So much about the era and world of this book can be totally infuriating. Obviously, women’s rights was on an entirely different planet than my world today as well as the division of classes and depiction of slaves. It was also so hard to read the chapters that showed us James’s life before he joined the Longbourn staff. Because he was born to the wrong mother and in the wrong social situation he was destined for a difficult and unfair life, including being wrongfully accused of desertion. What do you think of the depiction of the classes in this tale?
3. Were you surprised by the revelation that James was the son of Mrs. Hill and Mr. Bennet? I was! For me, this completely changed how I viewed Mrs. Hill and Mr. Bennet’s relationship and interactions throughout the rest of the book. And when you see them at the end of their lives together, I was surprised by Mrs. Hill’s conclusion, that maybe she wouldn’t have wished for anything different (like to have married Mr. Bennet and raised James instead of how it turned out) since at the end they would have ended up in a similar position anyway, she taking care of him as he aged. Seems a strange conclusion to me. What do you think of their relationship? Of Mr. Bennet’s actions toward her and his son?
Don’t forget in May we’ll be reading The Goldfinch, so pick up (or download) your copy if you haven’t already. Happy reading! xo. Emma
Credits // Author and Photo by: Emma Chapman. Photo edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.