Note: this review is of the narration for this novel, rather than the content of the novel because I believe that all of Jane Austen’s oeuvre is perfect.
I, like millions of other people, love Jane Austen. She’s witty, smart, and her characters are so full of life and real, their conversations and mannerisms reminiscent of people we’ve all met in our daily lives. I do, however, find it difficult to read some of her books in paper format. I stopped and started a paper version of Emma at least twice, and only found myself truly drawn in by the story when I began listening to it on audiobook.
The benefit of listening to classic novels on audiobook is that hearing the lines acted out helps me navigate the antiquated language and visualise the scenes, something I have trouble doing with older novels in paper format. Juliet Stevenson does a masterful job of giving each character in this book their own particular voice, bringing the book to life in a magnificent way that had me finding every opportunity possible to keep listening. Her rendition of Ms Bates, in particular, is hilarious and spot-on, exactly how I would imagine she would speak. The characters of Mr Woodhouse and Mrs Elton come to life as well, and her narration makes the story so much richer and deeper, and so much more enjoyable than it already was, which is saying quite a lot! Thankfully she also narrates Mansfield Park, Persuasion, and Sense and Sensibility, as well as North and South, and Wuthering Heights, all on my TBR list for this year.
If, like me, you are an Austen fan but struggle to bring that world to life when reading, let Juliet Stevenson take you a journey of jealousy, misapprehension, and, of course, love.