But I do. It is actually one of my favourite Austen novels, I just have no idea why I like it so much. If any kind readers could reply with why they like it – that would be helpful!
First, it is, as with most of Jane Austen’s work, beautifully written, and the setting, description, depth of characters, and the little mishaps and terrible misunderstandings are as entertaining as usual. I absolutely adore Colonel Brandon, and my favourite ever Jane Austen character, Mr Palmer, a refreshing dousing of sarcasm and dry wit really makes the book.
But in truth, there are three main men in this book. Mr Edward Ferrars, Colonel Brandon, and Mr John Willoughby. Edward is completely crazy for Elinor, the older Dashwood sister, while Brandon and Willoughby are both smitten with Marianne, Elinor’s younger sister. Throughout the whole book, I had my fingers crossed for Ferrars and Brandon, loved to hate Willoughby, and had a stupid smile on my face for two hours after the happy ending. However, I could not actually pinpoint why I liked any of these men.
First, Edward Ferrars. He comes up good in the end, but throughout the novel he really does come across and some kind of Mama’s boy ninny. He seems unable to stand up to those around him, while it is perfectly clear that he is in love with Elinor Dashwood, he doesn’t seem to have the strength to go for it, until right at the end.
Colonel Brandon. Now, he is an absolute sweetie, but also a complete and utter cradle snatcher. He falls totally and helplessly in love with sixteen/seventeen year old Marianne Dashwood. He is thirty five. Now, I know love knows no bounds, age is just a number etc, but thirty five and sixteen seems a little steep. However, it does seem he is at least noble and honest in his feelings, he’s not just looking for a young bit of stuff.
John Willoughby. Now he really captures Marianne’s attention, while she considers Colonel Brandon incapable of loving, or even inspiring love in others. Willoughby is however, charming, well versed in Shakespeare, and a cold hearted gold digger. He leaves Marianne high and dry in order to pursue an heiress. Tool.
So those are the men behind one of the greatest romantic novels of all time. They hardly seem a thrilling bunch, but maybe it proves that nobody is looking for perfect, they are looking for truth. And maybe it just shows that Jane Austen was an awesome writer who could make guys like that work.
P.s. Here’s a picture of Hugh Laurie as Mr Palmer.