A favorite of mine read beautifully as ever by Juliette Stevenson.
I know this review will seem irreverent to many, but I'm writing it for readers who don't normally read this type of book. I've read a few classics, most recently Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, which I enjoyed, so I thought I'd try one of the Jane Austin books. It wasn't for me. The main male character appeared very few times and had little to say on those occasions when he did, whereas numerous minor characters appeared often and had much to say about things that seemed irrelevant to the story. I realize that it was authored at another time in history, when the style of writing was very different, but if a book was written in this manner, today, it would be considered wordy and pretentious. If you enjoy the following quote from Persuasion, you will probably enjoy the book.
"How eloquent could Anne Elliiot have been? How eloquent, at least, were her wishes on the side of early warm attachment and a cheerful confidence in the futurity against that overanxious caution that seems to insult exertion and distrust providence."
This book is a departure for Austen as the heroine is "past the bloom of youth" being 27. Trademark Austen wit and scathing social commentary is apparent in the book. But there is something that strikes me as autobiographical, a spinster looking back over a life not seen by others for what it could be or even for the good that it contains. But this book has a happy ending.
I've always loved Persuasion, and this narrator is really perfect! Highly recommend her. For an Austen novel things move along quite quickly, and with good narration the characters come alive even more than before.
Stevenson's movement from character to character is seamless. Fine match of narrator to story. We all know Austen so well that interpretations are scrutinized by comparison, often to several versions. Well done!