This is, embarrassingly, the first book I've read by the venerable Jane Austen, and I only picked it up because our book club reads it this month. And I really liked it! We all know my love of the Brits, and while Austen's humor (or should I say "humour"?) is much subtler than Pratchett or Gaiman or even Kate Atkinson, I still found it to be delightful. The book is a parody of upper class British life, the idleness in which they lived their lives while trying to glean every possible bit of information about each other by the most roundabout means. After all, when all your business interests are operated by underlings and maids do all the cleaning and cooking and child-rearing, what else is there to do but gossip?
S&S, as my Austen-loving friend calls it, is about two sisters, Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, and their marital circumstances. We follow them both through heartbreak and new love and old love and slow-to-start love as they navigate the ridiculous people amongst whom they find themselves. Austen's descriptions of her characters are my favorite part, and the more she dislikes them the juicier the description. I see how they have caught the imagination for so many years, and look forward to reading more of her famous oeuvre.