December 15, 2020
Online there are many lists ranking favorite novels in order.
My own ranking is really not well thought-out. Just going by enjoyment, I’ll list them by how completely I enjoyed each one, ie, the degree to which I found any part of them to be hard going.
1. Mansfield Park
2. Northanger Abbey
3. Pride and Prejudice
4. Sense and Sensibility
“Persuasion” could go higher for me, because while I found the early going rough, the conclusion is high suspense and romance, possibly the best block of chapters in all six novels. I found the concluding chapters of “Northanger Abbey” (not the very brief pairing of Catherine and Henry at the very end) to be similarly gripping. “P&P” does not have a conclusion like that but it has three chapters that stand with anything in Austen: Lizzie’s first two marriage proposals; and above all, her reading Darcy’s letter.