Mansfield Park, came with an excellent introduction that prepared me to enjoy the story immensely. Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility were also richly satisfying, but my attempts to read about Austen's more immature female protagonists proved futile. Emma seemed too obtuse for her own good. And Catherine (from Northanger Abbey) was too naive for my tastes. I wanted a heroine who knew her heart and mind.
Enter Elizabeth Klett, the answer to all Jane Austen dilemmas. I recently discovered her excellent version of Northanger Abbey at Librivox. Finally someone who reads beautifully and flawlessly! Her reading was so delightful that I found myself smiling, chuckling and even laughing out loud. Who would have thought that this was a VERY FUNNY book? Northanger Abbey was Austen's first published novel and though it lacks the rich characters of some of her other works, the wording is exquisite and the story charming. I'm so glad I gave it another try. Catherine Moreland, the story's heroine, is a young woman who has fed her mind on gothic novels. Because of this she is prone to read more excitment and intrigue into situations than they merit. While I scorned her naiveté in my first attempt at the book, I was won over by her goodheartedness this second time around.
Klett is my new "Librivox hero" and I look forward to listening to her other readings. She's even done a version of Emma, which means I may finally get through it!