Pride & Prejudice
by Jane Austen
Pride & Prejudice is the tale of the Bennet family, highlighting the five Bennet daughters, whose fanatically overbearing mother obsesses over marrying off as quickly and as advantageously as possible.
The book focuses primarily on the two eldest Bennet girls: dutiful Jane and practical, sharp-tongued Elizabeth. For the better part of the book, Jane and Elizabeth are chiefly endeavored in damage control involving the various and disastrous almost-engagements they and their sisters find themselves in, as well as in pining after their various objects of affection: the dashing yet oblivious Charles Bingley for Jane; and the quiet, calculating Mr. Darcy for Elizabeth. Both situations are in danger of being overthrown by the scheming and plotting of Bingley’s disapproving sister.
It's Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy that really drive the plot through a combination of their seeming compatibility yet total inability to find their way to one another, thanks to their mutual low opinions of each other.
The other three Benet sisters each bring their own personalities to the tale. While Mary is quiet and studious, Kitty and Lydia find themselves in constant hijinks, all in the name of finding a husband – and preferably an officer!
Mr. Bennet’s cousin – and the one-time suitor of Jane – Mr. Collins, presents a ridiculous hilarity in his character; romantic young Lydia runs off in pursuit of true love and ends up ridden with debts; Elizabeth's father seems to live exclusively for moments of quiet, in a house of 6 women; Mrs. Bennet lives her days scheming and plotting and gossiping.
With 17th century British aristocracy mingling with middle-class society in the English countryside, drama ensues. As each sister struggles to find love and acceptance in an unforgiving society, the Bennet family sticks together through it all.