I'm not a romantic type of person. I don't read romance novels, swooning and clutching my bosom and wishing for Prince Charming. Which is why I never really read Jane Austen. Life isn't a happily-ever-after and I don't enjoy reading that it is.
I gave Pride and Prejudice a try a year or so ago and it was ok. Austen IS a good writer and her characters do have some serious flaws, even the characters you are supposed to be rooting for/swooning over. While listening to a CraftLit podcast, the podcaster announced we'd be listening to Persuasion. Ugh, I almost passed them all by.
While there is swooning and happily-ever-after, Persuasion turned out to be incredibly good and interesting and, might I say, exciting. Persuasion was Austen's last novel, published after her death. The main character, Anne Elliot, is a girl from a desired family, wealth and all. But she isn't a horrid person. In fact, she is much maligned and ignored by her own father and sisters, unless they needed something from her. She spent a good deal of time in the shadows, being helpful and ignored.
She was persuaded by her stand-in mother, Lady Russell, to not marry a certain Mr. Wentworth because his status would bring hers down. Years later, when she is 27 years old, she meets up with the now Captain Wentworth and finds she is still in love.
Drama drama drama and happy ending. But still in all, an excellent story with a heroine who is kinda normal for the times.