This is a classic book that I feel like I have always known about, but never managed to actually read until now. A couple years ago I found a cool paperback copy from the mid-60s at my local library's perpetual book sale, and then it sat on the shelf until I signed up for the Back to the Classics Challenge and made it something of a priority.
Having never even seen a filmed adaptation of this book, I knew next to nothing about it before I read it, although I assumed it was something of a love story and that it would be like a Jane Austen book in setting. I can honestly say that this book was not at all what I was expecting. I assumed it would be more of a standard love story, but there is nothing particularly standard about this book. It truly confounded all my expectations. I am not even sure I liked any of the characters at all - most behave at least somewhat badly, but maybe that's very realistic. Instead of a love story, this was more a story about how one person's actions can alter the lives of all of the people around him/her, and how deeply those actions can hurt others. In some ways I do sympathize with a couple of the main characters, even if I don't like them particularly, and yet in other ways I find them to be too annoying to deserve my sympathy. I guess that this book had an effect on me, if it's causing me to think about it this much after I've finished it. I'd love to discuss it with others, so feel free to comment if you'd like to weigh in! :)
Finishing this book brings me to the end of the Back to the Classics Challenge. I really enjoyed this challenge a lot! It helped me not only clear out more TBR books, but delve in to some books I have been meaning to read for far too long. I have definitely furthered my ongoing quest to fill in the gaps I have in my classics reading. Big thanks to Karen K. for hosting this challenge, I look forward to participating again next year!