When I think of romance, the classic love stories of Jane Austen often come to mind. I want to share some of my favorite quotes with you along with some relationship tips inspired by Austen’s novels. And as a special treat, I’m offering an ebook copy of my novel If Only It Were Yesterday for free on Amazon. My heroine, Liz Cooke, is an avid reader and major Austen fan. You’ll find several nods towards Austen’s work throughout the novel.
And keep scrolling for the joint giveaway and the countdown calendar link.
I hope you enjoy revisiting these timeless stories, or that it encourages you to pick up a new-to-you Austen novel. If it does, be sure to share with me which one you’re planning to grab first!
*Note: As I was searching for the best quotes to share, clearly I could have chosen a hundred more, but was forced to limit them. I started this post out, strictly quoting the novels. But I soon found out that Miss Austen’s common style was to explain the course of events, rather than allow us to eavesdrop on the happy couple and the professions of love. Because of that, many of the romantic quotes we go around repeating actually come from the movie adaptions and not the original work. In order to keep things romantically focused, I’ll be quoting movies and novels.
Pride and Prejudice:
“You are too generous to trifle with me. If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes are unchanged; but one word from you will silence me on this subject forever.” ~ Mr. Darcy
“I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.” ~ Mr. Darcy
Sense and Sensibility:
“To your sister, I wish all the imaginable happiness; to Willoughby that he may endeavor to deserve her.” ~ Colonel Brandon
“I come here with no expectations, only to profess, now that I am at liberty to do so, that my heart is and will always be yours.” ~ Edward Ferrars
“I have loved you as a man loves a woman. As a hero loves a heroine. As I have never loved anyone.” ~ Edmund Bertram
“Surely you and I are beyond speaking when words are clearly not enough.” ~ Edmund Bertram
“I cannot make speeches, Emma … If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.” ~ Mr. Knightley
“Mr. Knightley, if I have not spoken, it is because I am afraid I will awaken myself from this dream.” ~ Emma Woodhouse
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope … I have loved none but you.” ~ Captain Wentworth
“I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago.” ~ Captain Wentworth
“I felt myself bound to you, by honor, by affection, and by a love so strong that nothing could deter me.” ~ Mr. Tilney
“Now I must give one smirk, and then we may be rational again.” ~ Mr. Tilney
Austen-inspired Advice Column:
Pride and Unforgiveness Will Ruin Any Relationship:
“My good opinion once lost, is lost forever.” ~ Mr. Darcy
“I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine.” ~ Elizabeth Bennett
Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy show us how these attitudes can cause unnecessary rifts in a relationship. Could you imagine all that these two would have missed out on had they stuck to their earlier feelings? Is there any wonder that the Lord teaches us to be quick to forgive others and to repent of our pride?
True Friendship is Sometimes Painful:
“Badly done, indeed!” ~Mr. Knightley
“Better be without sense, than misapply it as you do.” ~Mr. Knightley
There is no greater example of a true friend in Austen’s works than Mr. Knightley. At first glance, he sounds harsh, condescending, and the enemy of dear, sweet Emma. But in truth, he’s the truest friend of all. The Bible teaches us that a true friend might wound us from time to time, but it’s the kisses of the enemy that you have to be aware of.
Beware of Their Fruit:
“I cannot think well of a man who sports with any woman’s feelings; and there may often be a great deal more suffered than a stander-by can judge of.” ~ Fanny Price
“I mean to be too rich to lament or to feel anything of the sort. A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of.” ~ Miss Crawford
This is a theme that we can find in all of Austen’s novels. The Bible teaches that just as a tree is known by its fruit, so people are known by their deeds. And it’s only a matter of time before those deeds are brought to light. As Fanny stands between two men, one she had loved a lifetime and another who promises her the moon, it would have been all too easy for her to be swept away by the tender promises of one so attentive and handsome as Mr. Crawford, and for a season Fanny was. But she was never fully certain of his motives and kept him rightly at arm’s length. In time, Mr. Crawford proved who he really was just as his sister eventually shows her true colors. Fanny was not only saved a lifetime of disappointment but was offered her greatest joy.
Being Tongue Tied Could be a Sign of Deep Feelings:
“You have bewitched me, body and soul. And I love, I love, I love you.” ~ Mr. Darcy*
“I cannot make speeches. If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more.” ~ Mr. Knightley
“I never wish to offend, but I am so foolishly shy, that I often seem negligent, when I am only kept back by my natural awkwardness.” ~ Edward Ferrars
“My soul mate must take tea. I wouldn’t even care if he loaded it with sugar or refused to take cream. But all of Jane Austen’s heroes took tea, and she knew a thing or two about worthy men. One could argue that she also died single, but I prefer to think that she died refusing to settle for less. I found it best to stick to her example.” ~ Liz Cooke
Just as my heroine Liz Cooke learns, sometimes we fictional readers can be a bit blind sighted by what we think the right man ought to do or say. When we see such breathtaking examples of romance, we might be tempted to hold the men in our lives up to fictional standards. But even Austen shows us that sometimes the hero doesn’t always know the right thing to say or do. Think of Mr. Darcy’s insulting first proposal. Or later his declaration of love in which we could say that he muddled because he stuttered his way through it. Mr. Knightley was so in love with Emma that he had very little to say. If the man in your life is shy and not good with his words, cut him some slack. Words and emotions aren’t always easy for people to express.
Impressing the Right Guy Shouldn’t be Hard:
“All were contented to pass quietly and carefully down the steep flight, excepting Louisa; she must be jumped down them by Captain Wentworth. … He advised her against it, thought the jar too great, but no, he reasoned and talked in vain, she smiled and said, ‘I am determined I will.’ … she fell on the pavement on the Lower Cobb, and was taken up lifeless!”
Louisa Musgrove is a joyful young lady who is enjoying the attention of a rich, older gentleman. The moment she’s most known for, however, is when she lets her silliness run amuck and we find her jumping off the flight of steps in order to have the thrill of being caught by her handsome escort. Oddly enough, it’s this little stunt that takes Louisa down the path to finding the right sort of man for her and … her handsome escort realizes he needs someone more mature … someone he’s never stopped loving. Lesson learned: If you’re tempted to go to the extreme to get someone to notice you – don’t bother, he clearly wasn’t interested enough to notice your natural beauty on his own. Save your time and efforts for someone who will.
How We Behave Will Reflect on Who We Catch:
“Unhappy as the event must be for Lydia, we may draw from it this useful lesson: that loss of virtue in a female is irretrievable; that one false step involves her in endless ruin; that her reputation is no less brittle than it is beautiful; and that she cannot be too much guarded in her behaviour towards the undeserving of the other sex.”
To the Austen fan, the name Wickham is never attached to anything pleasant. He’s one of those cads who you think is God’s gift, but after a bit of fruit examination and a background check, we learn that he’s as low as they come. We see characters like this a lot in Austen’s fiction … possibly because we find so many in real life. Sometimes, these guys can blind us to the truth, but be careful that we don’t set ourselves up for failure. Offering the world a cheap version of yourself is bound to attract cheap men. The Bible teaches us to adorn ourselves with the Word of God. Not only is it right, but it’s a great way to increase your chances of catching the right sort of man.
Fiction is Still Fiction:
“It seemed as if the whole might be traced to the influence of that sort of reading which she had there indulged.” ~Northanger Abbey
“What sort of fevered imagination you must have? Perhaps, after all, it is possible to read too many novels.” ~ Mr. Tilney
“Don’t make the mistake of comparing a great reality with a flimsy fairy tale.” ~ Betty Tanner (If Only It Were Yesterday)
Just like my character, Liz, Catherine Mooreland learns the hard way that fiction is just fiction. Like Liz, Catherine is consumed with makebelieve worlds, so much so that she almost ruins a great relationship in order to chase after her fantasies. Catherine and Liz have that in common. While fiction is fiction, we’ll do well to learn from their mistakes by enjoying our books then setting them down to enjoy our lives and those in it. Your family and friends will benefit from your attention, and you’ll benefit from the clear air.
And I’d like to wrap up this post with one of my absolute favorite Jane Austen movie clip videos. I don’t own the rights to the video. ENJOY! And then be sure to comment and talk Austen with me! Who is your favorite couple?
My post and novel gift is part of a bigger giveaway. So be sure to visit the other stops in this countdown series and enter the joint giveaway.
Liz Cooke has two problems in life: Her social media is filled with brewing political conflict and her idea of a perfect man seems to have gone extinct a century ago. Inspired by the contents of an antique trunk, Liz dreams she time-travels to 1885. As she sets out to enjoy the Victorian era in all its glory, armed with knowledge gleaned through historical novels and period dramas, will she find the past to be all that she thought? And does the right man for her exist only in her dreams or has he been in her life all along?
Loosely inspired by Alice in Wonderland, A.M. Heath brings you a fun read chock-full of humor and whimsy with a special message for the avid reader in all of us.