Apr 1 2011 12:00pm

Which Austen Heroine Could Be Your BFF?

Yes. Jane Austen has written some drool-worthy heroes, men of various stripes with whom we would like to end up, from her Alpha Fitzwilliam Darcy to her Beta Henry Tilney, there probably isn't a one of them we'd mind being courted by.

But, what about her heroines? Are they all as attractive as the men? Would you like to hang out with all of them?

Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth BennetProbably not. While every one of them is attractive to her particular hero, I'm not so sure they'd be that much fun to have around on a regular basis. I'm sure they're all perfectly nice women, but let's think for a moment what they'd be like as friends.

Elizabeth Bennet would probably the most fun to hang out with. She enjoys a good walk and would be a bracing companion with whom to roam the mall. She dearly loves to laugh, and has no problem making fun of people nor of herself.  She is of a generally cheerful temperament and seems to be devoted to her sister Jane (if not the rest of her sisters). Yes, I think Elizabeth is prime BFF  material.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma WoodhouseEmma Woodhouse would be a tad difficult to have as a friend unless you were willing to be guided by her in all things. Emma is, as we have seen, is always right. Although essentially good-hearted, Emma is a meddler and a busybody. Don't choose Emma as your BFF unless you want to be talked out of dating that nice boy from the country and  end up with the stuffy local vicar with nothing much to recommend him.

Forget Elinor and Marianne. They're each other's BFFs and nothing is going to change that, not even marriage. God help the mister who comes between Elinor and her sister, let alone another woman. At best, you'll be secondary in their lives.

Fanny Price? Oh please! Yes, she's a lovely girl: moral, upright, kind, retiring.  Is this what you want in a BFF? I know it's who you want by your sickbed and possibly a good friend to go to church with. But I don't imagine dear Fanny to be much fun. Best stick with having her over for the occasional cup of tea and call Elizabeth Bennet for the night out at the club.

If you have a burning desire to mentor someone, I'd give Catherine Morland a call. She's a sweet girl, eager to learn and eager to have a good time. Teach her to love a hyacinth and she'll be your BFF. Introduce her to your brother, and she'll be your sister-in-law.

Amanda Root as Anne ElliotBut if you truly want someone who will be steadfast, faithful, kind and reliable, Anne Elliot is your girl. True, she might not be as much fun as Elizabeth Bennet, as strong-willed as Emma Woodhouse, as moral as Fanny Price, or as malleable as Catherine Morland, but she'll be there when you need her, no matter how long you keep her waiting. She'll go to the mall with you, she might even go clubbing, she'll come for tea, sit by your sickbed and stop to smell the hyacinths. Not the most exciting of heroines, but—yes—Anne Elliot is my pick for BFF.

Heroines illustration from The Republic of Pemberley


Myretta Robens 
The Republic of Pemberley
Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
Megan Frampton
1. MFrampton
I'd choose Anne, too, although Lizzie runs a close second.

NO to Emma! (You know how I feel about her).
Nita Gill
2. gillnit
As soon as I saw the title, I thought of Anne. Persuasion is my favorite Austen and Anne is my favorite Austen character. She patiently puts up with a lot of crap from her family. She is loyal and kind. She definitely deserved her hea at the end.
Louise Partain
3. Louise321
I am with you all. As soon as I saw the post, Anne Elliot all the way. Lizzie of course is my second choice, always supposing she did not skewer me with her razor sharp wit. I think you'd have to have a tough hide to be her BFF.
Lisa DW
4. Lisa DW
I really wish Jane Bennet was a heroine because she would be my top pick for BFF. But since she isn't an option it would be Anne all the way.
Keira Soleore
5. KeiraSoleore
I adore Lizzy's sharp wits and tongue. I'd like to have her for my BFF.
Lisa DW
6. Bridget M
I'd choose Catherine. She'd definitely be my best book club buddy!
Lisa DW
7. Jenny Brown
Lizzie Bennet's sense of humor would make her my top pick. Plus, wouldn't you like to sit with her over cups of tea giggling about what Mr. Darcy is REALLY like once that perfectly tailored suit comes off?
Lisa DW
8. SillyJaime @ Jaime 2.0
I'm not sure who I'd pick, really. Definitely not Emma, and Lizzie is a good choice for someone spontaneous and daring but I am neither of those things. And if she's married to Mr. Darcy, then I'm 100% jealous in a bad way and probably couldn't be a true friend to her if I were in love with her husband. I guess Anne, in the end. She seems to best suit my personality.
Post a comment