Austen herself wondered if the novel was "too light and bright and sparkling," but for many it is just this uplifting tone which has "taught them to hope."
"Our visitors' book is full of comments from people who've come from around the world, telling us what 'Pride and Prejudice' means to them," says West.
"They range from the usual 'It's my favorite book,' and 'I love Darcy,' to 'This book has saved me at times of great trial,' she says, adding: "Austen was even prescribed to soldiers in World War I, to help them get over shell shock."
For Lassman, the timelessness of "Pride and Prejudice" is key: "Things change, the world is modernized, but deep down we still want the same things: Love, and happiness."
Gurinder Chadha, director of 2005 Bollywood remake "Bride & Prejudice" says the story is universal -- whatever the setting.
"Jane Austen said that every woman wants to find their Darcy," says Chadha. "They don't want to compromise to to be accepted by that Darcy, they want to be their own woman. It's a romantic desire that we all have. It's the ultimate love story."
And that, it would seem, is... a truth universally acknowledged.