I am a die-hard fan of Jane Austen, and I came across this very interesting paper comparing the characterization of women in Austen's and Dicken's novels: link
If you are a fan of Austen, I strongly recommend reading the full article. This author puts in words very beautifully as to what makes Austen's work so endearing to us.
Sharing some excerpts (again, I recommend read the full paper, it is worth the time): link
// My big battle with Dickens is that I find so many of his women characters neurotic, yet to Dickens that behavior is the ideal. He approves of, even demands, neurotic behavior. His ideal young woman is self-sacrificing in the extreme. She is allowed to have no thought for herself, no desires, no ambitions. // - link
// Austen is ironic, observant, witty, able to depict young women whose manners and mores may be different from ours, yet whom we should enjoy and recognize as fellow human beings if we met them. Dickens is sentimental, overwrought almost to hysteria in dealing with the relations of the sexes. Despite the freedom awarded him as a man, despite his marriage and family, he seems more inhibited (or twisted) than the spinster Jane Austen. // - link
// It is refreshing to find, in Pride and Prejudice, that Mr. Darcy at first considers Elizabeth Bennet merely “tolerable.” He is attracted and disconcerted by her wit and lack of the deference to which he is used, and moves from admiration for her “fine eyes,” to finding her “one of the handsomest women of his acquaintance.” In Persuasion, by the time Captain Wentworth returns to the scene, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has “lost her bloom,” a very Jane Austenian description. He falls in love with her all over again as she reveals her sterling qualities under stress (and a little because another man admires her). With his love, her bloom returns, to the reader’s satisfaction. // - link