June 17, 2007

Review:Lady Susan

Lady Susan/The Watsons/Sanditon
by Jane Austen

This was the only book I managed to complete on the second day of my 48 Hour Reading Challenge. It's been siting on the shelf, next to all the other Austen novels, but is the only one I haven't yet read. It was completely different than her other novels.

The book is a series of letters written to and from various characters involved in the story. Lady Susan is a gold-digging temptress of the worst kind. If you know who Rebecca Sharp is then you have a very clear picture of what I mean. She lives to draw men as her admirers whether they are single, engaged and married. She schemes behind every one's backs but she confides all her tricks to her good friend, Mrs. Johnson, so the reader knows all along just how bad Lady Susan is. She is attempting to lure a wealthy younger man into matrimony while securing a another man to marry her 17 year old daughter for what can only be seen as punishment for having a moral conscience and not taking part in her sordid lifestyle. As I've given away quite a bit already I shall stop there.

The other two titles listed with Lady Susan are the beginnings of 2 other unfinished novels. They are more like the typical Austen fare and leave one wanting more. There is a copy of Sanditon that has now been finished by "another lady", as it mysteriously states on the cover. I will likely read it at some point but I tend to be a purist so we'll just have to see how that goes.

As is usual with Austen, I loved it. Lady Susan was very clever and engaging. How I do wish that Miss Austen had written more! I will soon have to check out her earlier works like Love and Friendship and Catharine.

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