Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Lady Susan

If there was such a thing as a little-known Austen book, Lady Susan would be it.  It's much shorter than the other books, and as far as I know, it's never been made into a movie/play/musical/adaptation.  It's written in epistolary form, which is a fancy way of saying that the characters write letters to each other and that tells the story.  It's the only Austen book that is, although S&S originally was written in epistolary form.

So, what did I think of Lady Susan?
Well, at first it was rather hard to get into.  I wasn't sure who was supposed to be good/bad or what was happening, and I couldn't even tell whom the different letters were addressed to.  Then I got used to the style, and by reading through the letters more carefully (I tend to be a bit of a "skimmer"), I was able to really enjoy the story.

The main character is a very beautiful, seductive villainess named Lady Susan.  She comes to the house of the Vernons, her in-laws, when she is pretty much banned from the last people she stayed with for flirting with the husband.  That alone should tell you a lot about her character.

She has a daughter, Frederica, who is as good as engaged to a man she doesn't like because her mother wants her to marry for money.  (Lady Susan is a worse mother than Mother Gothel from Tangled.)  When they arrive at the Vernons', Frederica and a young man there, Reginald de Courcy, fall in love.  Lady Susan sees this and...well, if you want to find out what happens next, read the book.  It's pretty short. :D

This was a complicated book, with lots of plot twists and character complexities- like most, if not all, of Austen's books.  Most of the characters (excepting, of course, Lady Susan and her friend, and perhaps Reginald) were very likeable.

A highlight of this book for me was that it was written in epistolary form, so you could see the different ways characters thought and reacted through their own eyes.  It was quite interesting and I would definitely read another epistolary book if it came my way.

Would I read this again?  Yes, as soon as I can find the time.  It was very enjoyable and Austen manages to pack in a huge amount of surprises and emotional mazes in the short amount of space she has.  I would highly recommend it to anyone.

-Miss Jane Bennet


Abilaine said...

I liked Lady Susan (the novel) a lot, but I am not very particular about Lady Susan herself. She was very selfish and did not change at the end at all. But I guess that is so because Miss Austen wanted to show that there are really people that selfish and horrid. :D

Yes, Jane Austen DID pack a lot of stuff into this novel!! I mean I felt like I was right there, living as one of the characters. I feel like that when I read most of her novels anyways, but this one especially.

Great review!

Jack said...

This sounds like a really good book. I am always interested when the title character turns out to be the bad guy. I am curious to know what happens to them. Though very often I want to throw my shoe at them.
If I find this one I might have to read it. I've only read one of hers but have been considering reading others.

Thank you so much for your thoughts on my site, it helped SO much!!

Miss Jane Bennet said...

I didn't like Lady Susan (herself) much either, but the book was really good. As usual. :D

HAHAHA you will want to throw more than a shoe at Lady Susan before you're done with the book. And if you don't have much time for reading, LS is a good Austen book to read 'cause it's much shorter than any of the others while still being interesting.

Thank you both for commenting! :)