Lady Susan by Jane Austen

classic-books

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.

Lady SusanLady Susan by Jane Austen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Enter: Lady Susan Vernon, a handsome, coquettish, recently widowed mother engaged in matrimonial schemes for herself and her daughter. Enter–by way of a letter.

Yes, it’s quite a rarity that a book I’ve so rated would appear on my blog, and this one appears because, should one love it or otherwise, I’d still recommend that other fans of author Jane Austen read this early work of hers, Lady Susan.

Maybe Austen only knew why, in the course of her lifetime, she didn’t have it published.

As for myself, I purposely came to the text without knowledge of the story, since I find that Introductions and whatnot tend to say far more about a work than I wish to know before I’ve read the work for myself. I had, therefore, all the room in the world to be surprised by this Susan Vernon.

I wouldn’t have imagined an Austen heroine like Lady Susan, and I didn’t enjoy her much, nor did I gain much satisfaction from the way it all turned out for her in the end. Plus, though there was a time when it had greater popularity in literature, the style of telling a story chiefly through characters’ written correspondence isn’t my favorite.

I imagine that Austen wasn’t the keenest on the style for her own writing either, given that she didn’t use it in any of her other six completed novels. She even gives the style up before this novel is finished, beginning her third-person Conclusion by writing, “This correspondence…could not, to the great detriment of the Post Office revenue, be continued longer.”

I now feel much as I did after reading The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott: glad that I read it, and even gladder that the authoress got better with time.

 

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