Lady Susan is a selfish, attractive woman, who tries to trap the best possible husband while maintaining a relationship with a married man. She subverts all the standards of the romantic novel: she has an active role, she's not only beautiful but intelligent and witty, and her suitors are significantly younger than she is. Although the ending includes a traditional reward for morality, Lady Susan herself is treated much more mildly than the adulteress in Mansfield Park, from Jane Austen's novel Sense and Sensibility, who is severely punished. [ synopsis from goodreads ]
Wow, I honestly didn't think I was going to love this book so much. I read all of Austen's major works a few summers ago and am just now starting to branch into her more minor works. And even though I love Austen as a writer and enjoyed all of her major works, for some reason I didn't think I would have the same connection with her minor works. (I don't know why????) But I really, really enjoyed this one.
Even though the story was very short and I could see places where it could've been expanded, I really enjoyed it. I loved all of the characters (literally all of them; I can't even name one I didn't like) and I loved the way this one was written. It was very different from her usual works. It was written entirely through letters so there were sometimes gaps you had to bridge yourself. AND THERE WASN'T A BALL IN SIGHT (I was seriously so shocked). I also love that Susan was as completely and totally unlike all of Austen's other heroines. For me, Susan was one of those I-love-you-but-I-hate-you characters. A character about which I'm basically like I HATE YOU AS A PERSON BUT I LOVE HOW GOOD YOU ARE AT BEING THIS BAD. (For others in this category, please see Lina Lamont and Nadine Hale. Because I love my horrible musical ladies.)
Anyway, I also love how this whole story was wrapped up. I just can't really pick out anything about this novella that I DIDN'T love. Which definitely gives me high hopes for all of the other minor Austen works I'll now be reading. (Though I think all the others were finished by other people later? So maybe I should keep those hopes low for now, haha.)
I must, also, say that I probably wouldn't have read this book now if it hadn't been for the movie. Because I saw the trailer for that and I loved it, that gave me the extra push to go ahead and read this. I think it looks fantastic and can't wait for it. And I think it will really do justice to this story. So I highly, HIGHLY recommend this book, especially if you're already an Austen fan. In some ways, this might even be an easier read if you've struggled with some of Austen's longer works. It, at least, gives you a feel for the time period and the language used. It's also a really great story to just fly through. (If I hadn't started reading something else yesterday, I would've finished this in a couple of hours.) So all around, a really great read! So glad I finally got around to it!
review originally posted on goodreads