Review – Lady Susan

Lady Susan is told through letters, and through those letters, oh does Lady Susan ever get a dousing.

Lady Susan is a woman in need of a place to stay after deciding it was time for her to quit her current residence which of course was some else’s home. She finds herself a place with her in-laws, the Vernons. A recent widow looking for a new husband, she is willing and able to manipulate to get what she wants. She also needs a husband for her daughter, Fredericka, whom she describes as stubborn and unruly and who she talks badly about at every opportunity. She wants to marry off her daughter and be done with her and find herself a handsome, rich man to take care of her without the worry of an unwanted, and uncared for, daughter.

There are essentially seven characters in this book and in some way these people are all related or know each other intimately which makes the barbs being thrown all the more sharp. Yes, Lady Susan deserves every snide remark and sideways evil eye thrown her way but that, for me, is what is so fun about this book. Lady Susan goes around flirting with men, while keeping a married one on the hook, hoping to snag a good one along the way. She’s able to convince people of her virtues, and more than enough people describe her willingly as beautiful and smart. I think all the backbiting and hastily sent letters is wonderful though. Yes, you can say it’s slightly preachy on the morals side but the letters flying between family members is really entertaining.

This was an early unpublished work of Austen’s. I think I may have known that at some point but forgot it. It does have an unfinished feel about it and maybe an unedited feel as well. If you’ve read a lot of Austin, it’s easy to pick up on some of that but it was still good for me. It was included in my The Complete Works of Jane Austen which I’ve had on my Nook forever and love because when I’m feeling the need for Austen, it’s right there.

I have one book left to go and I will have officially read all of Austen’s books. It’s taken me longer than anticipated to complete this little challenge. As the number on the list of not read gets smaller, I get slower and now I’m down to one — Emma. I’ve tried to read Emma before and have never made it all the way through as she’s a character I really find annoying. After Lady Susan, I’m hoping I look at Emma as more the silly matchmaker and not the annoying, coddled child I think of her as. We shall see. We shall see.

Lady Susan from The Complete Works of Jane Austen

By Jane Austen

Douglas Editions

BN ID: 2940000816981

4 stars

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