Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
This beautiful story follows the loving and mysterious character of Fanny Price, and her challenges as she is brought into a world of riches and elegance by her rich Uncle, Sir Thomas Bertram. She comes to live in his house, with his children, at the age of ten, and now, at the age of 18 she is introduced to love and responsibility.
My rating: ★★★★★ I give this book a rare 5-star rating!
Jane Austen almost at her finest and definitely at her most hilarious. It was hard keeping track of who was who among the Miss Bertrams and the Crawfords and the brothers, but even the characters acknowledged the difficulty. Austen’s final novel is actually a little racy, as men and women in tight laces talk politely until they’re blue in the face about how indecorous behaviour is the last thing anyone wants, all while participating in a full theatre production about adultery and wife-swapping. They even get the priest to join in! Conjugal infidelity is actually mentioned. Out loud! This novel is downright salacious.
And amongst the noisier than usual plot, there is a main character who is an introvert. As an introvert myself, Fanny is an island of calm in the storm of keeping track of who is canoodling who behind the ha-ha. Was Jane Austen an introvert too? She could hardly have done better.
As usual for Austen the prose is exquisite, so light and perfect, the characters making love to each other with their polite conversation. Austen is a master of seduction with all your clothes on. Although also as usual, everything gets wrapped up really quickly at the end and there’s no strong finish to the delightful journey.
Cousins getting married, ew.
So this is the last Jane Austen I had to read. I’m sad it’s over, but amazed at how much she did with British country society as her only tableau. Write about what you know. I might have to say that Jane Austen is my favourite author.
“Never had Fanny more wanted a cordial.