Thursday, August 18, 2011

Deliciously Deceitful or Simply Misunderstood?

"My dear Alicia, of what a mistake were you guilty in marrying a Man of his age!---just old enough to be formal, ungovernable and to have the Gout--too old to be agreeable and too young to die."

Publisher's Summary:
This high-spirited tale, told through an exchange of letters, is unique in Jane Austen's small body of work. It is the story of Lady Susan, a brilliant, beautiful and morally reprehensible coquette who delights in making men fall in love with her, deceiving their wives into friendship and even tormenting her own daughter, cruelly bending her to her will.

Austen clearly delighted in her wicked heroine - tracing Lady Susan's maneuverings to remarry yet continue on with her lover, and to marry off her young daughter, with great wit, zest and unfailing panache.  (from Melville House)

My thoughts:

There's nothing quite like discovering a new work by a favorite author, and while
Lady Susan
may be considered one of Jane Austen's minor works, her wit and wisdom shine through on every page.

Lady Susan Vernon is a classic Austen villain. You never know what will appear in her next missive. It could be something like the outrageous quote above, or you may find a small pearl of wisdom.

"...where there is a disposition to dislike a motive will never be wanting"

Epistolary novels have long been a personal favorite, and it's no surprise to find Jane's execution simply masterful.  My sole complaint is that the book was too short. The letters ran out long before my interest in their subjects.

My rating:

Links to more Art of the Novella challenge posts are here.


  1. I agree, I could have kept reading and kept reading. I thoroughly enjoyed this one!

  2. I have a very modest list for the Art of the Novella Challenge, and this is one of them. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

  3. Loved this too! Someone recently wrote a retelling where Lady S. is a more sympathetic character...but I liked her better in her original state.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. I loved that line from the opening of the post. It cracked me up when I read it. And I kind of liked Lady Susan for her bluntness.

  6. I love when I read a review and can feel how much a person loved what they read. Glad you enjoyed this JoAnn.

  7. Totally agree--this one was definitely too short!

  8. Melody - This could have gone on for 500 pages and I still would have loved it!

    Col - Hope you decide to read Lady Susan. It was wonderful!

    Audrey - Lady Susan's original state is just perfect! This was such fun.

    Teresa - The quote at the top was definitely my favorite!

    Diane - This may be in contention for my favorite of the year.

    Lisa - It could have gone on indefinitely, as far as I'm concerned.

  9. I am guilty of focusing on the more popular works of Austen and have completely missed out on the merits of this one. I'm kicking myself now because it was in my hand last weekend at a second-hand shop and I put it back...idiot!

  10. Mystica - That line stopped me dead in my tracks... just loved it!

    Darlene - Oh, nooo! I must take a closer look at The Watsons and Sandition now, too.

  11. Lady Susan is just about the only Austen I haven't read -- must correct that!!!

  12. We discussed Lady Susan at my Jane Austen society group a few months ago, it was delightful! We all agreed she's one of Austen's best villains.

  13. I really need to broaden my Austen-horizon.I've only read Pride and Prejudice. This does sound fantastic though.

  14. Beth F - Oh, yes... definitely read Lady Susan soon. You'll love it!

    Karen K. - I agree. She is very near the top of Austen's best villian list!

    Anothercookiecrumbles - Pride & Prejudice will always be my favorite Austen. In fact, it's just about time for another reread ;-)

  15. Now, this sounds like much fun!

  16. There's middle age for you -- I wonder what age that would have been back then? Great quotes, and I do love epistolary novels as well.

  17. Georgia Girls - Ha Ha! I wondered the same thing...


Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! Be sure to check back, I always respond. Due to a recent increase in spam, all comments are moderated.


Related Posts with Thumbnails