April 07, 2015

Lady Susan by Jane Austen

I was reading some book reviews, last day and came across the book Lady Susan's review by chance. I was completely taken by surprise, knowing the book was written by Jane Austen, one of my favorite authors. It was a shame that I had never heard it before. I decided to read it right away when I found out it is an epistolary novel. Thanks to project Gutenberg for making it possible.

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Lady Susan Vernon is penniless, after husband's death and is in a search of a wealthy husband for herself and her daughter Frederica. They stay with Lady Susan's friend Mr.Mainwarning and his family at Langford, where she creates a chaos using her alluring charm on two men at a time, the host Mr.Mainwarning, who is a married man and Sir James Martin, who is Miss Mainwarning's love. Lady Susan goes to Churchhill to spend time with brother in law, Mr.Vernon and family, whilst the situations become worse at Langford. At Churchill, she meets Mrs.Vernon's brother Mr.Reginald De Courcy, who thinks of  Lady Susan as an accomplished coquette and thus detests her . But Lady Susan succeeds in making Mr.De Courcy believe in her with deceitful manners and cunning conversations . Mrs.Vernon tries to stop her brother's growing fondness for Lady Susan, but to make him fall for Frederica who has feelings towards him. The story gets more interested when Sir James Martin visits Churchhill with an intention to marry Frederica. The incidents followed by that brings a brilliant twist and ends with an unexpected event.

The entire story is narrated as letters, written among the characters, which gives a clear understanding of their nature. Lady Susan is cunning, unscrupulous and cold hearted. In Mrs.Catherine Vernon words,
"She is clever and agreeable, has all that knowledge of the world which makes conversation easy, and talks very well, with a happy command of language, which is too often used, I believe, to make black appear white."
That's right!. Lady Susan tries to look like a concerned and worried mother always. She portrays her daughter as a spoilt child and as the torment of her life, whereas Frederica has been just a girl who did not get the love and affection she deserved. She is shy, sweet, fair and reasonable. Lady Susan uses her to get sympathy from others, especially men. She only cares for herself and thus fools others. An anti- heroine, she is!. The protagonists in Jane Austen novels have always fascinated me. But this time, I was  surprised to find out a self-centered heroine.

I liked the character of Mrs.Catherine Vernon, who is Lady Susan's sister-in-law. She is wise enough to understand the evil and good. Mrs.Vernon dislikes Lady Susan as she had tried to prevent her marriage to Mr. Vernon in the past. But she shows no revulsion against Lady Susan's coming to Churchhill. Catherine treats her guest as equal as everyone. Mrs.Vernon never falls into the traps of the mistress of deceit , but tries to save her brother and Frederica from it. She is a caring, sensitive and perceptive woman.

A book worth reading!. Pick it up and read if you can. I will never forget Jane Austen's anti-heroine.

Happy Reading!!!


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