As some of you may know, I am a pretty huge Jane Austen fan. I have loved Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility for ages and I can readily quote lines from and make reference to both.
Fanny Price did not come from a rich family. Quite the opposite. Her family has very little money and many children. When her uncle takes her in, and raises her in the lap of luxury, it is a blessing for dear Fanny. However, there is always a marked difference between herself and her four cousins and if she ever forgets it, which she does not, Aunt Norris is there to remind her.
From her shy corner of the world, Fanny observes much about the family. Including some uncouth behavior between her engaged cousin and a handsome friend in town for a few weeks. However, when this handsome friend turns his attention of fanny in earnest, she does not know what to do.
This is the fourth Jane Austen Novel I have read. Unfortunately, it was not her best. Please don’t grab your torches and pitchforks yet Jane Austens fans everywhere, I’m still a diehard fan, I’m just a little disappointed in this novel. After the first 250 (roughly ½ of the book) pages I thought “Okay, this was just the uphill climb. These are the details that are going to make this second half all make perfect sense.” And in a way, it was true. There were certain complex emotions and decisions that would not have made sense in the second half of the book if you hadn’t paid attention in the first half. Unfortunately, the second half of the book wasn’t the downhill thrill-ride that I’d been hoping for.
The second half of the book was sadly not much better than the first. There were great moments in the story but the telling of them was long and drawn out. I felt like several parts of story was slow-paced with no purpose. All of the most exciting details happened in the last 5 of the sixty-four chapters of the book. The largest part of the excitement really hit in the last 2 chapters. And while sometimes, this is enough to save my opinion of a book, in this case it felt a bit half-hearted. I as the reader had endured four hundred and eighty-one pages of hoping something exciting was about to happen and in the last 15 pages every major conflict was magically resolved. These were the details that I had been waiting for and they were left out!!! I felt cheated! I had listened to every character whine and complain for pages and pages thinking “just one more chapter and the fun will begin” and suddenly the author just glossed over it all, discussing it in the most general way and then….the end. It was over. *Insert Frustrated Wail Here*
So, if you are a Jane Austen fan, read Mansfield Park just to say you did. That you’ve read all of her works. If you are looking for classic novels to read, This wouldn’t crack my top 20. There are too many other novels too choose from.
Buy Mansfield Park on Amazon.com!
Until Next Time,