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Jane Austen, (1775-1817) was an English novelist known for her realism. Her family was part of the lower level gentry. She lived with her family and was active in church and the social activities of her gender and station. Jane used biting social commentary, satire and irony in her works. Lady Susan is an early Austen work. Lady Susan is a victim of a vicious scandal. She Jane Austen, (1775-1817) was an English novelist known for her realism. Her family was part of the lower level gentry. She lived with her family and was active in church and the social activities of her gender and station. Jane used biting social commentary, satire and irony in her works. Lady Susan is an early Austen work. Lady Susan is a victim of a vicious scandal. She is forced to live with her brother-in-law and his family. Susan uses her gentility and flirtations to seduce her sister-in -law's husband. Before Susan has accomplished her goal a former lover shows up on the scene.


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Jane Austen, (1775-1817) was an English novelist known for her realism. Her family was part of the lower level gentry. She lived with her family and was active in church and the social activities of her gender and station. Jane used biting social commentary, satire and irony in her works. Lady Susan is an early Austen work. Lady Susan is a victim of a vicious scandal. She Jane Austen, (1775-1817) was an English novelist known for her realism. Her family was part of the lower level gentry. She lived with her family and was active in church and the social activities of her gender and station. Jane used biting social commentary, satire and irony in her works. Lady Susan is an early Austen work. Lady Susan is a victim of a vicious scandal. She is forced to live with her brother-in-law and his family. Susan uses her gentility and flirtations to seduce her sister-in -law's husband. Before Susan has accomplished her goal a former lover shows up on the scene.

30 review for Lady Susan (eBook)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petra X

    This is a very clever book indeed. Quite different from the rest of Austen's oeuvre, it is not the sort of book that you can imagine a teenager might be able to write. To conceive the character of a woman of 35ish and her use of sexual attraction and seduction for a 19 year old, as Jane was when she finished this, shows remarkable powers of observation and deduction. How much harder in the more sheltered world of the 18thC than the tell-all media-driven world of now? Unlike all Austen's other boo This is a very clever book indeed. Quite different from the rest of Austen's oeuvre, it is not the sort of book that you can imagine a teenager might be able to write. To conceive the character of a woman of 35ish and her use of sexual attraction and seduction for a 19 year old, as Jane was when she finished this, shows remarkable powers of observation and deduction. How much harder in the more sheltered world of the 18thC than the tell-all media-driven world of now? Unlike all Austen's other books, this is in no way a comedy of manners, this is a single-minded depiction of the manipulative and rapacious Lady Susan. Lady Susan is a beautiful and very charming widow whose greatest delight in life is to trump it over all other women, to lure their men, their husbands and suitors, no matter what age into her sphere. As a widow she needn't stop at flirtation and promises of future, married delight and she doesn't. The book talks of a married man staying the night with her. She is a scandal wherever she invites herself, but the men cannot resist her. She has two main aims, one is to get her milk-and-water daughter whom she has no feelings for married to as wealthy a man as possible in as short a time as can be managed. Her other aim is to marry money herself. This plot is quite secondary to the absolutely brilliant drawing-out of her character via letters. Jane's marvellous technique of an epistolary novel each letter detailing the writer's perception and judgement of Lady Susan is among the best writing of any of her novels. The moral issues she brings out are tailored to the character of the letter writer - some admire and encourage her, some do so falsely because she brings interest to their boring country lives and some thoroughly disapprove of her and try to protect the daughter who cannot stand up to her cold and dismissively cruel mother. But where it is let down and probably why it wasn't submitted for publication until more than 50 years after Jane Austen's death is that the ending is abrupt and quite badly-written. It is as though Jane knew that she had to punish Lady Susan for her adultery but could not quite find the right device in which to bring it to that conclusion, so the end is a summary of what happens and is very, very disappointing. This was, like most of Austen's books, a solid 5 star read, but for the ending. So 4 stars.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    I read the book then watch the movie for BookTubeAThon 2018 and I have to say... they have some differences and the movie might be a bit better. It's so silly and funny and can't recommend it enough!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ilse

    Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere. O Lady Susan Vernon, what a juicy jewel of a villainous character you are, a black diamond, repelling and fascinating at the same time, your wicked charm inspiring possibly an uncanny form of envy more than simple revulsion. Deceiving everyone with your angelic face and pleasingly mild manners of hypocrite virtue, your honeyed smile covers up a cold-hearted, calculating, selfish nature – and how cunningly sophisticated and feisty you are in compar Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere. O Lady Susan Vernon, what a juicy jewel of a villainous character you are, a black diamond, repelling and fascinating at the same time, your wicked charm inspiring possibly an uncanny form of envy more than simple revulsion. Deceiving everyone with your angelic face and pleasingly mild manners of hypocrite virtue, your honeyed smile covers up a cold-hearted, calculating, selfish nature – and how cunningly sophisticated and feisty you are in comparison with those limp noodles of ‘contemptibly weak’ men who are so unlucky and naïve to get entangled in your scheming, just playthings and pawns in your frivolous and cruel games. Speaking your mind, confiding your real thoughts, motives and stratagems in the letters to your equally evil friend Mrs. Johnson, you drop the mask of amiable countenance, showing the hideous face of the ruthless, manipulative and coquettish seductress more ordinary women furtively fear or believe to be hidden behind an all too pretty face, an overkill of charm and overly refined manners – a treacherous face they’d be happy to expose, as your sister-in-law relentlessly expounds in her letters to her mother. However it might appear slightly preposterous in our present day context, and aside from your exasperating and vicious character, Janus-faced, unadulterated malignancy, lies, indulgence in power and dominance, abhorrent mistreatment of your poor daughter Frederica, your rather disgracefully merry recent widowhood (grief-stricken? not you) - isn’t your behaviour simply rational and comprehensible in the world of Jane Austen, an attempt to basically have a normal household again, regain status, avoid and overcome penury and ill reputation – after all, for women in your position, a sensible way of dealing with the ordeals of widowhood if not amongst the lucky ones to whom it brought wealth or even power? A la guerre comme à la guerre! What was to be expected for you as such a widow in the male-dominated society in that time and class? What was to be done? Did you truly have other alternatives than go on the hunt for a rich second spouse and foisting yourself upon the household of your late husband’s brother as an operating base to improve your circumstances, left behind with no home, no money, and nothing useful to do? I am tired of submitting my will to the caprices of others; of resigning my own judgment in deference to those to whom I owe no duty, and for whom I feel no respect. In such a patriarchal world there is no convenient place for an unattached woman, regardless of her eventual valiant intelligence and shrewd machinations, and specifically not if ‘dangerously endowed with experience and independence’ and potentially unchaste like a widow, a figure to be feared and guarded against, knowing the game all too well. But she doesn’t set the rules of the game. And young Jane Austen – estimated to have written this delicious epistolary novella between 1793-94, not yet twenty years old - didn’t seem keen on endangering or shocking society by letting her amoral widow bask in her redeemed liberty and independence for long. Where there is a disposition to dislike, a motive will never be wanting.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    Lady Susan Vernon 35, but looks much younger is exceedingly pretty , gentle with great manners , well spoken, intelligent the perfect woman until you know her... newly widowed from a kind man Mr.Vernon, ( no first name is given) he had foolishly let her spend all his money... a daughter 16, Frederica almost as beautiful as she, who the Lady ignores , hates and torments, a bothersome thing. The notorious flirt, has chased men both married and single throughout England, (her late husband looked th Lady Susan Vernon 35, but looks much younger is exceedingly pretty , gentle with great manners , well spoken, intelligent the perfect woman until you know her... newly widowed from a kind man Mr.Vernon, ( no first name is given) he had foolishly let her spend all his money... a daughter 16, Frederica almost as beautiful as she, who the Lady ignores , hates and torments, a bothersome thing. The notorious flirt, has chased men both married and single throughout England, (her late husband looked the other way, to avoid scandal) and continues a few months after his death, angering jealous wives, Lady Manwaring the latest, the gullible victim Mr. Manwaring , set around the turn of the 19th century ...With little money Lady Susan accepts Charles Vernon's, her late husband's brother, invitation to stay a while in his home with the family, wife Catherine and children the Vernon's are noted for their generosity. Lady Susan turns on the charm which no man can resist, but it's different with women they can see through the outrageous lies, Catherine Vernon grows to dislike her intensely and feels sorry for her distressed niece, Frederica, the daughter has been deposited in a cheap boarding school. Susan is always plotting in this epistolary novella, everyone's writing letters to their confidants, friend or relative, revealing their true feelings in a polite society it is the only way. Catherine to her mother Lady De Courcy, still signing them Cath. Vernon, propriety must be kept. Her brother Reginald, needs to see the coquette it would be fun he thinks but at 23, he is out of his league, the visit is disastrous, falling in love with the older attractive woman, that his family doesn't approve and the sister is powerless to stop, Catherine knows no brother would listen to a sister's warning, in regards to romance . The unexpected arrival of Sir James Martin, uninvited to the Vernon's house is quite a bit awkward, the silly , immature, unintelligent young man wants to marry either Susan or the shy daughter Frederica but he has plenty of money. Lady Susan has written close friend Mrs. Alicia Johnson, the desire to marry off the daughter to this tiresome gentleman, her machinations must succeed or at last resort, the rather unthinkable marry him herself, she desperately needs the cash. Colossal Trouble with a capital T, follows Susan, she goes to London to get Frederica the nervous daughter... so distraught, she flees her school but was caught, not desiring to be forced to marry Sir James the undesirable, later both left Charles Vernon's mansion, soon afterwards to live in a small apartment in London, Susan is waiting to elope with Reginald who at this time is visiting his concerned parents, and the terrified Frederica, James... Then the lovesick Mr. Manwaring appears and the utterly heartbroken, anxious Lady Manwaring , also...the always unperturbed, beautiful, resilient Lady Susan will need all her enormous talents to persevere...The much too short novella, has one of the best female villains in the history of literature ... A final thought, this is my last Jane Austen novel she only wrote seven, if you count Lady Susan and I read , each captivating one a very talented lady and I can't think of another more appropriate word for her, thank you for the entertainment but even further, the enchantment.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Jane Austen's novel about a femme fatale, the lovely and devious Lady Susan. This early epistolary Austen novel follows the young(ish), attractive and recently widowed Lady Susan Vernon as she schemes her way around England, leaving emotional wreckage in her wake. Lady Susan is a unique main character for Austen, two-faced, meanspirited and amoral ... yet witty and intelligent. Lady Susan is trying to marry off her young daughter Frederica, whom she despises as stupid and insipid - well, she is p Jane Austen's novel about a femme fatale, the lovely and devious Lady Susan. This early epistolary Austen novel follows the young(ish), attractive and recently widowed Lady Susan Vernon as she schemes her way around England, leaving emotional wreckage in her wake. Lady Susan is a unique main character for Austen, two-faced, meanspirited and amoral ... yet witty and intelligent. Lady Susan is trying to marry off her young daughter Frederica, whom she despises as stupid and insipid - well, she is pretty insipid, actually - to Sir James, a rich young man, while trying to marry someone even richer herself. When she's banished from one home she was visiting (for seducing the husband, Lord Mainwaring), lacking better options, Lady Susan invites herself and her daughter Frederica for an extended stay with her dead husband's brother and his wife. The wife, Catherine Vernon, is one of the few people that sees through Susan's façade. Catherine's handsome young brother and the family heir, Reginald De Courcy, soon arrives for a stay as well. He's initially laughingly suspicious of Lady Susan, whose reputation has preceded her. But Lady Susan, all sweetness and distressed loveliness, is gradually able to convince Reginald that she's been unfairly maligned. Meanwhile she's writing letters to her friend, Alicia, confiding all her devious plans. Half the fun in this book is reading Susan's explanations to Alicia of how completely she's tricking everyone around her. Even when I was getting anxious for her latest victim, Reginald, to wake up and smell the coffee, I was getting a kick out of how gleefully deceitful and amoral Susan is. The plot thickens when Susan's shy daughter Frederica, desperately trying to avoid being married off to the oblivious Sir James, starts to fall for Reginald and begs him to help her evade her mother's plans for her. Susan's got all she can do to juggle all her lies and schemes, keeping Reginald on the hook while also continuing her relationship with Lord Mainwaring, who's still hanging around her. Lady Susan isn't a particularly deep or layered story; it was early days yet for Jane Austen. But it's a fun read with many witty lines and an intriguing and unusual main character, and it's interesting to see Austen developing her style and craft.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    This is a clever and delightful novella from Jane Austen that wasn't published until decades after her death. I was excited to read it after Whit Stillman adapted it into the movie "Love & Friendship." The story is told in a series of letters, with the main character being the beautiful, selfish and manipulative Lady Susan Vernon. Lady Susan is skilled at making men fall in love with her, and is used to getting her way. In the story, she is trying to catch a husband for her daughter, but she' This is a clever and delightful novella from Jane Austen that wasn't published until decades after her death. I was excited to read it after Whit Stillman adapted it into the movie "Love & Friendship." The story is told in a series of letters, with the main character being the beautiful, selfish and manipulative Lady Susan Vernon. Lady Susan is skilled at making men fall in love with her, and is used to getting her way. In the story, she is trying to catch a husband for her daughter, but she's also distracted after getting involved with a married man, and she's busy trying to find relatives who will support her. A widow who doesn't like spending her own money, she would prefer to take advantage of the hospitality of friends and family. Lady Susan is a very different heroine than we're used to seeing from Jane Austen. She is witty and clever, to be sure, but she does not seem ashamed of her immorality or schemes, whereas less scrupulous characters in other Austen novels always get punished for their bad behavior. Instead, Lady Susan finds a way to triumph, despite the many lessons of literature that say she should end up a ruined woman. I didn't know what to expect from this novella, and I came away impressed. Written when Austen was about 20, this is an early work that really shines. Highly recommended for Austen fans. Favorite Quotes "I was so much indulged in my infant years that I was never obliged to attend to anything, and consequently am without those accomplishments which are necessary to finish a pretty woman. Not that I am an advocate for the prevailing fashion of acquiring a perfect knowledge in all the languages arts and sciences; it is throwing time away; to be mistress of French, Italian, German, music, singing, drawing etc., will gain a woman some applause, but will not add one lover to her list. Grace and manner after all are of the greatest importance." "There is exquisite pleasure in subduing an insolent spirit, in making a person pre-determined to dislike, acknowledge one's superiority."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    I haven't read an Austen novel that I disliked. I mean, she's good enough to turn what should be an epistolary slog through social mores into a delightful and spiteful and nearly-tragic romp. Who else can do that? The voices of each character in each letter evokes such verve and personality and a great sense of persistent presence that I'm frankly quite shocked. The plot was rather simple. It's about making good matches and getting involved in other's love-lives. *shock* *no* *say it isn't so* But I haven't read an Austen novel that I disliked. I mean, she's good enough to turn what should be an epistolary slog through social mores into a delightful and spiteful and nearly-tragic romp. Who else can do that? The voices of each character in each letter evokes such verve and personality and a great sense of persistent presence that I'm frankly quite shocked. The plot was rather simple. It's about making good matches and getting involved in other's love-lives. *shock* *no* *say it isn't so* But even so, it's done with such reserve and sometimes with such plain nasty cattiness that I can't help but swing this way and that throughout the novel, just trying to get a handle on what the *truth* is. What is Lady Susan really hiding? What did her daughter do? What the hell with Mrs. Vernon? Jeeze. For such a short novel, made entirely of letters, it really managed to get under my skin and keep me on my toes. Amazing!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sherwood Smith

    I've noticed over the years that a lot of Austen fans (the ones who tend to want to confine Jane Austen to a tiny box of preciousness, or who only value her as a romance writer, or who have only seen the films) seem oblivious to this tight, short, ninety-percent-finished epistolary novel. Or they pretend it doesn't exist, because it is not very romantic. I understand there's to be a movie version, which gives me deep misgivings. If it's played seriously, with a Dangerous Liaisons overlay of postm I've noticed over the years that a lot of Austen fans (the ones who tend to want to confine Jane Austen to a tiny box of preciousness, or who only value her as a romance writer, or who have only seen the films) seem oblivious to this tight, short, ninety-percent-finished epistolary novel. Or they pretend it doesn't exist, because it is not very romantic. I understand there's to be a movie version, which gives me deep misgivings. If it's played seriously, with a Dangerous Liaisons overlay of postmodern immorality, I will be pretending it doesn't exist. But the actual novel Austen wrote, probably when she was in her late teens or early twenties? That I reread every few years, half-hearing how much fun it must have been for the home theater-loving Austen family to read out loud. It has two drawbacks: the male characters are all pastiches from eighteenth century novels, and it wasn't finished. But it has two pluses: it is really a battle of the Titans, between the female characters, whose personalities come alive delightfully, especially Lady Susan, who is (as she is introduced right at the outset) a complete coquette. And two: it wasn't finished, which permitted Austen to end it with an early version of the deliciously witty narrative voice that stands out so brilliantly in her subsequent work. In it we also see certain themes: presumably Lady Susan has the highest rank of any of the characters, for to be called "Lady Firstname" meant you were daughter of an earl or higher. And the higher ranks do not do well in any of Austen's novels--a distinction from, for example, Georgette Heyer, who invented an alternate England in which birth will always tell. We also see that what women thought matters. What women did mattered. Austen's work is all female gaze. It was never published in her lifetime. I can imagine that she thought it a fun experiment--worth reading aloud in the family circle to laugh over--but it didn't have enough heft to turn into a novel as she did with the other two she wrote in the 1790s, the epistolary novels that became P&P and S&S. Her "proper" heroine, Frederica, is as boring as she is trite, and ditto Reginald de Courcy, the hero. The subsidiary characters take over the story, especially Lady Susan and her cheerfully awful friend Mrs. Johnson, with some great comic cameo roles, like Sir James.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    Most people don't even know that Jane Austen ever wrote this book. Yes, it is a book indeed. Only 80 pages long, which is next to nothing when compared to the other 6 novels, but, in only 80 pages Jane Austen manages to build a great stage for yet another funny, witty, sarcastic and engaging tale through a series of letters back and forth between several people. The situation is that the titular Lady Susan, a widow, is a terrible flirt and apparently a master match-maker. We discover her flirtin Most people don't even know that Jane Austen ever wrote this book. Yes, it is a book indeed. Only 80 pages long, which is next to nothing when compared to the other 6 novels, but, in only 80 pages Jane Austen manages to build a great stage for yet another funny, witty, sarcastic and engaging tale through a series of letters back and forth between several people. The situation is that the titular Lady Susan, a widow, is a terrible flirt and apparently a master match-maker. We discover her flirtiness, her not really good relationship with her daughter, as well as how she manages to alternately wrap certain people (even when they were prejudiced against her) around her fingers. Lady Susan would be an unlikely heroine in any story but the existance of this character is even more surprising when remembering how old this story is. Oh, how much I would have loved to see Regency England react to her! :D I usually don't like people of such a character as Lady Susan's (she's unkind towards her daughter, she is manipulative, she is cold and dismissive and happily sleeping around finding it quite alright so long as she is discreet), but in this case it was simply funny as hell and most of the people involved in this novel definitely deserved being played. After all, it's the usual Regency setting where looks are most important and where pretentiousness and superficiality rule. Though short and obscure due to when it was penned, this is again a masterful work of a fantastic female author. A short time ago I watched the BBC production of this story and was quite disappointed (which I had not expected) so I started this with a bit of reservation, but the book - although quite short and different from the bigger novels - was wonderful.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susana

    (review in English below) Gostei mesmo desta minha primeira experiência com a escrita de Jane Austen - que foi também a sua primeira obra. Retrospectivamente, acho que podia haver alguma caracterização física dos personagens e dos ambientes. Mas, na verdade, durante a leitura não lhes senti a falta. A história é-nos transmitida apenas através de cartas, trocadas entre alguns dos personagens, com excepção do final (que me desapontou um pouco por causa disso mesmo) mas a autora conseguiu manter uma e (review in English below) Gostei mesmo desta minha primeira experiência com a escrita de Jane Austen - que foi também a sua primeira obra. Retrospectivamente, acho que podia haver alguma caracterização física dos personagens e dos ambientes. Mas, na verdade, durante a leitura não lhes senti a falta. A história é-nos transmitida apenas através de cartas, trocadas entre alguns dos personagens, com excepção do final (que me desapontou um pouco por causa disso mesmo) mas a autora conseguiu manter uma excelente dinâmica, conjugada com uma escrita irrepreensível. Fiquei, obviamente, com vontade de ler mais obras de Austen, e gostava de o fazer por ordem cronológica. Recomendo especialmente a quem goste de romances de época, de uma boa escrita e do formato epistolar. I really enjoyed this first experience with Jane Austen's writing - which was also her first work. In retrospective, I think it would've been nice to have some physical characterization of the characters and of the settings. But, truth be told, I didn't miss it while reading the book. The story is conveyed only through letters that are exchanged between some of the characters, with the exception of the ending (on which I was disappointed for that same reason) but the author managed to maintain a great dynamic, combined with impeccable writing. I obviously want to read more from Austen and I'd like to do it in chronological order. I recommend it, of course, specially to those who like "epoch romance", good writing and epistolary novels.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    Lady Susan. What an interesting character- stirring up trouble, flirting, scheming, lying, plotting, seducing and trouble making...quite a contrast to Elizabeth Bennett!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alex Farrand

    Lady Susan is AMAZING. I have read Jane Austen's biography by Jon Spence, which notes this book. This novel premise is about Jane's brother and cousin's relationship. She wrote it because she hated their relationship and didn't want them together. Jane Austen saw her cousin for who she really was, this manipulative, deceitful, flirtatious woman. Therefore, this novel was created to cope with her brother's decision. Completely different from Jane Austen's other novels. Lady Susan, the heroine, is Lady Susan is AMAZING. I have read Jane Austen's biography by Jon Spence, which notes this book. This novel premise is about Jane's brother and cousin's relationship. She wrote it because she hated their relationship and didn't want them together. Jane Austen saw her cousin for who she really was, this manipulative, deceitful, flirtatious woman. Therefore, this novel was created to cope with her brother's decision. Completely different from Jane Austen's other novels. Lady Susan, the heroine, is so unlike her other heroines. She is sassy, charming, flirtatious, masculine, manipulative, and deceiving, which makes her a really fun character to read about. I can't help hating her whole character when knowing her plans and deceit, but I too was in entranced by her. She would be someone who you want to keep close. This novel is written by a series of letters, which I thought was very interesting and different. In a lot of ways you see Jane Austen in this novel. You see her as Mrs. Catherine Vernon. Mrs. Vernon saw between Lady Susan, and couldn't be charmed by her. She hated that her brother was struck by her, and tried to push him away. She was worried about her brother, and didn't want Lady Susan, with all her charms, to hurt her brother. Does she succeed? You will have to find out! I did feel like the ending was rushed, but I believe this novel is incomplete. I am pretty sure she died before finishing it. So, no harm, no foul. Jane Austen lovers I hope you all get a chance to read this novel. It is short. Not a super hard read and really fun. Cheers!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kalliope

    MULTIFACETED PRISM Reading this wonderful novel I felt as if I were holding a multifaceted prism, and with each new epistle, I was twisting it to another of its sides, and looked in wonder into wonder it. With every slight shift in viewpoint, the light unveiled a different aspect: of the engaging story; of the captivating characters; of the elusive nature of fiction; of the actual art of narration. Not only was each letter advancing a plot but it also made me wonder if there was an unmediated way MULTIFACETED PRISM Reading this wonderful novel I felt as if I were holding a multifaceted prism, and with each new epistle, I was twisting it to another of its sides, and looked in wonder into wonder it. With every slight shift in viewpoint, the light unveiled a different aspect: of the engaging story; of the captivating characters; of the elusive nature of fiction; of the actual art of narration. Not only was each letter advancing a plot but it also made me wonder if there was an unmediated way of looking, since each side, each letter, had a bearing on the others. And even if one of its sides appeared to have its position as the original source, the constant shifting was gradually producing a greater and greater impression of unreliability. In particular one of the facets, one of the letters, reminded me of how indiscernible is human intent. What a smart young writer, this Jane Austen at nineteen was!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Piyangie

    In this epistolary novella by Jane Austen, we are presented with "the most accomplished coquette in England" - Lady Susan. Driven by the necessity to survive in her present status of widowhood, she draws many schemes to advance her position through a second marriage as well as to rid herself of the encumbrance of her daughter. Some of her schemes backfire, but the artful lady nevertheless manages to secure her an advantageous match. Lady Susan is a selfish, manipulative and a shameless woman. To In this epistolary novella by Jane Austen, we are presented with "the most accomplished coquette in England" - Lady Susan. Driven by the necessity to survive in her present status of widowhood, she draws many schemes to advance her position through a second marriage as well as to rid herself of the encumbrance of her daughter. Some of her schemes backfire, but the artful lady nevertheless manages to secure her an advantageous match. Lady Susan is a selfish, manipulative and a shameless woman. To secure her an opulent lifestyle, she would stoop so low as to do whatever within her power, even to the extent of directing her flirtatious attention to a married man. Her conduct is absolutely outrageous for a titled lady in the regency period. But what is more shocking is her wicked conduct toward her daughter, robbing her of her education and making her appears as a simpleton. Throughout the read, the reader feels nothing but anger and contempt towards this scheming lady. But incredibly, she generates interest in the reader at the same time however much she is disliked. I think only Jane Austen could create such an outrageous character which the reader despises while still being interested. Austen is well known for her realistic portrayal of the society and her powerful observation on people who invariable become characters in her work. She presents her work impartially, without judgement, allowing the reader to find on their own the blacks and whites of the characters. I love that style of hers. And in Lady Susan too this mode of writing is clearly seen. I think that is one of the key factors that readers across the world love her work. However, in Lady Susan Jane Austen has adopted an epistolary style; a stark contrast to her natural descriptive writing style. The writing is clever and bold and full of sarcastic wit and humor. I truly had a fun time reading it, often laughing aloud, although I admit Lady Susan to be one infuriating character. Comparatively to her novels, this short novella is less well known. Nevertheless it should not be overlooked, for its short content, it is filled with so much of richness.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Beatriz

    Reto #3 PopSugar 2017: Un libro de cartas Aunque parezca increíble, es mi primer libro de Jane Austen. Leí en un foro que Lady Susan era una buena elección para introducirse en su obra y, al terminarlo, a mí también me lo parece. A pesar de que el libro está completamente escrito de forma epistolar, es muy fácil seguir los acontecimientos y conocer las motivaciones de los personajes a través de las cartas que se envían entre ellos, aunque quizá hubiera sido de ayuda alguna introducción, porque a Reto #3 PopSugar 2017: Un libro de cartas Aunque parezca increíble, es mi primer libro de Jane Austen. Leí en un foro que Lady Susan era una buena elección para introducirse en su obra y, al terminarlo, a mí también me lo parece. A pesar de que el libro está completamente escrito de forma epistolar, es muy fácil seguir los acontecimientos y conocer las motivaciones de los personajes a través de las cartas que se envían entre ellos, aunque quizá hubiera sido de ayuda alguna introducción, porque al principio cuesta entender la relación entre los personajes. La historia engancha mucho e iba para las cuatro estrellas hasta que… llegó el desenlace: increíblemente apresurado y me quedó al debe un escarmiento más significativo para la odiosa Susan Vernon. Quizá se deba a que esta historia fue publicada de manera póstuma, pero aun así, por ese final, la bajo a tres estrellas. No sé si será una constante en las obras de Austen, pero al menos en ésta hay un notorio desdén hacia el género masculino. Unos más y otros menos, pero todos son caracterizados como personajes ñoños y cortos de entendederas, que son hábilmente manejados por la astucia femenina. Interesante. Debo reconocer que me gustó mucho más de lo que me esperaba y probablemente lea otros libros de esta autora.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Helle

    Where there is disposition to dislike motive will never be wanting. This epistolary novella about the conceited coquette, Lady Susan, is delightful and reminiscent of Choderlos de Laclos’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Even the acidic, viper-like tongue of our main character has something in common with the scheming, self-absorbed Mme Merteuil of that novel. Though the tone may be harsher, the character of Lady Susan darker, than what was to come, it is clearly the precursor of the irony and satire t Where there is disposition to dislike motive will never be wanting. This epistolary novella about the conceited coquette, Lady Susan, is delightful and reminiscent of Choderlos de Laclos’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Even the acidic, viper-like tongue of our main character has something in common with the scheming, self-absorbed Mme Merteuil of that novel. Though the tone may be harsher, the character of Lady Susan darker, than what was to come, it is clearly the precursor of the irony and satire that pervaded all of Austen’s major works. As we read letters written by various characters and hear opposing points of view, we begin to piece together Lady Susan’s character and the little goings-on in the wings of the story. Lady Susan’s unfaltering convictions abound, and Jane Austen’s linguistic gems shine already here: Consideration and esteem as surely follow command of language, as admiration waits on beauty. I’m heading a temporary book club at my local library dedicated to Jane Austen on the occasion of the bicentenary of Emma in November. Before meeting for the first time, the members were assigned, by me, Lady Susan, which I knew to be one of Austen’s earliest works but not really considered part of her major oeuvre. I suspect now, having read it, that it is only due to its length and its rather unsatisfying ending because the rest is completely up to par – a worthy forerunner of her six princesses (as Forster called her six major novels). I can’t think why I hadn’t read this until now – and I call myself a Janeite?! (P.S. A new film adaption of Lady Susan is on its way!)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hirdesh

    Jane Austen's every book is just a Milestone. Extraordinary , extravagant piece of writing ! That was the realness of English language and its impact and effective shown in the book with a lovable theme and Gratefulness. Great decorum of Lady Susan. She was not only understood superiority of family intellects but, also how to engaged in their perspective relations. I've been still remember each dialogue of Lady Susan and her daughter. Despite of loss of her husband, she moved forwards with her superf Jane Austen's every book is just a Milestone. Extraordinary , extravagant piece of writing ! That was the realness of English language and its impact and effective shown in the book with a lovable theme and Gratefulness. Great decorum of Lady Susan. She was not only understood superiority of family intellects but, also how to engaged in their perspective relations. I've been still remember each dialogue of Lady Susan and her daughter. Despite of loss of her husband, she moved forwards with her superficiality. This book certainly shows that a lady can do any magic over people. Woman empowerment flows in every word of Lady Susan.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    A woman tries to have her cake and eat it too. In Lady Susan a middle-aged woman clinging to her charms make friends and family suffer for her desire to have a last fling. The whole is told in letters. I didn't think I would, but I loved the epistolary approach. It really worked well here. On the whole, the plot could've been a little craftier. It's fairly straightforward, but then it's also very short. Maybe that's to its benefit. This is quite impressive, considering it's believed to be one of A woman tries to have her cake and eat it too. In Lady Susan a middle-aged woman clinging to her charms make friends and family suffer for her desire to have a last fling. The whole is told in letters. I didn't think I would, but I loved the epistolary approach. It really worked well here. On the whole, the plot could've been a little craftier. It's fairly straightforward, but then it's also very short. Maybe that's to its benefit. This is quite impressive, considering it's believed to be one of Austen's first books. Plus, she never bothered to get it published in her lifetime. That speaks to her doubting its quality. Well, she needn't have worried.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Reread -- I read it in this edition: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5... If Northanger Abbey is considered a Minor work, then this is a minor Minor work, with Northanger Abbey being a major Minor. Austen's writing here reminds me of her juvenilia (see Love and Freindship), though here it's much more accomplished (especially considering how young she still was at the time of its writing) and not as (purposely) silly and over-the-top as the juvenilia. With her early work one sees the process of Reread -- I read it in this edition: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5... If Northanger Abbey is considered a Minor work, then this is a minor Minor work, with Northanger Abbey being a major Minor. Austen's writing here reminds me of her juvenilia (see Love and Freindship), though here it's much more accomplished (especially considering how young she still was at the time of its writing) and not as (purposely) silly and over-the-top as the juvenilia. With her early work one sees the process of Austen teaching herself how to write a novel, especially in this short novel's conclusion, reminding me of the much more effective ending of Mansfield Park.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Celeste

    Lady Susan is the fifth story I’ve read from Ms. Austen, and it is the fifth that I loved more than I expected. Lady Susan is a beautiful, intelligent, flirtatious, selfish, conniving, manipulative widow on the prowl for her second husband. She is also a neglectful, borderline abusive mother to a teenaged daughter, viewing her only as a burden and possible leverage into a better life through marrying said daughter off against her will. Lady Susan sees no value in the lives and opinions of others Lady Susan is the fifth story I’ve read from Ms. Austen, and it is the fifth that I loved more than I expected. Lady Susan is a beautiful, intelligent, flirtatious, selfish, conniving, manipulative widow on the prowl for her second husband. She is also a neglectful, borderline abusive mother to a teenaged daughter, viewing her only as a burden and possible leverage into a better life through marrying said daughter off against her will. Lady Susan sees no value in the lives and opinions of others; they are pawns to play against each other for her amusement and means for supporting her own lifestyle. All in all, Lady Susan is simply a horrible person. But dang it if she’s not funny. Ms. Austen did a wonderful job telling this story. I’ve never been a huge fan of books told in letter format. There are exceptions, of course; The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Dear Mr. Knightley, as examples. And now I can add Lady Susan to that list. It was witty and sarcastic and funny. It made me smile on a day when smiling was starting to feel like an expression out of my reach. Not to mention that it was hilarious watching Lady Susan crash and burn. I was thoroughly amused by the story, and I’m very glad it was chosen as a group read this month.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Gary the Bookworm

    Janeites rejoice! Lady Susan is a winner. I've been saving this for a rainy day and today it rained. I had a difference of opinion with a new goodreads friend who wrote that she found Austen's endings to be predictable.(view spoiler)[ After I fainted, and was revived by smelling salts, I found that this is not an uncommon complaint. (hide spoiler)] Well Traveller, take a trip with Lady Susan because she's a lot of things, but predictable she's not. Lady (aka Saucy) Susan, is a recent widow who Janeites rejoice! Lady Susan is a winner. I've been saving this for a rainy day and today it rained. I had a difference of opinion with a new goodreads friend who wrote that she found Austen's endings to be predictable.(view spoiler)[ After I fainted, and was revived by smelling salts, I found that this is not an uncommon complaint. (hide spoiler)] Well Traveller, take a trip with Lady Susan because she's a lot of things, but predictable she's not. Lady (aka Saucy) Susan, is a recent widow who desires a new husband for herself and another one for her ungrateful teenage daughter, who, according to her mother, was raised by wolves - or worse - governesses. Saucy Susan (view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] is a world-class coquette and is superior in every way except for her ethics. She has been entertaining the affections of a married man and stolen the affections of that man's daughter's suitor because she wants to foist her daughter off on him. The whole sordid tale is told in a series of letters between co-conspirators, shocked hostesses and mothers. Usually Jane's fathers come off badly, but I guess she was still trying to work this out, because here mother-daughter antagonism predominates. Other goodreads' sages have written (kudos to the misses Petra X and Kim) that this is a remarkable achievement for one so young. I agree. It is just the thing if you want a taste of Austen without a long-term commitment and it stands out as an extraordinary example of a budding genius who is about to burst into full bloom.

  22. 5 out of 5

    l a i n e y

    My first epistolary novel, quite fun infact. I thought it would be unengaging but no, Austen managed to be her witty self and created such wicked titular character, Lady Susan Vernon. Eventhough the ending was little rush and not as I would have liked, I still like it, big part of it because I like Lady Susan herself. (view spoiler)[Especially when she wrote to Reginald and told him off instead of begging him to return to her. (hide spoiler)]

  23. 4 out of 5

    Katie Lumsden

    I just love this novella. It's hilarious, brilliantly written and such great fun.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lata

    Funny and awful at the same time, Lady Susan Vernon (of the title) crashes her sister-in-law's after Susan's husband dies, and causes raised eyebrows and tut tutting. This is after all the gentry of the early 1800s who live highly mannered lives, and the idea that a 35-year old widow would be laughing and attracting mens' admiring attention, well, that was just not done. The sister-in-law, Catherine Vernon, is concerned since her brother is making googly eyes at Susan, and Catherine just knows t Funny and awful at the same time, Lady Susan Vernon (of the title) crashes her sister-in-law's after Susan's husband dies, and causes raised eyebrows and tut tutting. This is after all the gentry of the early 1800s who live highly mannered lives, and the idea that a 35-year old widow would be laughing and attracting mens' admiring attention, well, that was just not done. The sister-in-law, Catherine Vernon, is concerned since her brother is making googly eyes at Susan, and Catherine just knows that Susan is a bad one but can't do anything really about it other than send her mother worried letters. Susan's having a good time upsetting Catherine (as she notes to her friend in letters, in fact everyone's writing letters in this story) and flirting with Catherine's brother. Then Susan's daughter arrives after getting booted out of finishing school, where she was learning how to dance, how to bat her eyelashes and coo at men, and the whole situation at Catherine's gets a little darker. Susan is a heck of a lot more interesting than Fanny Price (of "Mansfield Park") and this story is really funny with the way the gentry say and do all sorts of ridiculous or manipulative things but do them with manners. Susan does not conform to the restrictions on a 19th century widow, and seems to be having grand time seducing various men and fortune hunting. The pretty and funny performance, however, is exposed gradually once Frederica, Susan's daughter, arrives on the scene. (view spoiler)[Susan truly is awful, but not for her need to secure a stable financial situation (women's legal situation at the time was pretty much equivalent to that accorded to a piece of furniture, and a widow would have been in a precarious financial place) or for her need to feel desirable or have some fun. Rather, Susan's treatment of Frederica is neglectful, bullying, cold, uncaring with a lack of concern for her daughter's long term welfare as shown in Susan's plans to marry Frederica off to an unpleasant young man, Sir James Martin. (hide spoiler)] This short epistolary tale shows off Austen's cutting wit and humour, though in a very different way from her more popular story "Pride and Prejudice", and I liked how little Susan felt obligated to behave as a retiring widow. I frequently found myself laughing out loud at the elliptical phrasing used by the characters, which was necessitated by the conventions of the time and the way the gentry related to one another.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Petra

    Well, that was fun. Jane Austen is always a good read. Lady Susan is such a scheming social climber. She has absolutely no shame. She's self-centered and narcissistic. It's delightful to read through her letters. Her friends and family's personalities also come through so clearly in these letters. The hidden motives and thoughts wonderfully fill out the storyline. Jane Austen wrote this when still a teenager. It's amazing how she was able to focus on the thoughts, motives and narcissistic feeling Well, that was fun. Jane Austen is always a good read. Lady Susan is such a scheming social climber. She has absolutely no shame. She's self-centered and narcissistic. It's delightful to read through her letters. Her friends and family's personalities also come through so clearly in these letters. The hidden motives and thoughts wonderfully fill out the storyline. Jane Austen wrote this when still a teenager. It's amazing how she was able to focus on the thoughts, motives and narcissistic feelings of a woman much older (35-ish) that she was. To write about deception, scheming and false friendships is quite an accomplishment for such a young woman. Jane's wonderful writing comes through in this short novel and is a delight to read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    I enjoyed this book although not as much as Austen's more popular novels. It feels rather unfinished and lacking a bit of polish in comparison. The narrative is predominantly told via letters from different characters to their friends and family. They are relating events surrounding Lady Susan and her daughter Frederica. Lady Susan is rather a piece of work all told and attempts to manipulate the people around her for her own benefit. It's intriguing to witness this from the perspectives of diff I enjoyed this book although not as much as Austen's more popular novels. It feels rather unfinished and lacking a bit of polish in comparison. The narrative is predominantly told via letters from different characters to their friends and family. They are relating events surrounding Lady Susan and her daughter Frederica. Lady Susan is rather a piece of work all told and attempts to manipulate the people around her for her own benefit. It's intriguing to witness this from the perspectives of different characters. An enjoyable quick read in Austen's delightful style.

  27. 5 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    I can't wait to see the movie 'Love and Friendship', based on Lady Susan! It looks fantastic!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mitticus

    «Ya sabes que los retratos de perfección me hacen sentir hastiada y mordaz, pero también encuentro bastante sentido común en lo que dice, y yo particularmente le respeto por desear pensar bien de todas las jovencitas.»--Carta de Jane a su sobrina Fanny Knight, 1817 Nunca pensé que me iba a gustar tanto. Me encantó el personaje de Lady Susan, completamente amoral , que completo paradigma del poder femenino como se permitia en la época. Solamente con el arma de su ingenio en el uso de las palabras «Ya sabes que los retratos de perfección me hacen sentir hastiada y mordaz, pero también encuentro bastante sentido común en lo que dice, y yo particularmente le respeto por desear pensar bien de todas las jovencitas.»--Carta de Jane a su sobrina Fanny Knight, 1817 Nunca pensé que me iba a gustar tanto. Me encantó el personaje de Lady Susan, completamente amoral , que completo paradigma del poder femenino como se permitia en la época. Solamente con el arma de su ingenio en el uso de las palabras y haciendo uso de su belleza y una meta bien determinada prueba su escasa libertad, siempre consciente del que diran y como se verá lo que haga, para salir bien parada viviendo holgadamente y consiguiendo lo que quiere de los hombres. Fascinante. Coquette | Definition of Coquette by Merriam-Webster: a woman who endeavors without sincere affection to gain the attention and admiration of men Resulta extraño que un principio se hable tan levemente de esta coqueta ( What a woman she must be! I long to see her ---Mr. de Courcy ) , por lo cual se deduce que este hecho era parte del juego de la sociedad, parte de la danza de costumbres y de reglas dentro de ciertos límites. Y que se jugaba con ellos, al borde siempre del escándalo, siempre cuchicheando de ello, pero sin llegar a sobrepasarlo. «Esas mujeres que olvidan lo que les conviene y lo que los demás piensan de ellas no tienen justificación.» ---Lady Susan En cuanto a su relación con su hija, demuestra claramente la frustración de esta mujer por no recibir un adecuado apoyo de su hija en su empresa, jaja, literalmente. «Me han llamado mala madre, pero lo que me empujaba a seguir adelante era el sagrado instinto del afecto maternal, el bienestar de mi hija; y si esa hija no fuera la muchacha más bobalicona que existe sobre la faz de la tierra habría podido ver recompensados mis esfuerzos como merecía.» --Lady Susan. Para ella, esto de los matrimonios y enlaces es asunto de empresa, y como tal la muchacha no cumple con las expectativas. Como ya en otras novelas habia expresado numerosas veces esto, desde la perspectiva ejem más virtuosa, es justo ver este experimento que tal vez fue el verlo desde el otro lado. Menos sutil y tremendamente más práctico. Por el otro lado, desde M. Park he encontrado más el tema oscuro entre líneas de tremendos pasados que no se mencionan y que llevan a estos personajes a ésto. Me deja pensando que habrá llevado a Susan a ser como es... un cinismo asi como asi habla de una dificil infancia, a pesar de que asevera en un punto haber sido mimada a tal punto de no conseguir dominio de algun don musical que fuera atrayente. De este modo, también critica la educación preferida a que se sometia a las damas de la época, sobre todo a saber algo, pero no demasiado que eso no era conducente a tener 'amante'. (pretendiente? esposo?) Me sorprendió en esto el uso continuo de la palabra amante y de hacer el amor (enamorar?). Leyendo las versiones en ambos idiomas para salir de la duda, confirmando este hecho. Esta es una de las primeras obras de Austen, solamente tendria unos veinte años segín se calcula, que fue publicada tras su muerte. El epílogo que desentona con el sistema de cartas, y más parece a como cuando un autor termina apresuradamente una conclusión a una obra cuando no tiene tiempo ni ganas de hacerlo como debe, pareciera que fue añadido con bastante posterioridad para contar como hubiera concluido la historia. Viene a ser una de mis favoritas historias de Austern a contar de ahora. Reuní tantas citas del libro que considerenle 'subrayado' entero. El final, que pareciera no más el adecuado a algunos, a mi me encanta: (view spoiler)[The world must judge from probabilities; she had nothing against her but her husband, and her conscience. Jaja, y como sabemos que ella no tiene mucho peso ni por su esposo, James, ni por su conciencia . . . Y eso de que espera que su amiga quede viuda pronto, para seguir cotilleando... imperdible. Humor negro y ácido. Ays, auque el status quo se mantiene con la posibilidad de la hija conquistando al primo, y conservando la fortuna en familia, como se acostumbraba. (hide spoiler)] PD: RETO #9: acerca de un antiheroe o villano ;) Lo olvidaba, las ilustraciones de esta edición son interesantes

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Not Jane Austen at her best, but still glimmers of those things that make her great. A good sense of humor, irony, and a society in which most people are just navigating the facade to try to reach the truth. There is little depth or character development to this story, and the epistolary style doesn't really suit Austen for me. Still "I liked it" pretty much sums it up, so 3-stars.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this excellent audiobook version of Jane Austen's epistolary novel narrated by Harriet Walter, Kim Hicks and Carole Boyd. It's so short that I was able to complete it by listening to it at the gym and then on my way to work and home again in the course of a single day. The novel is very different from Austen's other works. The central character is an anti-heroine: the amoral Lady Susan Vernon, a predatory widow who endeavours to seduce a married man and arrange I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this excellent audiobook version of Jane Austen's epistolary novel narrated by Harriet Walter, Kim Hicks and Carole Boyd. It's so short that I was able to complete it by listening to it at the gym and then on my way to work and home again in the course of a single day. The novel is very different from Austen's other works. The central character is an anti-heroine: the amoral Lady Susan Vernon, a predatory widow who endeavours to seduce a married man and arrange a marriage between her unwilling daughter and a man who is expected to marry another young woman. The light, satirical tone of the prose contrasts with Austen's themes, which include the hypocrisy inherent in social and familial relationships. While there are dark elements in all of Austen's novels, Lady Susan's emotional abuse of her daughter is particularly repellent. This work sat, unread, on my bookshelf for many years in a volume which includes Austen's unfinished novels, The Watsons andSanditon. I'm pleased that I finally got around to it, albeit by listening to the audiobook rather than reading the volume on the shelf. It's a must for Austen completists.

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