Mini review for Lady Susan by Jane Austen

Lady Susan is a novel written in letters. Austen develops her plot through the exploits described in correspondence between family and friends. Lady Susan is a huge flirt that likes to set goals of conquest and follow them through. The reader finds out that Lady Susan’s husband has passed away and she is planning on visiting her brother in law while she works through her grieving process. Her sister in law is not thrilled by this announcement. In a letter from her brother, the sister in law, Catherine finds out that Susan was involved in the destruction of the marriage of the family she was staying with in London. She also ended the prospective relationship between a young man and the family’s daughter in order to ensure that Susan’s own daughter would end up with that man. While Lady Susan is at her brother in law’s home, she does her best to weasel her way into the family. She begins a new conquest of Catherine’s brother and further forces her daughter towards marriage. Lady Susan is not ashamed of her behavior. She boasts of her accomplishments and welcomes as many challenges as she can get. As conflicts grown between Catherine, Susan, and Susan’s daughter, Lady Susan’s plots begin to unravel. The only question is if the flirtatious woman can end up on top or if she struggles to keep her dignity in the end.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a very quick read and Austen’s wit is uncanny. Lady Susan is both a hero and a villain. There are times that I root for her to succeed, yet I know that she should not behave in the way that she does. The unraveling of the plot through letters was executed flawlessly. Austen is always a pleasure to read, and her shorter pieces are perfect for those that are slightly frightened by lengthier novels. (****)

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