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3.00014096419509 out of 53.00014096419509 out of 53.00014096419509 out of 53.00014096419509 out of 53.00014096419509 out of 5 3.00 (7,094 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jane Austen Narrator: A Full Cast Publisher: Alcazar AudioWorks Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2006 ISBN: 9781455182114
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Jane Austen’s earliest known serious work, Lady Susan is a short, epistolary novel that portrays a woman bent on the exercise of her own powerful mind and personality to the point of social self-destruction.

Lady Susan, a clever and ruthless widow, determines that her daughter is going to marry a man whom both detest. She sets her own sights on her sister-in-law’s brother, all the while keeping an old affair simmering on the back burner.

But people refuse to play the roles assigned them. In the end, her daughter gets the sister-in-law’s brother, the old affair runs out of steam, and all that is left for Lady Susan is the man intended for her daughter, whom neither can abide.

Told through a series of letters between the characters, the work concludes abruptly with the comment: “this correspondence…could not, to the great detriment of the Post Office revenue, be continued any longer.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Lady Susan’s character is more extreme than we expecte from Jane Austen...Here Jane Austen is showing us the mind of a ‘wicked woman’ in action, from within, an exercise which she was not to attempt again. She was to attempt folly and frivolity and immorality, but never so directly did she attempt to portray vice. Lady Susan, with her...cruelty to her daughter and her ruthless selfishness, is unique in [Austen’] work.”

    Margaret Drabble

  • Lady Susan is a strange work, psychologically speaking, in part because its youthful author seems undecided about whose side she is really on...to be sure, Lady Susan is a villain...But she is also a survivor, a woman who refuses to be a passive victim...Lady Susan continues to excite interest for just this reason.”

    Terry Castle, literary scholar and professor

  • “[Lady Susan] stands alone in Austen’s work as a study of an adult woman whose intelligence and force of character are greater than those of anyone she encounters, and who knows herself to be wasted on the dull world in which she is obliged to love.”

    Claire Tomalin, literary biographer and journalist

  • Lady Susan, the herione of anti-heroine, inhabits a world in which men control propery and woman must make property of men. A female rake, she is a handsome egotistical widow who enjoys her own energetic duplicity, her sexual allure and above all her manipulative eloquence.”

    The Cambridge Compaion to Jane Austen

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie | 2/15/2014

    " How bad is my memory? I think I read this.... Will have to re-read! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carmen | 2/14/2014

    " It's amazing that Austen could conceive a story with a plot so well-developed and fluidly progressed and characters so plausible and interesting with just a bunch of letters. This novella offers an insight into Austen's wonderful writing talent before the publications of her later famous works. It is a pity that she could not delight the world with another great work she was working on - Sandition. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lyd Stew | 2/14/2014

    " Austen, as always, has such a way of getting into the minds of people and describing them, even through letter correspondence, as in this book. I did, however, feel that Lady Susan character seemed a bit unrealistic and exaggerated. I actually didn't think it would hold my attention in the beginning, but I still found it interesting. Lots of holes and an unfinished work, but still a fun read and very much in her style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angie | 2/12/2014

    " I like seeing the writing of Austen at such an early age more than the story. Very interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jaime | 2/8/2014

    " A beautiful little collection of minor and unfinished works by Jane. It's fun to see how she tried to play with different ways of writing. And also nice to know she settled on a slightly different way of writing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy Louise | 2/5/2014

    " What I wouldn't give to read the ending of "The Watsons"... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vibina Venugopal | 2/5/2014

    " Lady Susan is a short story or a novel and one of the less acclaimed works of Austen..Though it was published posthumously , it was written before the prime of her career...Before reading her letters I thought of giving a try to this...This book is an old version of gossip girl series...This work is unique because of the protagonist Lady Susan, young widow in her mid thirties, she is involved with a married man, yet plotting her way to marry yet another young man manipulating and seducing him with her beauty, charm..She is also on the hunt for finding a suitable boy for her daughter Fredrica who would soon be off marriageable age..She is ready to get her married against her will without real love from her side..Lady Susan got me interested by her way of flirting with wealthy young man, and her feeling of despise and hatred towards her own daughter...She is selfish, egotistic, overbearing, proud, scornful yet honesty flaunts them without any guilt or second thoughts...Reignald De Courcy is lady Susan's new kill who is unable to see through Lady Susan and her real character..Catherine Vernon Lady Susan's sister in-law is all set to save her brother Reignald from Susan..But in between Lady Susan has to compete with her daughter to marry Reignald..Catherine is also determined to save Fredrica from her oppressive mother..The story revolves as an exchange of letters between all these characters and many other additional to the above, and it took me some time to get the hang of it..But after awhile the story went about Lady Susan and Alicia Johnson with whom Lady Susan confides all her secrets..Mrs Johnson is like the other side of the coin who enjoys the plots and Lady Susan's plan.. The novel was an interesting read for me , unlike Austen's other Protagonist Lady Susan didn't come across as a loveable character, yet she appealed with her self assertion...I also liked the oppressed character of Fredrica who is portrayed in all innocence...Catherine who dislikes Susan is all set to save Reginald from her falseness, she eventually writes letters to her mother, Reignald and letters travel back and forth...The handsome , warm, kind Reignald looked dumb most often..This book is a must read for all Austen fan, others might skip or give it a try for the sake of curiosity "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charlotte | 2/4/2014

    " I enjoyed this short, but engaging story of Jane Austen. Lady Susan is devious, sassy and thoroughly unlikable! Quite a change from the more typical, respectable characters you expect from Austen. I enjoyed the style of writing, making it stand out somewhat from her other novels. The height of the scandal reached through Lady Susan's character is only truely felt when you consider how things play out in her other works, for example Lydia & Wickam in Pride and Prejudice. I'm not sure this novel fully displays how deplorable 'good' society would have found Susan's behaviour. She really is a menace! The only issue I had with the book was the rather sudden ending. I am sure a fuller ending could have been given with further letter passing too and fro like before. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 1/28/2014

    " I did enjoy reading it, but Lady Susan is so very unlikable. As she's supposed to be, yes. Excellently crafted, I just prefer reading books about people I can root for. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 ♥Tiffany♥ | 1/27/2014

    " Lady Susan was interesting. The letter writing was an interesting way of writing this book. I did however at first find it hard to keep everyone straight. I enjoyed it and all but it was short. I didn't get enough to fall in love with the characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julia | 1/23/2014

    " As I was scrambling through my suburb's pathetic collection of literature on the look out for slim 19th century novels I happened upon this piece that I absolutely never knew existed. I'm rather fond of stories written with a twist so I really took to the correspondence style of the novel. I also enjoyed the scandelous and proud manipulator that was Lady Susan. Though much too short and rather lacking a riveting plot line, I did enjoy this one day sit-down as it gave me a better understanding of the scope of Jane Austen's literary abilities. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 SixBeforeLunch | 1/23/2014

    " Read more for the sake of being complete with respect to Austen's major works than anything else. I liked it well enough. It definitely has an 18th century feel as opposed to Austen's more refined Regency novels. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tanisha Peck | 1/21/2014

    " Susan is a very manipulative and heartless creature. I was amazed at the details and thought process that Jane Austen portrayed. She definitely had a vivid imagination. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 1/20/2014

    " read it on Kindle so this may be cheating. I liked it. Short and fairly entertaining. It does show Austin's handling of character since you go by the letters what and who the person is. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mari Edwards | 1/16/2014

    " The style of writing made it more difficult to get into than Austen's other books. The main character was an atrocious mother sheesh! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 1/16/2014

    " read it on Kindle so this may be cheating. I liked it. Short and fairly entertaining. It does show Austin's handling of character since you go by the letters what and who the person is. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Helen | 1/15/2014

    " Had never read this before and had high expectations, but it's all a bit 'desperately seeking.... Certainly not one of her best. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marie Bouteille | 1/15/2014

    " Such a shame she never got to finish them "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maria Kinsley | 1/14/2014

    " I've read Lady Susan and Sandition but have not read The Watsons before, I guess because it is unfinished and I thought that would be a tease and leave me feeling unsettled. Well, it did, but it was delightful and I'm glad to finally have caught up with it. A shame it was never finished but glad to have as much of it as she finished. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Noel | 1/9/2014

    " an entire story told through letters between the characters. i loved it!! wished it could have been longer. maybe i'll write a book like this :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracey | 1/8/2014

    " Lady Susan is so despicable, it's hard to like the book much. It was interesting to see JA use the epistolary form throughout, though, since she has lots of letters in her other books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jessica | 1/6/2014

    " i enjoyed this; stars off for the abrupt ending. The characters were a bit underdeveloped as well, possibly because the epistle format. But I was charmed :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Staci Roberts | 1/6/2014

    " Lady Susan is such a jerk! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Amanda | 1/5/2014

    " It was definitely good writing, just not my style of story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jill | 1/5/2014

    " I found Lady Susan to be quite entertaining! It's definitely a must-read if you are an Austen fan. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rebecca | 1/5/2014

    " Let's face it, I love everything the woman wrote. These are three books Austen never finished. But the main plots are there and I still enjoyed them. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Emily | 1/4/2014

    " It was interesting to imagine how Jane Austen would have ended these short little pieces. Would they have been as good as Pride and Prejudice or Emma? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Barbara Mcdonald | 12/25/2013

    " A charming book detailing the duplicitous behaviour of a self serving and self centred woman. One cannot feel any sentiment for her at any time and yet she provides great entertainment. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Becca | 11/13/2013

    " This was a very quick read. It's a series of letters among family/friends. I didn't like it at first, but it started to grow on me by the 5th of 6th letter. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Megan | 11/6/2013

    " I can't give these short stories the full 5 stars because the Watsons and Sandition were never finished. A little frustrating not to know how she planned to end them, but if you love Jane Austen, then you have to read these too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara Russo | 11/5/2013

    " I actually started this Christmas week, but put it away until today. It's a very short book but packs a wallop. Lady Susan is a force to be reckoned with; vain, critical, and extremely manipulative. A delicious read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jill | 11/3/2013

    " The Watsons and Sanditon leave you wanting more, which might not be worth it - it makes you sad that Jane had so much left to give that we missed. But Lady Susan is totally worth the read (hence an average of 3 stars). This epistolary story is hilarious and wonderful. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Liz | 11/1/2013

    " Now I feel the need to re-read The House of Mirth. Jane Austen Fight Club: Lady Susan vs. Lily Bart? "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Vickie | 7/29/2013

    " Very short just ok JA book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise Merritt | 7/16/2013

    " A very different Jane Austen! The female is the disrespectful character! I also liked the way it was written -- as a series of letters; fun! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth Coult | 6/22/2013

    " These three short, incomplete stories of Jane Austen's were fantastic to read. I found them to be a nice little glimpse into the writing process of a literary genius. The three stories in themselves are quite charming, and it's a shame that they were never completed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Farrah | 6/15/2013

    " Very Jane Austen! As usual, Jane Austen has entertained me immensely, and in just a few letters no less. Its a very quick read for anyone who might be searching for a comedy. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Claudia | 5/24/2013

    " Lady Susan is a conniving vamp and seductress! Her story is told through letters written by various characters. Not my favorite Austen novel but worth the read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kat | 4/30/2013

    " It's Pride and Prejudice in letter form involving a character like Miss. Bingley who is like Mr. Darcy meets Elizabeth Bennett. I love Jane Austen. A must read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mell | 4/19/2013

    " This is going back on my to-read shelf. The Pgh Jane Austen group is starting "neighborhood" reading groups, and I am heading up the North area. I have only read these fragments once, but look forward to another reading and some lively discussion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristen | 3/24/2013

    " This is what you read when you've read everything else by Jane Austen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 DC | 3/16/2013

    " Read as part of Sanditon and Other Stories. My favorite part of this volume. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jami | 3/1/2013

    " Where's the end? I think someone just got sick of the epistolary style and called it a day. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Micah | 1/30/2013

    " As always, Miss Austen never fails to entertain. I liked the letter format as something different. Also, the fact that it was a women who behaved beastly was a fun change. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elise | 11/27/2012

    " This was very interesting, I read it a while ago so I can't remember much but I do remember being disappointed at its length - of course, I think that of every Jane Austen book; although this one was uncommonly short. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vic | 11/25/2012

    " I am currently listening to Lady Susan on my Ipod. The librivox recording is pretty good, not great, but the story gets better the more you "read" it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Traci Shipley | 11/7/2012

    " Not one of Jane's best. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marsha | 10/5/2012

    " Clever Austen...this book is written in the form of letters...like BJD. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sunduri | 9/28/2012

    " It pays to be a selfish woman. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Fisher | 9/11/2012

    " Short, weird, quick read. Entertaining but simple... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nikkie | 7/10/2012

    " Wow! What an interesting picture this collection of letters creates. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tressa (Tressa's Wishful Endings) | 7/7/2012

    " Not my favorite Jane Austen, but still worth the read. The characters are quite humorous, although I somewhat detest Lady Susan. This was a very quick and light read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Vickie | 6/3/2012

    " Very short just ok JA book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carey | 3/16/2012

    " I had no clue this Jane Austen piece even exsisted!? and it was weird. :( "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 James | 3/14/2012

    " When you have read and reread Jane Austen - and she is endlessly rereadable - then try these: Lady Susan is wicked fun, The Watsons syrprisingly low-key and melancholy but all the more interesting for that, and Sanditon, a novel that promised an entirely new approach. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Madelyne | 2/4/2012

    " Jane Austen's ability to write about a character so indifferent to the feelings of those around her is quite remarkable. While making a character so cruel, she also made me utterly despise Lady Susan and she ended the book on a relatively happy note. Lady Susan was a great read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah Sammis | 2/2/2012

    " Lady Susan is a cougar. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gerry LaFemina | 12/14/2011

    " I'm not an Austen fan--I admit, but this one I enjoyed well enough, though the ending was unsatisfying. The novel in letters is an interesting form, I'll give it that. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Alexa Price | 12/12/2011

    " It was a nice short read and it seemed like the plot was getting really complicated, but then had an abrupt conclusion. Lady Susan is a pyscho! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kerri | 11/22/2011

    " Too bad these stories never got finished - they had great potential. They are a must-read for any fan of Austen. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sapna | 10/28/2011

    " This is classic Jane Austen--whose writing I find amusing. This short story is similar to Emma, written is letters, during a period in time where it seems as if women had nothing better to do than figure out how to land their next rich man. Quick & funny read in true Austen fashion. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kayleen Pemberton | 9/30/2011

    " Meh. It was ok. It took me a while to get into the flow of the story since it is written as a series of letters. About halfway in I wanted to finish it faster. But I did not get the ending I hoped for. Lady Susan is appalling. That's all I'll say. :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tanzila | 7/15/2011

    " I hated Lady Susan (the character, not the book), loved The Watsons, I wish it was finished and I didn't really like Sanditon. (I can't review books very well.) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Charity | 6/9/2011

    " A nice collection of Jane Austen's unfinished/unpublished works. Always lovely to curl up with Austen. The introduction by Margaret Drabble was very enlightening and added a lot to my enjoyment of the text. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Farrah | 5/1/2011

    " Very Jane Austen! As usual, Jane Austen has entertained me immensely, and in just a few letters no less. Its a very quick read for anyone who might be searching for a comedy. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Alissa | 4/19/2011

    " I didn't like the plot so much, but it was cool because the entire story was told in letters written by the characters in the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 4/8/2011

    " I love Jane Austen! It was nice to find a writing that was new to me. Very interesting style being written in letter form. I could easily see this as a fun movie production. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shellie | 4/2/2011

    " This is the ultimate collection for any Jane Austin fan. It is gorgeous and look amazing on the shelf!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cristiana | 3/8/2011

    " Love the novels, but this collection of Austen's works was so big and heavy that I found it awkward to read. I donated it to the library. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Telisha | 3/5/2011

    " Amazing book set, beautiful and well bound. Love having them all together in one compilation and what a set!
    Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors of all time! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kereesa | 3/2/2011

    " An excellent collection, though lacking Austen's unfinished and unpublished work, it nevertheless beautifully presents all of her novels in a nice form. For details on individual novels, please see their respective reviews. 5/5 "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ryver | 2/25/2011

    " I've read Pride & Prejudice and am now reading Sense & Sensibility. Along with reading these books, I am also collecting 2 versions each of the films. I enjoy them that much. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Elle | 2/20/2011

    " I absolutely adore Jane Austen, I have read this entire book at least 20 times. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 David | 2/15/2011

    " Highly impractical pocket for seven must-reads that deserve nice linen bindings.. At the time of publishing, e-books were not yet available. Nowadays, choose those to save on your holiday luggage.. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Megan | 2/4/2011

    " bought it at a Spiritualist fete for £1. For all of her books, not a bad price. Unfortunately, it's also about a bazillion pages which makes it difficult to hold, and the font is awfully tiny. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rosie | 1/16/2011

    " The best collection of books! Whatever mood you are in,t here is an Austen novel to compliment! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Esther | 1/12/2011

    " Jane Austen's works all in one edition. It can't get much better than this. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Frances | 1/8/2011

    " I love Jane Austen. This is one of the few I keep on my shelf to re-read when I'm in the mood "

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