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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"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"
Vibina (4 out of 5 stars)