Written in the then fashionable style form of letters between the characters in the book, Jane Austen tells the story of the beautiful widow Lady Susan. Lady Susan has an eye toward re-marrying well, and marrying off her teenage daughter. To achieve her objectives, she spins a tale of Victorian humor and manipulation. In the end, she outsmarts even herself.
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."
Jane Austen (1775–1817) was born in Steventon, England, and later moved to Bath. She began to write early for her own and her family's amusement. Her novels, set in her own English countryside, depict the daily lives of provincial middle-class families with wry observation, a delicate irony, and a good-humored wit. She is now considered by many scholars to be the first great woman novelist.
Public Domain (P)2003 Alcazar AudioWorks
This early work by Jane Austen is not to be missed by her fans though it might be overlooked since it typically is not found on lists of her novels.The plot being unfolded in correspondence between the main characters, though a technique common at the time the novel was written, is an interesting literary device for the modern reader.This audio version is notable because it employs a cast of narrators that provide distinctive voices for the authors of each letter.
Unfortunately, the introduction is a spoiler since it reveals aspects of the character of the protagonist and plot elements that would be better left to the reader to discover. I suggest listeners fast forward 1 minute and 25 seconds into the audio book to pick up the narrative with the first letter.
I think it would have been better if the characters had British accents. They still did a good job. The first have was boring. I had to force myself through it. It got better through the second half. Had Jane Austen finished this story I'm sure it would be very interesting and entertaining. Imagining Lady Susan's character in a movie I'm sure would be fun to see.
I love audiobooks so hard!
Another book by Jane Austen - absolutely.
Another book by the narrators - heck no.
The story was great. Jane Austen, is amazing. I feel like I would have enjoyed it more if I read it myself or had better narrators.
When I am going to listen to Jane Austen, I want to feel like I'm in Regency ENGLAND. I don't want American accents. Also, the actors WAY over-acted. It felt silly and inappropriate.
I'm a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom of 3 and a childbirth educator.
Love this early Austen work. I also liked having different actors for the characters. But the performances weren't up to par.
Although I'm a Jane Austen fan, I'd never read "Lady Susan" and I wanted to do so quickly, just before going to see the film 'Love and Friendship," which is based on it. I bought this version because it was the cheapest of the various audible,com versions available! From this point of view, it worked. However, I wouldn't recommend this version for anyone who wants to listen to the book for pleasure and can afford one of the others, because I found the narration very disappointing.
Firstly, as others have pointed out, the reader didn't use an English accent,and I realize, now, that Jane Austen really needs to be read with one! Secondly, as is fairly common knowledge in England, because of the long-popular comedy series 'Dad's Army," the conventional pronunciation of the name "Mainwaring" is actually "Mannering," - but the reader pronounced it as it is written. I found this very off-putting and an indication of a lack of preparation on the part of whoever was responsible for it. Especially since, of course, the name occurs in the book rather frequently. :) More than anything, though, I felt that the narrator didn't really capture the essence of Jane Austen, especially her humour - and, for me, that showed through in the reading itself.
The narrator was competent, and I hate to criticize her, as I'm sure she would be perfectly acceptable as a reader for many other Audible books, but I'm afraid that she didn't really work for Jane Austen.
College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.
this was Austen's first attempt at the novel, and it is something entirely different from her usual playful fun with high society. "Lady" Susan is just plain evil: calculating, mean, totally devote of love and affection for her feckless daughter. Don't worry, the daughter gets the guy in the end!
Saw "Love and Friendship" as a movie and remembered that I'd never read Lady Susan, so I decided to listen to it while doing some sewing. Chose this edition as it had varied voices. Much of the production was high quality: harpsichord interludes and a great voice for the chapter titles, but who the heck chose the readers? All were Americans, and their delivery sounded like seventh graders doing a readers' theater--Lady Susan was especially overdone and gushing. Even an early Austen is subtle and restrained--that's what makes her so wonderful--but the readers missed that nuance completely. The story is entertaining, though pretty skimpy, especially towards the end, but the performance was terrible. Glad I only paid $1.95 for it, or I'd probably return it for a refund.
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