At the tender age of 10, Fanny Price is 'adopted' by her rich relations and is removed from the poverty of her home in Portsmouth to the opulence of Mansfield Park. The transplantation is not a happy one. Dependent, helpless, neglected and forgotten, Fanny struggles to come to terms with her new life until, tested almost to the limits of endurance, she assumes her rightful role....
Public Domain (P)1995 Naxos Audiobooks
"fabric artist and quilter"
I had read this book before but many years ago and like so many others knew Jane Austen from Pride and Prejudice and more from the tv series than reading the book. However, Jane is at her most observational in this book - characters are so real that they are recognisable from people we know today and she is also at her most cynical - the wit is brilliant. Its a fantastic book and Juliet Stevenson is masterly in her narration. If I could have given it six stars I would have done!
Audiobooks have literally changed my life. I now actually ENJOY doing mindless chores because they give me plenty of listening time!
From the many reviews I've read, I know this novel isn't that popular among Jane Austen fans, most finding the heroine Fanny Price to be too much of a wallflower for a lead character. To me it seemed like she was on the contrary a young woman of conviction with a strong moral fiber, who seemed to have more depth than the leading young women in the other two novels I've read by Jane Austen (S&S and P&P), which I found too frothy for my liking. The secondary characters were very entertaining; indeed, their presence was essential in moving the story forward and providing plenty of spice and drama. Excellent performance by Juliet Stevenson, who is one of my favourite narrators.
Avid listener on my daily commute!
This was a surprisingly fun and addictive book, and after about the first 1/3 of the story, once Fanny had grown past her childhood miseries, I ended up looking forward to every opportunity to listen. I say "surprising" because when I read this book years ago during my English-major days, I thought I quite disliked it. Fanny is the Austen heroine most generally looked down upon by readers (even Austen fans) due to her low self-confidence, her physical weakness, and her general (as modern readers often judge it) insipidity. The professor of our Austen seminar described the novel as Austen's most experimental, a kind of Rorschach test in which Fanny serves as a "blank center" around which all other characters swirl, and upon whom they each project their own ideas of what Fanny is, or what she ought to be.
This listen, I came up with a new theory. I think this is Austen's Cinderella story, a cynical and biting portrayal of a plausible (for its time) rags-to-riches tale. And I think Austen fleshes out this story, and makes it so much more than a fairy tale, by incorporating a deep exploration of the theme of the ultimate loneliness of the individual--the way in which no one human being ever fully knows (or, often, even understands the first thing about) another person's mind, urges, motivations, true thoughts or feelings.
For all of you Harry Potter fans out there, an unexpected benefit to reading/listening to this book is that you will finally come to understand why nasty, nosey and insinuating Hogwarts caretaker Filch named his borderline-evil cat "Mrs. Norris."
Juliet Stevenson's more than sublime reading makes this an A+ listen.
If you like Jane Austen you can't do better than Juliet Stevenson. She manages all of the characters' voices, including the men' and the narrator's, providing a dramatic yet sensitive reading catching what we might imagine was Austen's own voice. Each time I listen to one of the books I hear a new line or thread in the narration that I didn't catch before. Love them all.
Well, it's a classic. I love this type of story so it appeals to me right up front. This narrator is the best at this type of story. Just only negative is it's so long and somewhats meanders so much that I almost quit out of boredom but then it would pick up again. Descriptions are wonderful - I like listening to it.
An exceptional narration and abridgement of a classic. But I bought it because of the narrator Juliette Stevenson.....superb.
I actually really enjoyed this book. There are a number of reviews where people harp on the frailty of Fanny Price and her timid nature. While, she is no Elizabeth Bennett... I do think there is something to be said about the true soul of Miss Price. She lives in a world where she has been told again & again that her station was beneath those around her. Wouldn't being sent away from parents and siblings to a world of fashion and elegance where people make sure you know that you are inferior and should be grateful of EVERYTHING could make one want to blend into the background? I think that Henry Crawford starting his attentions just to relieve boredom by making her fall in love with him and then falling in love with her because of her nature and how different it is to those around her. I'm ashamed to say that I watched the 1999 movie before reading the book. I like the relationship with her brother; who is not in the movie at all. But, I prefer that Edmund seems to love Fanny all along in the movie rather then the original story of disappointment in Mary showing him the benefit of Fanny. Still, it's worth the credit.
A well spoken narrator reads this book with the upmost perfection. "A timless classic"
Juliet Stevenson's narration is superb in all the audiobooks I've listened to, but even her skill cannot lift Mansfield Park to the heights of Pride and Prejudice. Fanny Price is a drip! Edmund is a doofus! The story is a treadmill of reiteration! But if you feel compelled to read Mansfield Park anyway, this edition is the best I've heard. For those not familiar with Jane Austen's works I recommend Northanger Abbey. It's goofy on purpose.
This is fast becoming my favorite audiobook of all time. I tend to pick books based as much on the narrator as the book, since I do enjoy reading quite a lot as well. Stevenson reads all the voices so wonderfully and distinctly. She is a joy. Her Mrs. Norris makes my blood run cold.
I am a huge Austen fan and have read the big six novels many, many times. I will defend Fanny Price to my last breath.
She has a wonderful sense of the characters and she understands English accents and class differences: Tom Bertram's Bertie Wooster-esque slang and bravado, Mr. Rushworth's slow, insipid manner, Mary Crawford's arch, seductive voice. It's all so well done. I've listened to it twice now and I am sure it will get dragged out again for long car trips, etc.
One of my favorite moments in the book is the scene between Fanny Price and Sir Thomas in the East Room where he notices that she doesn't have a fire. It always gets me and Stevenson does such a marvelous job with it, using a light touch.
I highly recommend the novel and this reading of it.
"Julliet Stevenson Narrating at her best"
Brilliant a joy to listen too, the characters are portraied so well, I could listen to it over and over again
"Juliet Stevenson narrates beautifully!"
This was my first audiobook after being introduced to audible, and I was not disappointed. Juliet Stevenson reads wonderfully well, and clearly distinguishes between characters. It really brought the book to life. This is not my favourite Austen, as I find the protagonist Fanny Price, a little annoying, but the usual wit and genius shines through nonetheless.
"Better than some more expensive versions"
I would recommend this very highly. Jane Austen's characterisation and dialogue are, as always, brilliant, and seem to be particularly effective when read aloud.Since reading circles were a common social activity in J.A.'s time, perhaps she intended this. Juliet Stevenson does full justice to the text. She uses different voices for different characters, which bring out their character beautifully, yet sound quite natural. I am pleasantly surprised, because this is one of the cheapest versions of Mansfield Park, and yet it must be one of the best (I haven't tried the others, but other people's reviews seem to indicate some are not as good).
Just as good as Jane Austen's other novels.
Lady Bertram -I can just picture her laid out on the chaise longue,so outrageously self-absorbed and indolent that she becomes comic..
Yes, but I rationed myself, so I would have it to look forward to.
"Sparkling wit at its best!"
Ah, the wit and wonder of Jane Austen is second to none - many an acerbic observation made me gasp or laugh out loud throughout this, one of my favourite of her books. I think Fanny Price is such a gentle natured girl that she may be in danger of getting overlooked as one of Austen's main characters most deserving of attention. She is full of both sense and sensitivity and is rather lovely to spend time with! The other characters are flawed and very human indeed, with foibles a plenty and scandals abounding. Plenty of opportunity for Austen to get out her claws and hold her mirror up to society. Things have changed since, the scandals may seem tame but the hurts they would cause would still be far reaching even if the consequences very different now. The ending still makes me smile and sigh with relief (trying not to spoil things for future readers too much!) and it is over all too quickly.
Juliet Stevenson's reading of the audio book is excellent with some brilliant voices for the different characters, she certainly sounded like she was having a lot of fun as she was reading it!
"Wonderful story, very well read"
I love all the Jane Austen books but Mansfield park took me longer to warm to. I first read it at 16 at which time I felt Fanny Price to be very dull. However, age and rereading the book several times have made me love it more. Fanny is a little moralising but is very affectionate, self-deprecating and patient and her romance is much more of a show burn than many of the other heroines of Austenland (though perhaps Emma's is as late to arrive).
Juliet Stevenson's narration is a joy to listen to. I had a version of Mansfield Park read by someone else but after listening to Ms Stevensons narration of Persuasion I rebought all the Austen books which she has narrated (being all the completed works other than price and prejudice) and I must have listened to them all 5 or 6 times over the last 10 years. she really brings alive the characters, no mean feat when you think of how different the austen heroines are.
"Enjoy it more each time!"
I'm a big Jane Austen fan but sometimes thought this story a bit dull, but this time through, I couldn't put it down! (As it were.) I listen to audio books to help me sleep at night but I became engrossed in the detail of the characters and didn't want to miss the slightest nuance! Juliet Stevenson really does an excellent job of bringing out the full meaning of every sentence, every subtle humorous remark, and characterises the voices of different characters in an engaging way. Several of them have quite strident voices, so again it was hard to doze off!
I recently attended a talk on how Austen's novels relate so well to our modern day life, and the professor giving the lecture considers this her finest novel! I was so pleased it was the one I was currently immersed in. Such a pity she only wrote six novels, but you can tell she spent years refining each one. Human nature so perfectly observed.
"Some parts drag on too much"
Yes, It is a great reminder of the way society was structured and of how people belonged within a social class and were bound by the rules of that class. It also feels like the characters enjoyed a more gentle pace of life and it is relaxing to listen to and easy to become immersed in a simpler time.
I did feel that some parts were too drawn out whilst other parts, with more interesting events, were rushed. I also felt that the main character was being described as too perfect in a 'tongue in cheek' style in the end. It is as if the book had been returned to and finished at a later date with the addition of some extra twists and turns to add something to it.
Other Jane Austin books. Anthony Trollope is the same era and social commentary. Middlemarch by George Eliot is also the same style of writing but is, in my opinion, better.
No, by the time it got to the end I was finding the lead characters, for whom I should have been happy, very annoying.
"A reluctant Janeite not reluctant any more."
I was what you might call a reluctant Janeite. I suspect there are a lot of us out there, especially among us men. From being force-fed ‘Emma’ in sixth-form I was in denial - I recognised the writer’s quality without properly seeing that her stories are more than just tales of closed societies of young idle people wasting their time before being married off. I’ve begun to see to what extent I was wrong, and Mansfield Park has helped greatly with that process.
Even some quite ardent lovers of Jane Austen have trouble with Mansfield Park, or, more particularly, they have trouble with Fanny Price. She’s not “feisty”; she lacks heroic quality; she’s weak. Broadly, she commits the sin of not being Elizabeth Bennett. These criticisms are true as far as they go, but here’s the thing: the book tells us exactly why and how she’s all this, how she copes with and ultimately overcomes her troubled upbringing and ends the book as a fully-rounded & admirable person.
Here’s a girl, less than healthy, certainly neglected and conceivably abused at home, taken as an act of charity from her parents and placed in a high-class environment already packed with well-to-do, self-assured older children and adults who, with one exception, treat her with anything raging from condescension to disdain to simple ignoring, so that she almost always feels she is only at Mansfield Park on sufferance. Should she ever show “ingratitude” or independence of spirit, there is Mrs Norris to tell her how lucky she is to be among such superior society at all. If at any time she receives what seems to be preferential treatment there is always someone to remind her of her lowly status. The only adult who appreciates her is too idle and self-absorbed to be any help, and the only one of the children who supports her becomes neglectful when he falls in love. Is it any wonder that Fanny is less than self-confident?
The story of the book for me is how she acquires her inner strength: as others fail and show their feet of clay she consistently increases in power without ever losing that essential eighteenth and nineteenth century attribute, modesty. And this rise comes organically and feels true, and through this I cannot be one of the anti-Fanny crowd.
For me any weakness in the book comes late. The inevitable marriage feels contrived and even possibly objectionable: maybe another outcome would have been too difficult to pull off without upsetting conservative readers, but this somewhat bolted-on happy ending, while it doesn’t spoil a marvellous book, feels unwanted.
This is a copy of my Goodreads review. I only need to add here that it is read superbly. Oh and that Edmund is what PG Wodehouse would call "a pill"!
"Very wordy and a little predictable"
Well narrated but a long drawn out book without the content to be gripping enough. Excellent exploration of characters but predictable.
i loved the story and fell in love with it over and over again. Brought back great memories.
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