Fanny soon falls in love with him, but Edmund is, unfortunately, drawn to the shallow and worldly Mary Crawford. Fanny's quiet humility, steadfast loyalty, and natural goodness are matched against the wit and brilliance of her lovely rival. The tension is heightened when Henry Crawford, Mary's equally sophisticated and flirtatious brother, takes an interest in Fanny.
Jane Austen's subtle, satiric novel skillfully uses her characters' emotional relationships to explore the social and moral values by which they attempt to order their lives.
(P)1994 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
"Listeners...will be rewarded with Austen's brilliant commentary on the society of her day and by Johanna Ward's solid reading....this is a lively and interesting choice for admirers of Jane Austen." (AudioFile)
The narrator has a soothing British accent but does not change her voice for any of the characters. For 16 hours I've listened to her read this book and have been straining to figure out which character is talking at any given time. My favorite Jane Austen narrator is Juliet Stevenson who does a marvelous job at giving different voices to each of the characters, thereby really bringing the book to life. I wish this narrator were more like her. If she had narrated the unabridged Mansfield Park, I would have chosen that one.
This book is entertaining, if a little cliched and expected. The narrator is great. The story is, well, Austen. The plot revolves around marriage, money, manners, and morality. One character in the book serves as an unwitting moral compass around which the other characters revolve and, quite frankly, it is easy to get tired of this character's prudence while all the while rooting for her success. Much of the moral musings--while true to the time--are outdated and oppressive. Still, the book is enjoyable. Austen is not, however, at the literary level of a Wharton or Eliot, two others whom I have been reading so much of that perhaps this review is a little unfair in its comparison.
I've read only 4 by Jane Austen. I've liked 3. This story is very tedious and quite predictable. I dwelled forever on the choosing and practice of a play that never occured. The characters seemed flat - totally upright and intelligent or completely without morals. The story is filled with redundancies. I'd recommend the abridged version of this one - know the plot line and move on. Narration was also not as good as Juliet Stevensen (spelling?) I would often get confused as to who was speaking. Main character, Fannie, sounded like she had a head cold.
Johanna Ward did a wonderful job narrating Mansfield Park. My understanding and enjoyment of the book and its characters is much improved. The spoken word carries meanings which written words don't quite convey. This is an ambitious work. Miss Austen was reacting to the perceived notion that P&P was too light. To enhance the enjoyment of this book, go to Project Gutenberg and download Mrs. Elizabeth Inchbald's Lover's Vows. At the very least, read acts III and IV. I don't see how one can fully understand the book without reading this play.
I was struck with how often Miss Austen used the girl rejects handsome (and occasionally) rich man device and thereby fixing his attentions on the girl. It has the advantage of distinguishing her from her fellow single sisters. In Mansfield Park, Fanny Price rejects Henry Crawford; P&P, Elizabeth Bennet rejects Fitzwilliam Darcy; P, Anne Elliot rejects Capt Wentworth and appears as the willing love object of Mr. Elliot; E, Emma Woodhouse flirted indiscreetly with Frank Churchill and didn't even recognize Mr. George Knightley as a potential suitor until it appeared that another was about to carry him off; S&S, Edmund felt rejected by Elinor Dashwood when it appeared that Col. Brandon was a favored suitor and of course, Marianne had eyes only for Willoughby and regarded Col Brandon as little more than a flannel waistcoat; the only exception is Catherine Morland who in Northanger Abbey fell head over heels in love with Henry Tillme almost from the first moment. As Jane Austen would have it, what man can resist a moderately good looking woman with good sense, who is passionately in love with him? In the former case, a Fanny Price or Elizabeth Bennet raised her value by being harder to obtain. In both instances, the rejected men are confounded. They were used to the Julia & Maria Berthams, Miss Bingleys or the Miss Musgroves. Rejection was a new and unpleasant experience and must be overcome.
I read science fiction and fantasy, but I also like literary fiction, the classics, the occasional mystery/thriller, and non-fiction.
I have generally enjoyed my excursions into Austen-land, but if Austen were a modern writer, I'd call this book a sophomore slump. It was her third, and much of the plot and character interactions were very derivative of Pride and Prejudice but without that book's humor or sting.
Fanny Price is one of a brood of children, and her mother sends her to live with wealthy relatives to relieve her own family of some of the burden. Fanny thus grows up as the "poor cousin" in a wealthy house, generally not ill-treated but she is constantly condescended to and slighted. The result is that Fanny is a shy, blushing, ridiculously self-depreciating creature whom I found hard to like, though we're obviously meant to. I should say, as a person I would certainly like the poor sweet, modest girl, but as a character she mostly bites her tongue and tries to be as good as possible while never, ever saying anything that might make anyone else unhappy, even the jerk playboy who decides he wants to marry her without regard for her feelings on the subject.
Naturally, there is another man easily identified as Fanny's One True Love, though while the reader knows who Fanny will marry by the end of the first chapter (even if you've never read Austen before), neither of them realizes it until nearly the last chapter.
Very Austenian, but almost generic Austen, if one can say that about such a famous author who only ever wrote six books. To be quite honest, Austen's lovely style and occasionally amusing bits of dialog were all that carried me through this book, particularly some long tedious middle parts. I wanted to love you more, Mansfield Park, but I can only give you 3.5 stars, and half a star is charity.
I found the reading by Johanna Ward to be quite adequate, but I've listened to two other audiobooks by Jane Austen, one narrated by Lindsay Duncan, the other by Juliet Stevenson, and I would have to say I preferred their readings, as they put more energy and personality into their readings, and Mansfield Park really needs some energy to keep you awake.
Fabulous job by a great narrator. Of Jane Austen's books, this one does tend to drag a bit when reading it, but the narrator pulls the story along, and makes it enjoyable. In particular, she really gets under the skin of Mary Crawford. Highly recommended.
I haven't finished the book and hardly think that I will. Am writing this to let others know to be careful in choosing this audiobook.
The narrator is a little better than adequate for a professional narrator - there is often very little difference in voices of characters. However, that is not why my mind wandered so often while listening. It is so extremely verbose without much action going on in the story. Characters talk endlessly at each other, in a way, that I would describe as genteely and politely argumentative, on and on and on. Most of the characters are set up quickly and early in the story and then it's just their mundane long winded conversations of little or no consequance. Take into account that I've not finished the book, but there is nothing that I've listened to or know about the overall story that makes me think the remainder of the book will be much less tiresome than what I've listened to so far.
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