This story is about Fanny Price who is born to a poor family, but is sent to her mother's rich relations to be brought up with her cousins. There she is treated as an inferior by all except her cousin Edmund, whose kindness towards her earns him her steadfast love.
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Self indulgent, long and boring
If this book had been written by someone other than Miss Austen it would have been out of print long ago. The language in the book is so precise it could be a legal document, except a legal document probably has more drama and tension. The nature of and the relationship and tensions between the characters are developed in the interminable first half of this book. But, frankly, it's boring. The story cries out for a comedy cockney.
It concerns three sisters. One marries into money and has four children. One marries a poor vicar who dies, leaving her a childless widow. The third marries a poor soldier and has ten children. The rich family adopt Fanny, the eldest girl of the ten, as an act of charity. We are introduced to the characters in the first half of the book where Miss Austen indulges herself with a series of essays disguised as conversations concerning the church, the clergy, weddings, young ladies coming out into society, house designs and garden designs. Then there are the chapters concerning whether the family should put on a play, while the father is away on business, for their own amusement (if not for ours), which play, who gets which part and so on until you want to scream "get on with it!" Thankfully the beknighted father arrives back from the West Indies and the play is abandoned. But by this time the eldest daughter, who is betrothed to an upper class twit, is besotted with a friend of a friend. Fanny receives a proposal from a man she loves not and so we have lengthy discussions about why she should or shouldn't wed.
Nothing of great consequence happens until the last 50 pages and even that scandal is analysed to death. It all turns out exactly as expected.
This is a brilliant, fascinating, in depth study of people of the time...how it really was. Jane Austin's insight into the human mind and all their intricate emotions is incredible. A time before refrigerators, health care, radio, telephone, motor cars, television or computers...what DID they do to amuse themselves and conduct their lives whether rich or poor. It is all here in this brilliant story. Jane Austin's ability to make you feel what her characters feel, to see as they do, is immense.
In the early pages I struggled to keep up with 'who's who' with her many characters, but before long everyone had their place and I was skipping from family to family knowing each person like a friend. I loved it !!
This was my first reading of Mansfield Park, I didn't want it to end. I know I will be reading it again, it is wonderful !
Worst Jane Austen novel
No connection with heroine. Found myself bored and irritated.