Friday, October 16, 2009

Lady Susan by Jane Austen

I read Lady Susan as part of the wonderful Soiree held by Laurel Ann on Austenprose last month. I am a bit late in finally posting my review.

The first and only time I read Lady Susan was as a teenager. It was very nice to read it again. I didn’t remember much of the plot so it was like reading a brand new Jane Austen novel, which is always a good experience!

This is a very early Austen work that is written in epistolary form. Lady Susan Vernon is “the most accomplished coquette in England.” She is a beautiful widow that is able to wrap men around her fingers seemingly at whim. She writes wonderful letters to her brother and sister in law, but we learn what she is truly feeling through her catty letters to her best friend Alicia. After a scandal, Lady Susan visits her in-laws and attempts to seduce her sister-in-law’s brother, Reginald. Although Reginald starts off being against her, Lady Susan soon has him under her spell. Unfortunately her daughter Frederica runs away from her school in London, and it is discovered by Reginald and her in-laws that Lady Susan is trying to force her daughter into marriage with a very dull man that Frederica does not love. Will Frederica be forced into marriage? Will Reginald discover Lady Susan’s true nature? You will have to read the book to discover the answers for yourself.

I enjoyed the novella immensely and my understanding and enjoyment were enhanced by being a part of the Soiree. While not as polished as her later novels, Lady Susan shows Austen’s wit and has many fine quotes. Here are just a few fine examples:

“Where pride and stupidity unite there can be no dissimulation worthy notice.” Reginald De Courcy

“Education will gain a woman some applause, but will not add one lover to her list–grace and manner, after all, are of the greatest importance.” Lady Susan

“I have never yet found that the advice of a sister could prevent a young man’s being in love if he chose.” Lady Susan

I was very excited to win Lady Vernon and Her Daughter by Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway from Laurel Ann at Austenprose. I can’t wait to read more about Lady Susan and Frederica.

Lady Susan is item number 11 in my Everything Austen Challenge list and item number 4 for my Classics Challenge list.

Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library


  1. I really need (and want) to read this book since I plan to read Lady Vernon at some point. I've really enjoyed what Austen I've read so far. Thanks for your review.

  2. This is the only Austen I've never read. I had no idea what it was about, other than it was one of her very first. Sounds like classic Austen. Great thoughts on this one!

  3. Lady Susan seems like an interesting character. It sounds as if the book would be quite enjoyable, as I usually like books which are comprised of letters. Thanks for your review, Laura.

  4. I haven't read this one yet. But it's on my list. Great review!

  5. I have this in the tbr pile. If I end up doing the read-a-thon, this one's going in the pile for that.

  6. I've just recently read my first two Austen books and hadn't heard of this one before your review. Sounds fun :)

  7. This was the first Austen work I ever read. I enjoyed the writing, especially the dialogue, so much that I thought, "There just may be something to this Austen-person."