Thursday, October 2, 2014

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Title: Mansfield Park
Author: Jane Austen
Read by: Johanna Ward
Blackstone Audio
Length: 16.8 hours
Source: MP3 Audio through Wisconsin Public Library Consortium – Overdrive on my Droid

It’s been two hundred years this year since Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park was published.  I decided to celebrate by spending the summer listening to an audiobook version of the book.  I will admit that like many others, Mansfield Park is my least favorite Austen novel.  But as the least favorite Austen novel, it is still an Austen novel and I find it very enjoyable.  I have also learned to appreciate it much more as I get older.

Three beautiful sisters each made a vastly different decision in life.  One married a naval man for love, one married a man with a great estate, and the third married a vicar.  The marriage of love produced many children, but not the means to care for them.  The oldest daughter, Fanny Price, is sent to live with her wealthy Aunt, Lady Bertram at Mansfield Park, as a young girl.  Life is lonely at first, but Fanny soon becomes friends with her cousin Edmund and an invaluable companion to her Aunt Bertram.  Her Aunt Norris tries to make her life uncomfortable, but no one can deny that Fanny is a good and decent person.  Her decency is tried when she grows older and her cousins Maria, Julia, and Tom all engage in bad behavior.  They are egged on by their new neighbors, Henry and Mary Crawford.  To make matters worse, Fanny realizes she loves her cousin Edmund, but that he is infatuated with the vivacious Mary Crawford.  Will true love and decency prevail?

I enjoyed listening to this novel and I love it more each time I listen to or read it.  Each character could be someone that I know today – I especially love Mrs. Norris.  She is so terrible and always thinks she needs to be in everyone else’s business.  I think the problem I (and many other people) have with the novel is the fact that the Crawfords are by far the liveliest and most interesting people in the book.  This is a problem when they are not the hero or heroine.  I will admit that I often wish that Mary and Edmund paired up as well as Henry (before the scandal) and Fanny.  I do enjoy that Fanny has a great hidden love for Edmund and that good prevails . . .yet a small part of me wants the Crawfords to liven up Fanny and Edmund’s lives. 

I really enjoyed this as an audiobook.  It was a fun way to enjoy the novel and livened up my chores.  I love Jane Austen, and Johanna Ward was a pleasant narrator.

No comments:

Post a Comment