Love and Friendship is a sharp and witty reimagining of Jane Austen’s novella, Lady Susan. I love the entire title which is “Love and Friendship: In Which Jane Austen’s Lady Susan Vernon is Entirely Vindicated. Concerning the Beautiful Lady Susan Vernon, Her Cunning Daughter & the Strange Antagonism of the DeCourcy Family.” The novel is “written” by Rufus Martin-Colonna de Cesari-Rocca, nephew of Sir James Martin. He has taken offense at the “spinster authoress” Jane Austen’s take on Lady Susan Vernon’s story and tells the tale from his point of view to vindicate Lady Susan as well as his Uncle. What is hilarious is that even though Rufus tries to tell the tale with vindication, the buffoonery of Sir James and deviousness of Lady Susan cannot help but pop out.
I am happy to be a part of the Love & Friendship – The Janeite Blog Tour. After my review of the novel, stay tuned for more information about the novel, author, tour, and giveaway.
Lady Susan Vernon is the widow of a ruined gentleman. Her late husband’s family blames her for the ruin as well as making her husband unhappy for her love of other men before his death. It is rumored that she has left the home of her friends the Manwarings after she succored both the affection of the married Lord Manwaring as well as the affection of Sir James Martin who was pursuing Miss Manwaring at the time. Lady Susan leaves their home to visit her brother and sister in law, Catherine and Charles Vernon. Catherine has no love for Lady Susan, but is more than dismayed when Lady Susan manages to attract the affections of her brother Reginald DeCourcy. Lady Susan’s daughter, Frederica arrives on the scene after getting kicked out of her school for trying to run away. She is distressed that her mother is arranging her marriage to Sir James Martin, who also arrives at Churchill, the Vernon’s estate. How will this end? Will Lady Susan find her own true love? Will Frederica find happiness? Will they all discover Lady Susan’s true personality or are all they thinking the worse of a kind woman?
I loved the humor in this book which is apparent in this quote:
“I admire those people who are willing or, even more admirably, firmly resolved to rise above the slights and antagonisms of the past. Catherine Vernon was not one of them.”
Poor Rufus is trying to vindicate his Uncle Sir James Martin in the novel, but it is hard.
“…Perhaps most significant in forming one’s principles is that of the old prophet who came down from the mount with tablets bearing the Twelve Commandments – which our Lord has taught us to obey without fail.”
“The Twelve Commandments?” Reginald asked.
Sir James nodded affably in the affirmative.
“Excuse me,” Charles interrupted in an apologetic tone, “I believe there were only Ten.”
“Oh, really?” Sir James said, “Only Ten must be obeyed? Well, then . .. Which two to take off? Perhaps the one about the Sabbath,” he said with a smile. “I prefer to hunt.”
I love Lady Susan – two of my favorite quotes from the cunning lady:
“When it comes to flattery, don’t hold bank,” Lady Susan commented. “Men are such gluttons for praise, it’s never enough.”
“Oh.” Lady Susan was briefly silenced “Facts are horrid things.”
Love and Friendship contains a great character list, Genealogical Table, and Jane Austen’s original epistolary novel is included in an appendix with Rufus’ notes on where Jane Austen got it wrong. It was fun to read the original novel as well.
Overall, I loved Love and Friendship. It’s a fun novel that shows the great comic humor of Jane Austen while also adding another layer of humor by trying to vindicate one of Austen’s best villains. I highly recommend this novel for all lovers of Austen as well as anyone looking for a great comic novel. I can’t wait to watch the movie!
Book Source: A Review copy as part of the Blog Tour.
Whit Stillman was born in Washington, D.C., and attended Harvard, where he was an editor of the Harvard Crimson before working in book and magazine publishing. He has written and directed five films, including the award-winning Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco, and Damsels in Distress, as well as the TV show The Cosmopolitans. His first novel, The Last Days of Disco, won the 2014 Prix Fitzgerald. He has written for the Wall Street Journal, Harper's, The Guardian, Vogue, and other publications. Visit his unofficial website for updates on this latest Amazon series The Cosmopolitans, and follow him on Twitter as @WhitStillman and on Facebook.
LOVE & FRIENDSHIP – THE JANEITE BLOG TOUR
June 13 – 24, 2016
A cyber-celebration in which Jane Austen fans join in their desire
to see a much maligned Personage vindicated, a certain
Spinster Authoress exposed and justice prevail.
Award winning writer-director-filmmaker Whit Stillman tours the blogosphere June 13 through June 24, 2016 to share his latest release, Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen's Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated. Thirteen popular book bloggers—card carrying Jane Austen fans one and all—will feature interviews, book excerpts and reviews of this highly acclaimed novel. A fabulous giveaway contest, including hardcopies of the book will be open to those who join the festivities.
THE LOVE & FRIENDSHIP JANEITE BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:
June 13 AustenBlog (Interview)
June 14 The Calico Critic (Review)
June 15 Diary of Eccentric (Excerpt)
June 16 Laura's Reviews (Review)
June 17 My Jane Austen Book Club (Review)
June 17 Confessions of a Book Addict (Excerpt)
June 20 Austenesque Reviews (Review)
June 20 Austenprose (Interview)
June 21 So Little Time…So Much to Read (Excerpt)
June 21 Luxury Reading (Review)
June 22 Just Jane 1813 (Review)
June 23 Savvy Verse & Wit (Excerpt)
June 24 Austenprose (Review)
Grand Giveaway Contest
In celebration of the release of Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen's Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated, Mr. Stillman’s publisher, Little, Brown & Co has kindly offered a chance to win one of three hardcover copies of the book!