Title: “Mansfield Park”
Author: Lora Innes
Publisher: Everyman’s Library (my copy)
Year: 1814 (originally)
Genre(s): romance, classics
Part of a Series: No.
Why I Read It: Because I’m an Austenite. I thought we covered this.
Summary: Ten-years-old Fanny Price is brought to live with her rich relatives, the Bertrams, in order to give the girl a chance at a better life. But for the most part, they ignore her or berate her (in the case of her other aunt, Mrs. Norris)—except for her cousin Edmund. He takes an interest in the girl and makes sure she is taken care of while staying at Mansfield Park. She grows up to be a quiet and introspective young woman. Her idyllic life at Mansfield Park is turned upside down by the arrival of siblings Henry and Mary Crawford. Her cousins Maria and Julia are led astray by their feelings for Henry while Fanny watches Edmund fall for Mary, pining for him from afar. When Henry turns his attentions to Fanny, will she fall for his charms or resist temptation?
Review: I found this book to be a slow start. But once you get through Fanny’s childhood (which isn’t too long), it starts to move. Though for me, I really got into it when I realized Edmund and Fanny were meant to be. I do love myself a good romance.
But I had to wait a long time. A really long time. Longer than I thought. For most of the novel, I wanted to shake him and make him realize Fanny was right there. And I wanted to send Mary Crawford far, far away. I believe she and Edmund’s pairing was supposed to be so obviously mismatched and wrong to the readers. But it shows how blind people in love (or infatuation) can be,that the truth is not clear to them.
Fanny is a character who knows herself. And she’s a very observational person, perhaps having the best understanding of people. She’s just not good at expressing herself. One kinda just wants her to deliver truth bombs at one point, but that is not Fanny’s personality. And that’s okay, though I can see why some people might write her off as a doormat or boring.
Despite wanting to shake him, I think Edmund’s my favorite Austen hero. He’s smart, sensitive and a gentleman. Well, usually smart. But I’ve said enough about Mary Crawford for this review. Back to Edmund. Like Fanny, he has his principles and he (usually) sticks with them. He has a few moments of weakness, but he remembers himself and apologizes for those moments.
Bottom line: Slow start, but still a good read two centuries later.
Who is your favorite Austen hero?