Lady Susan

Lady Susan

by Jane Austen


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This abruptly finished--some would say unfinished--novel is told as a series of letters between the various characters, followed by a brief summary of subsequent events delivered by the author. It recounts the machinations of the corrupt Lady Susan as she schemes to marry off both herself and her young daughter to the greatest financial advantage. Though not as fully developed as Austen's complete novels, it still reflects her use of well-rounded characters as well as her keen eye for the details of nineteenth-century society manners. A must-read for Jane Austen fans!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781389555763
Publisher: Blurb
Publication date: 05/23/2019
Pages: 102
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.31(d)

About the Author

Jane Austen (1775 - 1817) was an English novelist known principally for her five major novels which interpret, critique and comment upon the life of the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century.

Date of Birth:

December 16, 1775

Date of Death:

July 18, 1817

Place of Birth:

Village of Steventon in Hampshire, England

Place of Death:

Winchester, Hampshire, England


Taught at home by her father

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Lady Susan 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 32 reviews.
kcast610 More than 1 year ago
With a lovely sounding title as Lady Susan, who would suspect anyone more wretched a woman and mother as she. This is the first book I have ever read that consisted of a series of letters. I think the format work very well.
Homeschooler4u More than 1 year ago
I just discovered this Austen work and I loved it! It kept me guessing until the very end, however it did not take long to realize what a horrific person Lady Susan was.
cbl_tn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Having read all of Austen's major novels, most more than once, I thought it was time to get acquainted with some of her shorter works. Since I was going to be in the car for a couple of hours today, I seized the opportunity to listen to the unabridged Naxos Audiobooks recording of Lady Susan while I was on the road. It was the perfect introduction to this epistolary novella. The Naxos recording uses different actors and actresses for each letter writer, so it was easy to keep track of the author of the current letter when the letters were lengthy.Austen created charming and sympathetic young women in many of her novels, but she also had a gift for creating scheming women like Mary Crawford and Lucy Steele. Lady Susan is every bit as entertaining as any of Austen's schemers.I'll read the book at some point in the future, but I'm glad I experienced it first through the Naxos audio version. Highly recommended!
jasmyn9 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wonderful tale told through letters between friends and family. Lady Susan is hunting for a new husband by tricking the eligible (and non-eligible) men into thinking she is the perfect woman. The ending is a bit abrupt as the letters no longer need to be written. However, the story kept me happily occupied for a night.
books_ofa_feather on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jane Austen's ability to write about a character so indifferent to the feelings of those around her is quite remarkable. While making a character so cruel, she also made me utterly despise Lady Susan and she ended the book on a relatively happy note. Lady Susan was great read!
jasonlf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Had not read this short, epistolary novella before. Every sentence was thoroughly enjoyable Jane Austen. But it doesn't compare to any of her best novels or even to any of her worst novels. Only one character is particularly interesting, the title character of Lady Susan, who is heartless and selfish in an eerily modern manner (complete with affairs with married men and flirtations with younger men). I could imagine her daughter being interesting, but we only glimpse her indirectly and from a distance. And everyone else feels mostly like a stock Regency character.
katiekrug on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I loved this short epistolary novella detailing the selfish and devious nature of the titular character. What an incisive sketch of a horrible woman! Besides providing an hour or so¿s entertainment, it has inspired me to seek out the other minor works of Austen.
nordie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Apart from an epilogue/conclusion this is written entirely in the form of letters. Lady Susan is recently widowed and in the possession of a 16 year old daughter she considers stupid and hateful. Susan is already the subject of much scandal and gossip (having nearly split up one marriage, and managed to break up another engagement through flirting), before she descends on the house of her brother in law for a stay as she believes she has no where else to go until the scandal settles.Meanwhile she tries to get a suitable marriage for herself whilst trying to get her daughter off her hands by making whatever marriage agreement will suit.Even more scandal erupts when her sister in law's brother appears and decides he is in love with her, despite the rumours.Soon however, Susan is back in Town and through various schemes married and her daughter off her hands.Interesting way of writing a short book, which I believe was one of the first Austen wrote, but never submitted for publication. The main character is entirely mercenary, never out for romantic love either for herself or her friends. She's only out for a suitable marriage and will be entirely two faced to get what she wants. Cant think of another character like her.
esquetee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lady Susan is either the first or the last of Jane Austen's books to read. For someone new to Austen, it might be a good introduction since it is short and has a very spicy character in the form of Lady Susan herself. On the other hand, the epistolary format might throw off some readers and it was a little tricky at first, keeping track of who was writing to whom since the letters are coming from several different characters.If you would like to read Jane Austen's works in chronological order, I recommend beginning with Lady Susan.
sweetiegherkin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What's not to enjoy about Jane Austen? In this short epistolary novel, Jane's wit shines as ever in her ironic views of the world and her vivid characterizations. A must for any Austen fan.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lady Susan is the earliest of Austen's novels, and in my opinion the weakest. (Really a novella, it's only 23,021 words.) It was written in 1794 when Austen was still in her teens. I found it hard to get into at first. Unlike her other novels, this is an epistolary novel told almost entirely in 41 letters, not third-person narration. The story feels thin compared to her other works as a result, although about halfway through we got more of a sense of scenes, with actual dialogue.It's not that I don't find it worth reading. This novel is very different in tone than Austen's other novels--her titular heroine is a villain--a catty and malicious adulteress trying to force her daughter Frederica into a marriage of convenience. But if I weren't an Austen fan, I doubt I'd have persisted in reading it far enough for the fascination of Lady Susan's machinations to take hold, although take hold they did. The ending nevertheless feels abrupt to me.I understand Phyllis Ann Karr did a third person narrative adaptation of the story. Particularly since she's an author I've liked, I'd love to read that. Sadly it's long out of print.
Anietzerck on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This one was a little harder for me to follow. I think it was the format that threw me off. Overall though, I still liked it.
Kaydence on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lady Susan is a novel written in letters. Austen develops her plot through the exploits described in correspondence between family and friends. Lady Susan is a huge flirt that likes to set goals of conquest and follow them through. The reader finds out that Lady Susan's husband has passed away and she is planning on visiting her brother in law while she works through her grieving process. Her sister in law is not thrilled by this announcement. In a letter from her brother, the sister in law, Catherine finds out that Susan was involved in the destruction of the marriage of the family she was staying with in London. She also ended the prospective relationship between a young man and the family's daughter in order to ensure that Susan's own daughter would end up with that man. While Lady Susan is at her brother in law's home, she does her best to weasel her way into the family. She begins a new conquest of Catherine's brother and further forces her daughter towards marriage. Lady Susan is not ashamed of her behavior. She boasts of her accomplishments and welcomes as many challenges as she can get. As conflicts grown between Catherine, Susan, and Susan's daughter, Lady Susan's plots begin to unravel. The only question is if the flirtatious woman can end up on top or if she struggles to keep her dignity in the end.I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was a very quick read and Austen's wit is uncanny. Lady Susan is both a hero and a villain. There are times that I root for her to succeed, yet I know that she should not behave in the way that she does. The unraveling of the plot through letters was executed flawlessly. Austen is always a pleasure to read, and her shorter pieces are perfect for those that are slightly frightened by lengthier novels.
cmbohn on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you think Jane Austen was all about the good girls who got their man, this little book would set you straight. Lady Susan is not a good girl. She is a manipulative, lying hypocrite. She is still quite good at getting her man, or someone else's man, or just about anything else she wants.The story is told in letters back and forth, some by Lady Susan, some to her, and all of them about her. Lady Susan has made London a little hot for herself, so she has invited herself to stay in the country with her late husband's wife and family. This might have been awkward for some people. After all, she did try to persuade her brother-in-law not to marry. But she sails right in and makes herself at home. In no time, she is bewitching her hostess's brother and making plans for her daughter's marriage.I really enjoyed this one. It was very short, but it was a fun book that I couldn't put down until I got to the end. I was hoping Lady Susan would get what was coming to her, but I won't tell you what happens.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a fun little read. Finished it in a day. I only wish something horrible had happened to Lady Susan. She was a terrible person and deserved a huge dose of karma coming her way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To some, Lady Susan's actions and self delusion may seem over the top. There is nothing redeemable about her. The trouble is that people like her do exist. Read contributions on forums for Narcissistic and Borderline Personality Disorders! The trouble is that unless you are one of the unfortunate individuals in their firing line, these people ensure the rest of the world thinks they are marvellous. Hats off to Jane Austen for identifying this type of behaviour at such a young age. And of understanding the personalities of the people surrounding them. Her decision to write her story as a series of letters was both brilliant and doomed to failure. The careful choosing of words and saying without saying worked really well at the start, but by midway through, the need for scenes with dialogue overrode a letter's capabilities. Had she returned to this project later in life, she may have worked a way around it, interspersing action with letters. But perhaps that would have negated what she was trying to do. Write the whole thing in the form of letters. She also possibly understood by then that characters like Lady Susan do exist, but they rarely become true heroes of a story because they never or rarely improve because they refuse to ever admit they are in the wrong. Modern psychology says the only way to deal with someone with NPD is to avoid them. From a distance, they (and Lady Susan) can be regarded with pity. It takes a special person to love them. So, while this story was never completed by the author, it remains as a true testament of her insight into people and their strengths and weaknesses.
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While I would never claim that Lady Susan was among my favorites of Jane Austen's works, it was somewhat entertaining. The pains and scheming that Lady Susan went through to get her daughter married to James was interesting to watch. But it was indeed comical to see Lady Susan married to James and Fredrica married to Reginald, who was meant for Lady Susan.
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