Lady Susan – Review

In short, when a person is always to deceive, it is impossible to be consistent.

This short epistolary novel acquaints us with Lady Susan Vernon, a recent widow, who wields her beauty and flirtatious manner in such a way to get whatever and whoever is she wants.

Lady Susan is beautiful and manipulative; men seem to be easily charmed in her presence befuddled by her speech and beauty. Her daughter Frederica, seems to be a hindrance and afterthought in her mothers schemes. Lady Susan sends Frederica away to school but when she runs away, Lady Susan tries to marry Frederica off quickly. For what reason? Lady Susan plans to continue to charm a man she’s in love with, although he’s married.

Mrs. Vernon, Lady Susan’s rival, sees through her trifles, perhaps since she experienced first hand the venom of Lady Susan’s selfishness. Mrs. Vernon married Charles, the formerly generous brother-in-law of Lady Susan. With a wife Charles can no longer direct such generous attention to Lady Susan. Mrs. Vernon becomes a hindrance to the shenanigans of Lady Susan. Mrs. Vernon remains suspicious of Lady Susan’s motives in all she does.

…but her countenance is absolutely sweet, and her voice and manner winningly mild. I am sorry it is so, for what is this but deceit?

But of course, this story wouldn’t be complete without a bit of family drama. When Mrs. Vernon’s brother, Reginald, despite a reputable and reliable account of Lady Susan’s character, becomes smitten and somehow wooed by the wiles of Lady Susan, the whole family is terrified of the potential consequences.

Lady Susan’s behavior is unlike any of the women I’ve encountered in other works by Austen but I do wonder who and what influenced Austen’s decision to craft Lady Susan as a beautiful and selfish woman? But now that I think about it, don’t we see behavior like this today? I enjoy the way Austen makes you think about the characters in her books alongside the characters (people) we encounter even today.

I have to admit I thought about the Bingley sisters from Pride and Prejudice and Lucy Steele from Sense and Sensibility.

Published by booksbythecup

Lover of good books and tea

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