I have to say that I was a bit disappointed by this book. After “Pride and Prejudice” and “Northanger Abbey,” I was looking forward to more Austen. However, I don’t think this should have been it. There weren’t any real defects as such, but I just didn’t see the wit and vitality that I expected from Austen. I also kind of found the characters to be a bit of moral puppets. There was the good but meek, the clueless good, and the rotten. Everyone behaved accordingly and met their ends accordingly. I was appalled by much in the novel, but that is really more from what I find morally reprehensible in the time period as opposed to a fault of the prose. I can’t fault Austen for that aspect, but I just didn’t find a whole lot I really enjoyed about the novel.
(Note, for those following along in The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books, this one was 7th for Susan Minot.)
Mind you, I wrote a real review for this one. I started out with the above and expanded. I talked about how though I was appalled by the treatment of women in the book, I understood that was a function of the time period. I talked about how my problem was with how the writing just didn’t seem up to Austen par and how the characters seemed to be simple reflections of their function in the book. I provided extensive textual examples.
However, then I went to write another review. I started from the document containing my in depth review for Mansfield Park. After finishing the review, I noticed that I hadn’t saved it as a new document. No problem, right? I just hit control Z until I had my original Mansfield Park review, hit save, hit control Y until I have the complete new review, and then did a save as and saved it as a new document. I closed the doc and reopened. My new review was in the new doc under the new title. However, when I opened the Mansfield Park review doc, it was still the new review. Word hadn’t saved the fix when I told it to.
To say that I was pissed is an understatement.
At that point, I had to decide what to do. I was mad. Mansfield Park was no longer even fresh in my mind. Given that I hadn’t really cared for it, I certainly didn’t want to write the review twice.
As such, I did exactly what you see before you. I decided to share the saga instead and hope that the quick Goodreads review above tells you enough about the book. Frankly, to me at least, this is more interesting than Mansfield Park anyway. You’ll just have to take my word for it.