Friday, 3 March 2017

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
First published in England by Egerton in 1814.

I registered my copy of this book at Bookcrossing

Persuasion was chosen in January as a group read for the Goodreads Proud Readers Of Great Stories group. Having never actually read any Jane Austen novels before, I was inspired to try at least that one, then, realising that 2017 is the 200th anniversary year of Austen's death, I challenged myself to read all six of her novels within the year. If you would like to join my Jane Austen Challenge 2017, feel welcome to download the above badge and link up!

How I got this book:
Gift from my sister

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Raised at Mansfield Park by her rich aunt and uncle, Fanny Price does not have high hopes or great marital prospects. When the fashionable and exciting siblings Henry and Mary Crawford arrive to stay near Mansfield Park, Fanny and her cousins’ lives are thrown into disarray with romantic entanglements and personal jealousies.

I will be honest and say that, had I chosen Mansfield Park as the first of my Jane Austen novels, I almost certainly would not then have challenged myself to also read the other five. It is a much, much slower paced story than Persuasion and did often feel a bit of a slog! Once I had adapted to this, I did enjoy the book, but spending several pages fairly early on in the company of characters bemoaning the lack of a gate key as though it were actually a disaster nearly had me starting to jump pages. I wondered if Austen was paid by word count?

Austen's talents for observation and the recounting of minutiae do make for fantastic character portrayals. From the indolent Lady Bertram to her waspish sister Mrs Norris, the snobby Misses Bertram and flirtatious Henry Crawford, everyone came gliding off the page as completely real people that I was fascinated to watch, even though I don't think I could have stood to be around any of them in life. In fact the only character I found totally infuriating was Fanny herself. Her shyness and reclusive personality I can easily understand and empathise with as I am quite similar myself, however I didn't like her as the central pin of the story. Envisaging Mansfield and the other locations was easy due to Austen's detailed descriptions. I am lucky in that my vintage copy of the book also includes the play script for Lovers Vows so I gained a greater subtext understanding of this episode.

All in all, I didn't appreciate Mansfield Park as much as I had hoped too. The long build up made the last few chapters where finally everything happens seem very rushed and unfinished. This novel has real pacing issues, but I am glad to have read it purely for the superb characterisations.

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Books by Jane Austen / Women's fiction / Books from England


  1. Mansfield Park is actually an Austen novel which doesn't usually get a lot of love because Fanny is such a quiet and pushover character. But she reminded me or me, and that's why this is pretty much my favourite classic of all time. The ending is a little rushed though, I'll admit!

    1. It did grow on me as I read, but then the ending let me down again.
      Looking forward to Pride And Prejudice next I think :-)