Classic Book Review: Lady Susan

Lady Susan by Jane Austen

Lady Susan
by Jane Austen

4 out of 5 stars

Lady Susan is charming and vivacious. Lady Susan lies to everyone. Lady Susan flirts with anything in pants! Lady Susan tries to persuade her daughter, Frederica, to marry. Frederica doesn’t like the gentlemen, so Lady Susan manipulates and schemes. Lady Susan is greedy and immoral, but… she is not boring.

The epistolary style is my favorite thing about this little book. It was so fun to see from all the different perspectives of the characters. They all have a strong opinion of Lady Susan, and they aren’t afraid to express it in their letters! Lady Susan’s letters to her friend, Alicia, are so full of malice and deceit. Ooh, it’s thrilling!

I love Austen’s inimitable writing style. Her prose is so peppery! This little novel grabbed my attention, and had me laughing. I hated Lady Susan’s character so much, but I was exceedingly amused.

Frederica is a sad little person. It seems like she could be just as charming and vivacious as her mother, but Lady Susan is always putting her down and sneering at her. Poor Frederica is terrified of her mother! Frederica is a sweet girl and if only she had a safe environment where she could be herself, I think she would blossom and be happy.

Reginald is a complete idiot. He really got on my nerves, but his character is also very realistic. I’ve seen that absolute blindness that people suffer from when they are infatuated with someone they like. It’s no wonder that Reginald falls under Lady Susan’s spell in the beginning, but later on, even after all the rumors about Lady Susan are proven to be true, Reginald still believes her lies! To be fooled once is natural. To be fooled twice is sheer stupidity!

My favorite character is Catherine Vernon, Lady Susan’s sister-in-law. She is the only one who seems to keep a steady head in the face of Lady Susan’s charms. Catherine sees right through all of Lady Susan’s foolishness, and is not taken in for a moment. I admire her steadfastness and her wisdom. She is also very kind to Frederica and tries to help her. Catherine is the exact opposite of Lady Susan. She is respectable whereas Lady Susan is not. She is honest when Lady Susan is not. Catherine is altogether the perfect wife and mother, a pillar of good society, and Lady Susan appears even worse by comparison.

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