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Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park - Johanna Ward, Jane Austen I have generally enjoyed my excursions into Austen-land, but if Austen were a modern writer, I'd call this book a sophomore slump. It was her third, and much of the plot and character interactions were very derivative of Pride and Prejudice but without that book's humor or sting.

Fanny Price is one of a brood of children, and her mother sends her to live with wealthy relatives to relieve her own family of some of the burden. Fanny thus grows up as the "poor cousin" in a wealthy house, generally not ill-treated but she is constantly condescended to and slighted. The result is that Fanny is a shy, blushing, ridiculously self-depreciating creature whom I found hard to like, though we're obviously meant to. I should say, as a person I would certainly like the poor sweet, modest girl, but as a character she mostly bites her tongue and tries to be as good as possible while never, ever saying anything that might make anyone else unhappy, even the jerk-ass playboy who decides he wants to marry her without regard for her feelings on the subject.

Naturally, there is another man easily identified as Fanny's One True Love, though while the reader knows who Fanny will marry by the end of the first chapter (even if you've never read Austen before), neither of them realizes it until nearly the last chapter.

Very Austenian, but almost generic Austen, if one can say that about such a famous author who only ever wrote six books. To be quite honest, Austen's lovely style and occasionally amusing bits of dialog were all that carried me through this book, particularly some long tedious middle parts. I wanted to love you more, Mansfield Park, but I can only give you 3.5 stars, and half a star is charity.