In 2022, to honour a drunken deal, my sister-in-law and I bought each other copies of books we greatly admire. So she received some Kathleen Jamie, and I ended up with the complete novels of Jane Bloody Austen. There was no way I was going to read all of those in one go, so I decided to read one novel a year. In 2022 I read Sense and Sensibility, and in 2023 I read the uncannily similar Pride and Prejudice. This year, Mansfield Park could no longer be avoided…
Mansfield Park is fine, if you like that sort of thing. ‘That sort of thing’ being a bunch of toffs constantly visiting each other, scheming about who is going to end up marrying whom, and some of them being scandalised at the others’ rehearsing a supposedly scandalous play. But everything is resolved in the end. Phew!
(For what it’s worth, I did think this novel was better than its two more famous predecessors. Or, at least, it was until the melodramatics over the amateur theatrics kicked in. But whether my opinion counts for anything when it comes to Austen studies, I’ll leave you to judge.)
Already bracing myself for Emma in 2025!