Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Title: Mansfield Park
Author: Jane Austen
Genre: Classic Romance
Age-Range: 14+ (young adult/adult)
Era: early 1800s (Regency)
Setting: various places in England
Source: own a copy
Rating: 5/5 stars
Content: 3/5. No language (at least none that isn’t crossed out like this: by G-d), no violence. Romance, a person commits adultery (everyone is shocked, so I feel like anyone could read it because … everyone is so shocked! Great moral lesson there!).
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation.
As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever.
A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austen’s most profound works.
I admit I didn’t enjoy Mansfield Park as much as the other Jane Austen novels. It doesn’t have the sparkle and pizazz of Pride and Prejudice or Emma, it doesn’t have the intensity of Sense and Sensibility or Persuasion, and it doesn’t have the light-hearted humor of Northanger Abbey. Yet … there’s something about it that makes it an equal to all of her novels, though definitely not superior.
Yes, it’s a bit boring. It’s a quiet, rainy-day read. It took me a long time to finish both times I read it (twice now). Yet … there’s something about it that’s appealing. It’s taken me a long time to identify it, and I’m still not sure I have, but here goes.
This story is full of people who live as they should – people who live as they shouldn’t – people who act properly socially, but rather improperly morally. All this is viewed from the quiet soul of Miss Fanny Price, who is shocked at any bad behavior, yet ever-forgiving if it’s directed at herself.
Fanny really is pure gold. She can be a bit of an Elsie Dinsmore at times, but, because this is Jane Austen not Martha Finley, we know that she’s, first and foremost, human.
Edmund … hmm. Austen did well not to mention a specific date for his change of heart. Goodness gracious, Edmund! ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? MISS CRAWFORD!?!?! MISS CRAWFORD!???????? In every way she offends! How could you ever consider -!? And with Fanny right there all along -!?! Unbelievable.
Anyway, I still like you, but you’ll never be in the same league with Darcy or Knightley or Wentworth. In fact, you know what? You’re not even up there with Bingley. Bingley is way hotter than you. You know, even Ferrars was honorable and faithful. Hang yourself with your stiff collar, Edmund Bertram.
Would you believe I actually like Henry Crawford? Yeah … Willoughby, too. I’m sorry! I just feel like they could have been good guys if they weren’t … bad guys. I suppose you could say that about anyone, though, so …
Mary … I just can’t forgive her. Especially her reaction to the Maria/Henry debacle. Wow. Just wow. I mean, you weren’t awful, though you felt super fake, especially in your treatment of Fanny, but … I just can’t even think of you as ‘influenced by your evil aunt’ or something stupid like that as Edmund did.
I’m not going to go into the other characters. I loved some, hated others, and had mixed feelings for the rest. I did end up liking Sir Bertram more than I did the first time I read this book, though. He was pretty nice, and I loved his treatment of Fanny towards the end.
Overall, this was a fantastic novel, which I’d recommend for any lovers of classics. Though it’s a bit heavier than the other Austen novels, it’s definitely worth the rest, though I wouldn’t recommend it as your first Austen. 🙂
“We have all been more or less to blame … every one of us, excepting Fanny.”
“Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.”
“If this man had not twelve thousand a year, he would be a very stupid fellow.”