Book Review: Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Published date 1860
Genres: Classic Lit, Fiction, Romance
We have all been more or less to blame ...
every one of us, excepting Fanny'
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.
Mansfield Park was part of my University reading so unfortunately it wasn’t a book I chose to read for pleasure. I started reading Mansfield Park in June last year and read the majority of it in 2013. But I’ve been busy so I only managed to finish it recently. I realise in retrospect that I could have made time for Mansfield Park, but really it just isn’t that interesting. With a plethora of books on my to read list, Mansfield Park has never been near the top.
Honestly, I wouldn’t have given Mansfield Park a second look if I didn’t have to for class. Jane Austen spends almost 80% of the book building up the characters to help us understand them better. I don’t mind this writing style with shorter books, but with a book over 500 pages long I lose my patience. Luckily for me, the remaining quarter I read recently was where all the fun was!
I didn’t particularly love any of the characters in Mansfield Park, including the protagonist Fanny Price. Fanny is the definition of Miss Goody Two-Shoes. I hated her submissiveness with a passion, but I did feel sorry for her whenever her aunt Norris was around. Mrs Norris is the aunt with favourites in the family. She dotes on all of the Bertram siblings, and constantly criticises Fanny. She’s the aunt we all have, and we all hate! When I read how things ended miserably for her I was completely satisfied.
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I’m glad I finished Mansfield Park, but I really don’t want to read it again! I’ll probably re-read sections because I am studying it after all!
I love a good romance but Mansfield Park just doesn’t sell it. Jane Austen has so many better books out there to read so I wouldn’t recommend Mansfield Park. There’s a reason Pride and Prejudice is the more popular Austen book!
P.S. If you’re interested, read and download Mansfield Park for free at Project Gutenburg!