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Lady Susan, the Watsons, and Sanditon: Unfinished Fictions and Other Writings

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'I am tired of submitting my will to the caprices of others-of resigning my own judgement in deference to those to whom I owe no duty, and for whom I feel no respect.' The unfinished fictions collected here are the novels and other writing that Jane Austen did not publish. The protagonist of the earliest story is Lady Susan, a sexual predator and a brilliant and manipulativ 'I am tired of submitting my will to the caprices of others-of resigning my own judgement in deference to those to whom I owe no duty, and for whom I feel no respect.' The unfinished fictions collected here are the novels and other writing that Jane Austen did not publish. The protagonist of the earliest story is Lady Susan, a sexual predator and a brilliant and manipulative sociopath. The Watsons, a tale of riches to rags, is set in a village deep in mud and misery where the Watson sisters waste away, day after dull day, waiting for the suitors who never appear. Sanditon, the novel interrupted by the author's death, is a topical satire on the niche marketing campaign waged by investors in the latest seaside resort, the fictional Sanditon, situated on England's over-supplied south coast. If The Watsons shares the disturbed life of a Chekhov short story, Sanditon's cast of eccentrics anticipates the zany world of Dickens. Experimental and sharp-elbowed, all three probe new areas of invention and push out beyond what we expect to find in a novel by Jane Austen. This edition collects together all Austen's unpublished adult fiction, poetry, and related writings, written in her late teens, in her late twenties, and in the year she died, aged forty-one. They contribute more than a dash of discomfort to our modern image of the romantic novelist and reveal Jane Austen's development as a writer.


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'I am tired of submitting my will to the caprices of others-of resigning my own judgement in deference to those to whom I owe no duty, and for whom I feel no respect.' The unfinished fictions collected here are the novels and other writing that Jane Austen did not publish. The protagonist of the earliest story is Lady Susan, a sexual predator and a brilliant and manipulativ 'I am tired of submitting my will to the caprices of others-of resigning my own judgement in deference to those to whom I owe no duty, and for whom I feel no respect.' The unfinished fictions collected here are the novels and other writing that Jane Austen did not publish. The protagonist of the earliest story is Lady Susan, a sexual predator and a brilliant and manipulative sociopath. The Watsons, a tale of riches to rags, is set in a village deep in mud and misery where the Watson sisters waste away, day after dull day, waiting for the suitors who never appear. Sanditon, the novel interrupted by the author's death, is a topical satire on the niche marketing campaign waged by investors in the latest seaside resort, the fictional Sanditon, situated on England's over-supplied south coast. If The Watsons shares the disturbed life of a Chekhov short story, Sanditon's cast of eccentrics anticipates the zany world of Dickens. Experimental and sharp-elbowed, all three probe new areas of invention and push out beyond what we expect to find in a novel by Jane Austen. This edition collects together all Austen's unpublished adult fiction, poetry, and related writings, written in her late teens, in her late twenties, and in the year she died, aged forty-one. They contribute more than a dash of discomfort to our modern image of the romantic novelist and reveal Jane Austen's development as a writer.

30 review for Lady Susan, the Watsons, and Sanditon: Unfinished Fictions and Other Writings

  1. 5 out of 5

    emma

    it's important to me to pretend that i haven't read everything jane austen ever wrote. so this will stay on my tbr forever it's important to me to pretend that i haven't read everything jane austen ever wrote. so this will stay on my tbr forever

  2. 5 out of 5

    ✨ A ✨

    🌿full review is up on my blog🌿 Find Me: Ko-Fi • Blog • Instagram • Twitter __ You guys are probably tired of seeing me read and gush about Jane Austen by now. But I've got to be in the mood for classics so I'm just gonna roll with this okay 🌿full review is up on my blog🌿 Find Me: Ko-Fi • Blog • Instagram • Twitter __ You guys are probably tired of seeing me read and gush about Jane Austen by now. But I've got to be in the mood for classics so I'm just gonna roll with this okay

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (Insert Lit Pun)

    Why don’t people talk about Lady Susan more? I mean I know it’s Jane Austen but I still didn’t expect it to be this brazenly fun. The Watsons and Sanditon…surprised by how depressing these were to read. I thought I’d steeled myself to the idea of them being fragments, but turns out I hadn’t fully. Still thoroughly enjoyable, and I’m glad to have these characters now populating my head, but mostly they just made me sad and resentful of Regency-era medicine. But at least now I can watch the new Sa Why don’t people talk about Lady Susan more? I mean I know it’s Jane Austen but I still didn’t expect it to be this brazenly fun. The Watsons and Sanditon…surprised by how depressing these were to read. I thought I’d steeled myself to the idea of them being fragments, but turns out I hadn’t fully. Still thoroughly enjoyable, and I’m glad to have these characters now populating my head, but mostly they just made me sad and resentful of Regency-era medicine. But at least now I can watch the new Sanditon adaptation, which promises to be decadently terrible.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Maja - BibliophiliaDK ✨

    OH YES, ANOTHER AUSTEN FIX, JUST WHAT I NEEDED! ✨ Popsugar Reading Challenge 2019✨ ✨✨A book published posthumously✨✨ When researching for this years Popsugar Reading Challenge there was no doubt in my mind that I had to read one of Jane Austen's posthumous novels, because she is a favourite author of mine. Luckily I found this gem which contains 3 of her posthumous novels! Lucky me, I say!! Blurp The Watsons is the unfinished story of Emma Watson, who returns home to her family after being foste OH YES, ANOTHER AUSTEN FIX, JUST WHAT I NEEDED! ✨ Popsugar Reading Challenge 2019✨ ✨✨A book published posthumously✨✨ When researching for this years Popsugar Reading Challenge there was no doubt in my mind that I had to read one of Jane Austen's posthumous novels, because she is a favourite author of mine. Luckily I found this gem which contains 3 of her posthumous novels! Lucky me, I say!! Blurp The Watsons is the unfinished story of Emma Watson, who returns home to her family after being fostered by an aunt and now has to re-aquiant herself with her family. Lady Susan is an epistolary novel about the newly widowed Lady Susan, who is on the prowl for a second advantageous marriage. Sandition follows the life of a wide cast of characters in an up-and-coming seaside town. THE THINGS I LOVED 🧡 Jane Austen 🧡: From the very first sentence I felt at ease and at home. Austen's writing is so witty, up-beat and so utterly recognisable that it felt like rediscovering an old acquaintance. The variety: The more known Austen novels all pretty much follow the same pattern and the same topics. These three, however, truly showed the variety of Austen's genius. They were so different in not only writing and subject, but in feeling and sentiment as well. It truly showed me, that had the world not lost this formidable woman so early, we could have had many more delightful and insightful books from her hand. Lady Susan: This book in particular was a deviation from the usual Jane Austen novel. We are used to Austen's heroine's being witty, bright, righteous and kind. Lady Susan, however, was none of these things. She was cold, calculating, manipulative and a flirt. But also her circumstances were different from teh usual virginal Austen women. Lady Susan was widow with a teenage daughter. And then of course there was the style that this book was written in - letters! Quite different from any other Austen novel. "I congratulate you and Mr. Vernon on being about to receive into your family, the most accomplished coquette in England." - Mr. De Courcy, Lady Susan The Watsons: My favourite of this collection was without a doubt the unfinished The Watsons simply because it had all the makings of a classical, witty and romantic Austen book. Emma Watson was witty, bright, kind and beautiful. She moves in good society, has many sisters and the attention of some admirable men, each in their own way. I so wish this novel had been finished. Luckily, Austen had actually told her sister, Cassandra, how she intended the book to end, and I can only say, that reading what she imagined would happen only made me wish even more, that she had actually gone through with it! FOLLOW MY BLOG FOR MORE BOOK GOODNESS

  5. 5 out of 5

    leynes

    The person who edited this bind-up edition of these three fragments seemed hella weird and sometimes even rude in her commentary of Austen's work, so I'm not sure if I would particularly recommend this Penguin Clothbound edition, however, my rating is only reflective of Austen's work, not the introduction and notes! Lady Susan (5 stars) A new favorite. Lady Susan is such a sassy, petty, conniving little character. I can't believe that young Jane chose her as a protagonist. She's almost The person who edited this bind-up edition of these three fragments seemed hella weird and sometimes even rude in her commentary of Austen's work, so I'm not sure if I would particularly recommend this Penguin Clothbound edition, however, my rating is only reflective of Austen's work, not the introduction and notes! Lady Susan (5 stars) A new favorite. Lady Susan is such a sassy, petty, conniving little character. I can't believe that young Jane chose her as a protagonist. She's almost the exact opposite of all other Austen heroines. Lady Susan would've most likely been the villain in any other Austen story. She has affairs with married men, is generally a flirt, doesn't care for the feelings and wishes of her daughter, is overall quite egotistical and has no fucks left to give. I honestly have to stan! The Watsons (4 stars) Truly a promising start for a Jane Austen novel. I cannot believe how much plot and momentum Austen put into these first 60 pages. This was so exciting and fast-paced. I would've loved to see Miss Emma Watson as a heroine, see her refusal of Lord Osborne, her deflection of Tom Musgrove, and her stirred feelings for Mr Howard. It would've been so sweet, and fun. Sure, Emma is a bit of a Mary Sue, and it's not clear why all of these men of power and money would fall for this poor, foreign girl, BUT I DON'T CARE. I loved it! Sanditon (2 stars) The only disappointing story of the bunch but I'm not even that mad. This fragment couldn't convince me because I found most characters rather dull and not much happened in these first 60 pages. Sanditon, the seaside resort, could've been such a cool and usual setting for an Austen novel but alas! we don't see much of this in this first draft of the beginning. Austen's writing definitely felt more mature, and it's fitting that this was more slow-paced, but I'm not sure if Sanditon would've blossomed into a new Austen favorite the way Lady Susan has, and The Watsons most likely would've had as well.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ·Karen·

    Remarkable that the grease stained pages found down the back of the sofa or stuffed into a drawer or still on the desktop when Jane Austen died should be so entrancing 200 years later. And Margaret Drabble's intro is judicious and knowledgeable. I have now read almost (but not quite) everything that JA wrote; her Juvenilia would make me a 'completist'. Horrible word. It sounds like some Orwellian newspeak term for someone who goes round co-ercing people into committing suicide. She may well have b Remarkable that the grease stained pages found down the back of the sofa or stuffed into a drawer or still on the desktop when Jane Austen died should be so entrancing 200 years later. And Margaret Drabble's intro is judicious and knowledgeable. I have now read almost (but not quite) everything that JA wrote; her Juvenilia would make me a 'completist'. Horrible word. It sounds like some Orwellian newspeak term for someone who goes round co-ercing people into committing suicide. She may well have been right to abandon The Watsons as it is a bit samey, P&P all over again, but oh boy would I have loved to read Sanditon. There are all the signs of a fascinating take on the changeover from visiting friends or family, or being formally introduced to their friends and family, to the commercial business of tourism.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Bannister

    3.5🌟 rounded up!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rosh

    I am a Jane Austen completist, having read all six full-length novels authored by her (some of them being reread multiple times): Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Mansfield Park, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. However, one novel that almost always escapes public attention is ‘Lady Susan’. At 180 pages, it is not considered by many to be a full-length work but more of a novella, and is hence never listed among the above-mentioned renowned novels. ‘Lady Susan’ happens to be the I am a Jane Austen completist, having read all six full-length novels authored by her (some of them being reread multiple times): Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, Mansfield Park, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. However, one novel that almost always escapes public attention is ‘Lady Susan’. At 180 pages, it is not considered by many to be a full-length work but more of a novella, and is hence never listed among the above-mentioned renowned novels. ‘Lady Susan’ happens to be the only epistolary novel written by Jane Austen in her adulthood. (Some of her younger works collected under ‘Juvenilia’ include a couple of epistolary stories.) An epistolary novel, just in case you aren’t aware of the term, is a novel where the entire story is revealed through correspondence from/between the characters. The usual form of correspondence is letters, although diary entries, newspaper clippings and other documents are sometimes used. Recently, electronic "documents" such as recordings, blogs, and e-mails have also been incorporated into epistolary books. (Case in point: The Martian by Andy Weir which mainly uses v-log entries) The epistolary novel was popular in the 16th and 17th centuries but due to much satirical ridicule, it slowly fell out of use in the late 18th century. Jane too abandoned the epistolary structure after ‘Lady Susan’. (Some think that her lost novel ‘First Impressions’, which was redrafted to become ‘Pride and Prejudice’, may have been epistolary; after all, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ contains an unusual number of letters quoted in full and some play a critical role in the plot. ‘Sense and Sensibility’ was also originally written in the epistolary form.) Now let’s come to ‘Lady Susan’. Supposedly written in 1794 but not published until 1871, this lovely little novella describes the schemes of the eponymous lead. If you think Emma was the most selfish of all lead female Austen characters, wait till you meet Lady Susan. Devious to the core, her only concern is with establishing her own comforts even if at the cost of her own daughter’s happiness. She is not your typical goody-two-shoes Victorian heroine but a sugar-coated Machiavelli who keeps trying to manipulate everyone and everything as per her requirement. Being an epistolary novel, the entire book except for the last chapter unfurls through letters written by some character to another. Considering that Jane Austen wrote this at about 20 years of age with the lead character at age 35, it's really an undervalued piece of writing. It’s amazing to see how the virginal Austen portrayed a villainous heroine without having even experienced the brutalities of the world. The only downside to the book is that aforementioned last chapter. The story goes that Jane wrote all the letter parts at 20, kept the idea of the book aside thereafter, and some years later, in a desire to complete the book, wrote the final chapter. That time lag is pretty evident in the hurried nature of that chapter, the sole purpose of which is to tie up everything together and end the story somehow. This results in an abrupt, rushed ending, deviating from the overall flow and yes, affecting your reading experience too. If you can forgive this flaw, Lady Susan will work its charms on you. Jane Austen never submitted ‘Lady Susan’ for publication. Maybe she just wrote it as an experiment, or maybe she didn’t consider it a good enough story. No one will ever know her thoughts about this book. But reading this novel is an insightful experience into the mind of the young Austen, who is still a hugely popular and beloved author more than 200 years after her death. The only movie adaptation of Lady Susan, retitled ‘Love & Friendship’ after Austen's juvenile work of that name, stars Kate Beckinsale in the titular role. While not a box office hit, it received critical acclaim and is considered among the better Jane Austen screen adaptations. In other words, safe to watch. :D Fun fact: The manuscript of Austen's Lady Susan is the only surviving complete draft of any of her novels. My copy of the book has two more books included. Here’s a very brief insight into the remaining two works. The Watsons - A book that Jane started in 1805, then abandoned after the death of her father. The few chapters she had written show her usual ability to build up the characters. It is regretful that she didn’t complete this book. It would have been a great read. The story is a bit like a mix of Sense & Sensibility and Emma, but as it's incomplete, we shall never know what Austen planned for it. Sanditon - Begun by Jane a few months before her death, Sanditon shows Jane's obsession with good health at that stage of her illness. With a good start to the story, the book uses the then-prevalent ideas of the benefits of seaside places to build up this place called Sanditon, the ultimate coastal town for health care. With just eleven chapters written before she abandoned it due to worsening health, one can’t really pass any comment on Sanditon except for wondering what a loss it was to Janeites. ******************************************** Join me on the Facebook group, " Readers Forever! ", for more reviews and other book-related discussions and fun.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Flynn

    Watching the absurd miniseries prompted me to reread Sanditon. It's not a book I know well because reading it usually makes me sad, knowing why she didn't finish it. This time, for some reason, I did not have that reaction. Perhaps I can thank the miniseries. What I chiefly noticed is how funny it is, and how razor-sharp its insights about people. Nor am I the first or the last person to notice the irony of Austen, already suffering from the mysterious illness that would kill her, is spending he Watching the absurd miniseries prompted me to reread Sanditon. It's not a book I know well because reading it usually makes me sad, knowing why she didn't finish it. This time, for some reason, I did not have that reaction. Perhaps I can thank the miniseries. What I chiefly noticed is how funny it is, and how razor-sharp its insights about people. Nor am I the first or the last person to notice the irony of Austen, already suffering from the mysterious illness that would kill her, is spending her last months on earth imagining energetic hypochondriacs at a health spa. Well, irony. She was always good at that.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Melcat

    I wanted to read everything Austen had done, and that included the three stories of Lady Susan, The Watson (unfinished) and Sanditon (also unfinished). Lady Susan has a great plot idea and I love the epistolary form but you can see the ending was a bit rushed and overall the story isn't as polished as it could have been. The Watson started well, and you can really feel some similarities to Pride and Prejudice (maybe that's why it was discontinued). I really did not enjoy Sanditon, to my surprise, I wanted to read everything Austen had done, and that included the three stories of Lady Susan, The Watson (unfinished) and Sanditon (also unfinished). Lady Susan has a great plot idea and I love the epistolary form but you can see the ending was a bit rushed and overall the story isn't as polished as it could have been. The Watson started well, and you can really feel some similarities to Pride and Prejudice (maybe that's why it was discontinued). I really did not enjoy Sanditon, to my surprise, and skipped most of it. It was actually quite depressing to read an unfinished story. Austen apparently told Cassandra (her sister or cousin, I can't remember) the planned ending for the Watson, so that was great to at least know the direction the story would have taken if it has been finished. These three stories should be read in an edition that has some sort of introduction to give more context and information, I don't think you should read them on their own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    ℳacarena

    It's a pity Jane Austen couldn't finish this novel. It seems so promising! It got my whole attention from the first chapter. Peculiar, interesting and amusing characters along with that splendid coast. It's a pity Jane Austen couldn't finish this novel. It seems so promising! It got my whole attention from the first chapter. Peculiar, interesting and amusing characters along with that splendid coast.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Sandi ❣

    3 stars This book contains 3 Jane Austin novels ~ Lady Susan, The Watson's and Sanditon. Sanditon is the reason I got the book and being truthful the only story I have read - at least so far - and it probably will remain that way. Jane Austen books are not my favorite classics and I find that my mind will wander while reading her works. However watching movies or TV adaptions of historical works, I do enjoy. But staying with my past performance, I do like to read the book, prior to watching the a 3 stars This book contains 3 Jane Austin novels ~ Lady Susan, The Watson's and Sanditon. Sanditon is the reason I got the book and being truthful the only story I have read - at least so far - and it probably will remain that way. Jane Austen books are not my favorite classics and I find that my mind will wander while reading her works. However watching movies or TV adaptions of historical works, I do enjoy. But staying with my past performance, I do like to read the book, prior to watching the adaptation. This was Austen's last manuscript - unfinished. Critics remark that this writing style is very much different from Austen's normal style, and has an "open and modern feel" in reference to her other novels. Not being a fan of Austen, I cannot comment whether or not this is the fact. It is hard to really like any of the character in Sanditon. It is reasoned that Austen , already ill, did not want to leave her loving characters, which she often idealized way past the book she wrote them into, so made them unlikable. In addition health is a major theme in this book, as reasoned to be because of her own failing health. This novel also tends to the new, not the old and established that most of her other novels are settled in. Having adapted other Jane Austen novels to film, experienced Jane Austen adapter Andrew Davies completes Sanditon for viewing. Austen wrote 11 chapters - then titled 'Brothers' and put her work aside before her death. Davies finished the story out, basing it on the town, Sanditon, for an 8 episode PBS Masterpiece series.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mary Durrant

    A delightful reread!

  14. 4 out of 5

    K.

    I wanted to love this, I really did. I mean, it's JANE AUSTEN, you know?? And yet, here we are. I don't think it helped that I was slightly slumpy when I was reading this and that it therefore took me the better part of four days to get through this 200 page book. I wanted to love Lady Susan, because it was such a unique way of telling a story. But it was so full of horrible characters that I just came out at meh. I wanted to love The Watsons, but it felt like it was speeding along without any d I wanted to love this, I really did. I mean, it's JANE AUSTEN, you know?? And yet, here we are. I don't think it helped that I was slightly slumpy when I was reading this and that it therefore took me the better part of four days to get through this 200 page book. I wanted to love Lady Susan, because it was such a unique way of telling a story. But it was so full of horrible characters that I just came out at meh. I wanted to love The Watsons, but it felt like it was speeding along without any depth and then it just ended. I wanted to love Sanditon, especially after I thoroughly enjoyed the Pemberley Digital adaptation of it a couple of years ago. But OH MY GOD SO MANY HYPOCHONDRIACS I CAN'T DEAL WITH THIS NONSENSE. And then it just ended because Austen rudely went and died. So yeah. Maybe my expectations were too high? And I did enjoy seeing a variety of Austen's writing in one book. But on the whole, this was fine but forgettable.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    I can't remember where or when I got my copy of this book. I vaguely remember getting it cheaply and being happy to have some of Austen's minor works. It sat on a shelf for many years, but then I wanted a refresher read of Lady Susan because of the upcoming movie adaption that is whimsically named 'Love & Friendship'. Much to my pleasure and surprise, this book had a fascinating introduction of the three works that discussed the background of the stories, speculation about Austen's choice in not I can't remember where or when I got my copy of this book. I vaguely remember getting it cheaply and being happy to have some of Austen's minor works. It sat on a shelf for many years, but then I wanted a refresher read of Lady Susan because of the upcoming movie adaption that is whimsically named 'Love & Friendship'. Much to my pleasure and surprise, this book had a fascinating introduction of the three works that discussed the background of the stories, speculation about Austen's choice in not having the first two finished and published, and of course, where the two unfinished works were headed. There were general historical and biographical discourses as well. It was helpful and gave me a good set up to understanding before I dove into the stories themselves. Lady Susan is a quick read as it is novella length and told in the epistolary format. While limiting and probably the reason for this being the last of her books to use the format, it was a curious work. Lady Susan carries several unique elements not the least is the nature of the protagonist, Lady Susan. She is a dark, manipulative woman who still manages to coax the reader into laughing with her and enjoying her outrageous exploits. I found her so very quotable. I also found that this darker, dangerous and more titillating story showcased the author's repertoire to be wider than her published novels would indicate. Lady Susan felt like a prototype of such sparkling, witty heroines as Elizabeth Bennet, Emma Woodhouse, Marianne Dashwood, and Mary Crawford. The plot isn't as snappy as the later novels and that epilogue was a rushed piece, but I am slightly awed that a young, sheltered lady of twenty wrote it since it only hurts by comparison to her later novels and not to literature in general. This was my first turn at the unfinished The Watsons. Oh my heart sorrows a bit not to have the completed story. The set up was a good, strong one and promised an engaging story with Emma Watson the heroine raised apart from her family and used to more genteel circumstances now back in their midst and unsure of her future. She is the interest of a high lord and a country clergyman. Her inferior family and quirky local characters make for some good humor even if Emma's situation is sobering. Yes, drat, I wanted more. At least, there was the note appended to the end sharing what Cassandra knew of how her sister planned to finish the story. Now, on to another unfinished piece, but this one, sadly, was unfinished by the death of the author. I would have enjoyed knowing where she was taking this one after the initial set up. I always picture Sanditon as Austen's version of the 'summer read' since it is a vacation/health resort sort of town. The characters introduced are fun and quirky like I enjoy in a small town/village setting. The heroine was a moderately engaging one, but it was Mr. Parker that kept me interested. Ah, but again, I am sad not to have all the story. All in all, this was a satisfying collection. I enjoyed the introduction, the three short pieces by Jane Austen and found the footnotes/explanations very helpful. I would definitely recommend this annotated version to other readers who want to gain some enjoyment and understanding beyond the actual stories. In switching versions of the book mid-stream, I lost my earlier quote notes so I copied them and am putting them here: 5/3 page 47 22.0% "Where pride & vanity unite there can be no dissimulation worthy notice, and Miss Vernon shall be consigned to unrelenting contempt..." Ouch! Poor girl!" 05/04 page 50 23.0% "She is clever and agreeable, has all that knowledge of the world which makes conversation easy, and talks very well with the command of language, which is too often used I believe to make black appear white." Mrs. Vernon's opinion of Lady Susan. o_O" 05/11 page 64 30.0% "....I am not afraid. I trust I shall be able to make my story as good as hers. If I am vain of anything, it is my eloquence." Lady Susan preparing to outwit her daughter. Poor Frederica!" 05/11 page 85 40.0% "There is something agreeable in feelings so easily worked upon. Not that I would envy him their possession, nor would for the world, have such myself, but they are very convenient when one wishes to influence the passion of another." What a vixen!!!!" 05/11 page 90 42.0% "Oh wow! The line, the line... the movie took it right from the novella when Lady Susan tells her friend 'of what a mistake were you guilty in marrying a man of his age!- ...too old to be agreeable, and too young to die. *snort*" 05/11 page 95 45.0% "What could I do? Facts are such horrid things!" Alas, the wheels have started to come off for Lady Susan."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This was a fun read! I had read Lady Susan before but never the two unfinished novels. I enjoyed both Sanditon and The Watsons. I think I enjoyed The Watsons a little more. It felt a little more lively perhaps. The ballroom scene with Emma and Charles endeared me to her. I enjoy how many of Austen’s protagonists are observant of those around them as both Emma and Charlotte are. I thought I detected some echoes of Emma in The Watsons. The main characters share a name of course (though not much els This was a fun read! I had read Lady Susan before but never the two unfinished novels. I enjoyed both Sanditon and The Watsons. I think I enjoyed The Watsons a little more. It felt a little more lively perhaps. The ballroom scene with Emma and Charles endeared me to her. I enjoy how many of Austen’s protagonists are observant of those around them as both Emma and Charlotte are. I thought I detected some echoes of Emma in The Watsons. The main characters share a name of course (though not much else). Tom Musgrave seemed to be a Frank Churchill type character. The father was an invalid (though a more educated, well spoken one according to the text). Emma is possibly more reminiscent of Jane Fairfax now that I’m thinking of it. Mrs. Robert Watson (Emma’s sister-in-law) seems to be a Mrs. Elton prototype. She even had a line about a dress that echoed a later line of Mrs. Elton’s. I’m sad this story wasn’t finished because I liked Mr Howard, Elizabeth, and Emma a lot. Ah well. I’m looking forward to checking out Sanditon the show. That story had a lot of fascinating and wonky characters to develop. I’m sad we didn’t get to see Austen’s ingenious plot play out for them.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Katie Long

    I have avoided reading this unfinished novel from my dear friend Jane for so many years because I was worried that I would love it, and then be disappointed that I’ll never know how she planned to finish the story. Yep, I was right. It’s such a wonderful set up, man, I wish she had finished it!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Carina

    This book of Jane Austen short stories was a bit of a mixed bag. 'Lady Susan' is interesting because it is more experimental due to the fact that it is both written in the form of letter entries and the main character is not one of Austen's usual heroines. My favourite of the stories was 'The Watsons', an unfinished novel, it's written very much in the style of 'Pride and Prejudice' and if finished would have been a magnificent addition to her six completed novels. I did not enjoy 'The Sanditons' This book of Jane Austen short stories was a bit of a mixed bag. 'Lady Susan' is interesting because it is more experimental due to the fact that it is both written in the form of letter entries and the main character is not one of Austen's usual heroines. My favourite of the stories was 'The Watsons', an unfinished novel, it's written very much in the style of 'Pride and Prejudice' and if finished would have been a magnificent addition to her six completed novels. I did not enjoy 'The Sanditons' as much, I found it to be full of fussy details and lacking any clear or meaningful storyline. I would recommend these stories to a die-hard Austen fan, but I'm not sure it would interest many other readers. 'The Watsons' is really the only story worth merit.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Pool

    Synopsis The Parkers, the Heywoods, and the Denhams. Families consciously manoeuvring for position, for status, for society’s esteem. The Heywoods are stay at home types “ They never left home, and they had a gratification in saying so” (141) The Parkers are hoteliers, and surprisingly entrepreneurial (for an Austen novel). Diana Parker is an early example of a real estate lettings agent! The Denham’s (matriarch Lady Denham “born to wealth but not to education”(142)) are avaricious, conniving and a Synopsis The Parkers, the Heywoods, and the Denhams. Families consciously manoeuvring for position, for status, for society’s esteem. The Heywoods are stay at home types “ They never left home, and they had a gratification in saying so” (141) The Parkers are hoteliers, and surprisingly entrepreneurial (for an Austen novel). Diana Parker is an early example of a real estate lettings agent! The Denham’s (matriarch Lady Denham “born to wealth but not to education”(142)) are avaricious, conniving and afforded attention only because of the prospect of financial gain for being suitably obsequious. A wholly new angle is introduced with the arrival of seventeen year old West Indian, Miss Lambe. Alas the reader doesn’t get the chance to hear from her directly. Highlights The Parker hypochondria: Diana (34 years old ) suffers “spasmodic bile” (153) Arthur “ no other look of an invalid, than a sodden complexion” (182) The historical context, and especially the conscious development of a ‘new’ commercial seaside town/resort . Its nicely evocative of an era when fresh air, and sea air, was regarded as the cure for physical ailments. Today Britons go in search of the sun, abroad, for “well-ness”. Lowlights Though the prose is unmistakeably Jane Austen, the character set up is all the reader gets in a paltry sixty pages. Its like the literary equivalent of the lost/missing Beatles music out takes and ‘b’ sides Historical & Literary Sanditon was Jane Austen’s last (unfinished) novel, dating from 1817. The transcript was published for the first time only in 1925 Questions An unfinished novel is the ultimate vehicle for numerous questions. Who knows who would have won the favour of the eligible females? How would the accumulated and inherited wealth have been redistributed? Recommend Sanditon is a good example of the power of a television tie in? (ITV in the UK commissioned an 8 episode series that aired in October 2019; It didn’t get second series viewing numbers were poor) Without the television publicity in I guess my Book club would not have picked this as our January read. Its not only unfinished, its barely started, and not a book I recommend.

  20. 4 out of 5

    fatma

    3.5 stars I've read Lady Susan before, and The Watsons was fine, but oh my goodness I LOVED Sanditon. Sir Edward is hilarious, the Parkers are ridiculous, and Charlotte is such a shrewd, level-headed heroine. To see it all cut short before the story could really get going broke my heart. But I suppose even unfinished Austen is better than no Austen at all. 🤷‍♀️ 3.5 stars I've read Lady Susan before, and The Watsons was fine, but oh my goodness I LOVED Sanditon. Sir Edward is hilarious, the Parkers are ridiculous, and Charlotte is such a shrewd, level-headed heroine. To see it all cut short before the story could really get going broke my heart. But I suppose even unfinished Austen is better than no Austen at all. 🤷‍♀️

  21. 4 out of 5

    Anna

    I reviewed each of these separately on my blog: Lady Susan is a very short novel (less than 100 pages) by Jane Austen, considered one of her “minor works.” It was likely written in 1793 or 1794, but it was not published until after her death. Lady Susan is an epistolary novel, and it’s the only novel I’ve read by Austen with a horrid “heroine” — but that’s what makes her so interesting. Lady Susan Vernon is a recent widow who had an affair with a married man, whose wife’s jealousy, along with her I reviewed each of these separately on my blog: Lady Susan is a very short novel (less than 100 pages) by Jane Austen, considered one of her “minor works.” It was likely written in 1793 or 1794, but it was not published until after her death. Lady Susan is an epistolary novel, and it’s the only novel I’ve read by Austen with a horrid “heroine” — but that’s what makes her so interesting. Lady Susan Vernon is a recent widow who had an affair with a married man, whose wife’s jealousy, along with her efforts to find a husband for her daughter, have prompted her to flee and stay with her brother-in-law and his wife. Lady Susan is a very selfish person who acts horribly toward her daughter, Frederica, who refuses to marry the man her mother has chosen for her. In addition to stringing along Manwaring, the man with whom she had the affair, Lady Susan sets her sights on her sister-in-law’s brother, Reginald, much to Mrs. Vernon’s dismay. While Lady Susan’s close friend, Mrs. Johnson, indulges her despite the fact that her husband wants her to end their relationship, Mrs. Vernon sees Lady Susan for who she is and takes pity on Frederica. I enjoyed Lady Susan and its overly dramatic characters, but the limitations of the epistolary novel are evident. There is little character development, and the primary voices in the book are Lady Susan’s and Mrs. Vernon’s, though a few minor characters chime in here and there. Because the book is written in letters, the conversations and actions are being retold after they happened, and they lose some of their immediacy. Still, Lady Susan is highly entertaining. I found it interesting how Austen put a woman in the role of a shameless adulterer, though Lady Susan’s seeking another husband with a fortune is similar to the storylines in her more well-known novels. However, what’s different and intriguing is that Lady Susan is much older than the men she hopes to attract. And while I couldn’t like her or have much sympathy for her in the end, she certainly was amusing. Another must-read for Austen fans! Review posted on Diary of an Eccentric The Watsons is a fragment of a novel written by Jane Austen in 1804 and is believed to be the only work written by Austen when she lived in Bath. The introduction to this edition of three of Austen’s minor works speculates on why she didn’t finish it, but in my opinion, The Watsons is similar to Pride and Prejudice in many ways, and her heroine, Emma Watson, has characteristics of her other heroines. Emma was living away from her family with an aunt who could better provide for her, but when her aunt marries, she is forced to return home to her widowed father and siblings. The 45-page fragment is mainly an introduction to the characters and covers Emma’s introduction into society through the Edwards family, who are friends of the Watsons. Some of the characters we meet, in addition to the Edwards family, are Elizabeth Watson, Emma’s older sister; Tom Musgrave, who flirts with all the eligible young women and seems to want to inflate his social status by riding the coattails of Lord Osborne; Mr. Howard, a clergyman who catches Emma’s eye at a ball; and Lord Osborne, who is attracted to Emma. The Watsons are the poorest family seen in a work by Austen, or at least among her main characters, with Elizabeth caring for their sickly father and handling some domestic tasks. As such, the need for the four sisters to marry — and for at least one of them to marry well — is a main theme of the book. But whereas Elizabeth has resigned herself to the fact that the love of her life has married another and she has lowered her standards for marriage as a result, Emma is more romantic and insists she would not marry a man she didn’t love regardless of his fortune. I really enjoyed The Watsons and was sad to see it end. It had so much potential, and had it been completed, it could have been a wonderful novel. While I didn’t get to know her as well as I would have liked, Emma was a delightful character. I especially loved the scene at the ball where she asks 10-year-old Charles Blake, the nephew of Mr. Howard, to dance after Miss Osborne promised him before the ball that she would dance with him, then decided to dance with someone else. I would have loved to see Mr. Howard and Lord Osborne compete to win Emma’s heart, and I would have loved to see who would have become the scoundrel of the novel. While many readers would avoid reading a fragment because of its abrupt ending, The Watsons didn’t leave me entirely unsatisfied. Austen told her sister, Cassandra, what she’d planned for her characters, and this information is given at the end of the fragment as a conclusion of sorts. If you’re like me and want to read anything and everything by Austen, then I highly recommend The Watsons. As can be expected, her wit is interlaced with entertaining characters and social commentary. Review posted on Diary of an Eccentric Jane Austen was writing Sanditon when she fell ill, beginning the manuscript on January 17, 1817, ending chapter 12 on March 18, 1817, and dying on July 18, 1817, at the age of 41 without having finished it. It’s sad that we’ll never know Austen’s plans for her characters, an eccentric bunch that I found very amusing. Sanditon opens with a carriage accident. Mr. Thomas Parker, intent on finding a doctor for Sanditon — the fishing village he hopes to turn into a bustling seaside resort — has driven the carriage on an impassible road. And come to find out, he and his wife are in the wrong Willingden — the Willingden without a doctor. The Parkers are taken in by the Heywoods so Mr. Parker can recover from a twisted ankle, and the new friendship prompts the Parkers to take the young Charlotte Heywood — the likely heroine of the novel — to see the progress being made in Sanditon. In Sanditon, Charlotte meets a host of entertaining people, including Lady Denham, a twice married woman (the first time for money, the second time for a title) reminiscent of Lady Catherine in Pride and Prejudice and Thomas Parker’s partner in developing Sanditon; Sir Edward Denham, who rambles on about poetry and novels and views himself as a seducer of women; Diana, Susan, and Arthur Parker, Thomas’ hypochondriac siblings; and Sydney Parker, Thomas’ fashionable younger brother who probably would have emerged as the hero. Austen was brilliant when it came to providing humorous social commentary. In this novel, she juxtaposes characters who favor the old way with characters who favor development and showcases hypochondriacs alongside those whose health actually is poor enough to benefit from the seaside air. Sanditon had the potential to be a great novel. Charlotte could have been as wise and strong a heroine as Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. Sydney Parker hardly makes an appearance, so who knows whether he would have given Mr. Darcy a run for his money. Some of the characters were so exaggerated and ridiculous (Sir Edward and Diana, in particular) that I nearly laughed out loud, and to be honest, when I got to the end of chapter 12 and the book ended abruptly, I was sad. I’d grown attached to these characters in just a handful of pages, and the story hadn’t been developed enough for me to guess how things might have played out. I’m glad I knew in advance that the novel was unfinished, and I’m not sorry I read it. In fact, I think it is a worthwhile read for any Austen fan. Review posted on Diary of an Eccentric

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    Lady Susan: The heroine of this epistolary novella is not always likeable. She's older, a widow, unsympathetic to her teenage daughter and a flirt who teases married men. And though I could not warm to her, Austen's writing skills made her so damn interesting. The Watsons: Emma Watson returns to her family after being raised by an aunt who has now married and moved to Ireland. Her family is comfortable but not as well off as their friends. They mix in a varied circle and live for the local assembli Lady Susan: The heroine of this epistolary novella is not always likeable. She's older, a widow, unsympathetic to her teenage daughter and a flirt who teases married men. And though I could not warm to her, Austen's writing skills made her so damn interesting. The Watsons: Emma Watson returns to her family after being raised by an aunt who has now married and moved to Ireland. Her family is comfortable but not as well off as their friends. They mix in a varied circle and live for the local assemblies where they can dance to their hearts' content. This was one of Austen's early unfinished novels and it shows a lot of similarities to later work. Some of the characters are like early prototypes of later ones from her published novels. Sanditon: When the Parkers carriage overturns on a country lane, they become acquainted with the Heywood family. As a thank you for taking care of their injuries, the Parkers take the Heywood's daughter Charlotte to Sanditon where they have established a seaside resort. Yet another unfinished novel, abruptly ended due to Austen's death in 1817, this story held great promise. There were inklings of the outcome and possible relationships in this and I found myself getting thoroughly involved with the characters when it stopped.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Irene

    Three unfinished stories are included in this collection ("Lady Susan," "The Watsons," and "Sanditon"), plus a lot of additional reading under the titles of "Introduction," "Social Background," "A Note on the Text," "Notes," and "Chronology." Despite being called the "Introduction," I think that chapter might actually be best read after having finished each of the stories. It certainly sheds light on story lines and characters, but it's hard to follow without knowing who or what is being discusse Three unfinished stories are included in this collection ("Lady Susan," "The Watsons," and "Sanditon"), plus a lot of additional reading under the titles of "Introduction," "Social Background," "A Note on the Text," "Notes," and "Chronology." Despite being called the "Introduction," I think that chapter might actually be best read after having finished each of the stories. It certainly sheds light on story lines and characters, but it's hard to follow without knowing who or what is being discussed. I found myself going back to re-read parts of the Introduction while reading each of the stories. "Social Background" would probably be most appreciated by a reader who has not already read other Jane Austen novels, and so doesn't totally grasp the social context of the time. But if you're not already an ardent Jane Austen fan, then this really isn't the book to be using as your introduction to her work anyway. Still, this chapter is short enough that it's worth reading, and you still might learn a thing or two about Jane Austen's era. "A Note on the Text" I actually found to be the most interesting bit to read before jumping into the stories. This short chapter tells a little about what kind of editing was needed to get these unfinished stories into a publishable state. "Notes" may very well have been my favorite part of this book! This chapter of footnotes sheds even more light on Jane Austen's writing. Very frequently, the footnotes tell you that instead of the words you just read, Jane Austen originally wrote different words, but then erased them or crossed them out. It was really fascinating to think about what kind of consideration went into Jane Austen's word choice. Additionally, this section provided interesting information, clarification, and reaction to various parts of the text. "Chronology" provides a nice overview of major world events that occurred during Jane Austen's lifetime, plus major events in her personal life as well. As for the stories themselves... "Lady Susan" came first, and it was my least favorite piece. It is an "epistolary novel" - one written as a series of letters among the main characters. It was my first exposure to such a book, and honestly, it just seems like such a constrictive way of telling a story. Maybe in a more traditional novel, the same characters could have been fleshed out to be more complex, but as they were written, many of them were one-dimensional. "The Watsons" is most similar to Jane Austen's other well-known works, and it was for me the most satisfying to read. I was pulled in from the very start! I was so interested in the characters and couldn't wait to find out what would happen next - and then completely unexpectedly, I turned a page, and there was no more. It's a shame Jane Austen never finished this book, and it was but small consolation that it was followed by a brief note regarding what Jane Austen intended would happen to the main characters. "Sanditon," I'm afraid, got off to a very slow start for me. Jane Austen's stories focus primarily on "the young people," and "Sanditon" just took too long in introducing all the young people. I dare say I got bored while waiting for all the key players to arrive at Sanditon, and just when they did, the writing stopped. There seems to be a lot of social commentary in this piece, and having been written just before Jane Austen died, I wonder if that's why there was so much talk of health in this book. Overall, certainly an interesting read for the most fervent of Jane Austen fans. But if you're not interested in learning a bit more about Jane Austen's works, then there isn't as much stand-alone entertainment value in this collection as you would find in her finished novels.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Petra

    3.5 stars. Lady Susan is a masterpiece but the two unfinished works, The Watsons and Sanditon I find hard to review. They have a certain echo of sadness into them as the reader can't really tell where the story is going to carry them. I enjoyed both of them though, especially Sanditon as it talked a lot about hypochondria and sickness. 3.5 stars. Lady Susan is a masterpiece but the two unfinished works, The Watsons and Sanditon I find hard to review. They have a certain echo of sadness into them as the reader can't really tell where the story is going to carry them. I enjoyed both of them though, especially Sanditon as it talked a lot about hypochondria and sickness.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Robson

    This small book entitled Sanditon by Jane Austen, is actually, Sanditon, her last unfinished novel, a novella entitled Lady Susan that I have already reviewed and an abandoned earlier novel entitled The Watsons. “Written in the last months of Austen's life, Sanditon features a glorious cast of hypochondriacs and speculators in a newly established seaside resort, and shows the author contemplating a changing society with scepticism and amusement.” Although I really enjoyed the setting of Sanditio This small book entitled Sanditon by Jane Austen, is actually, Sanditon, her last unfinished novel, a novella entitled Lady Susan that I have already reviewed and an abandoned earlier novel entitled The Watsons. “Written in the last months of Austen's life, Sanditon features a glorious cast of hypochondriacs and speculators in a newly established seaside resort, and shows the author contemplating a changing society with scepticism and amusement.” Although I really enjoyed the setting of Sandition, (presumed to be inspired by Worthing) somehow I preferred the Watsons and will endeavour to explain why. In reading Sandition I felt the beginning, when we meet one of the founders of Sanditon, Mr Parker, is overly long, as if Austen was working her way into the story. In fact the narrative doesn’t take off until the Parkers invite Charlotte Heywood back to Sanditon to stay with them for a while as a thank you for looking after them when their carriage was overturned at Willingden. I felt a little removed from Charlotte and unfortunately the story was just becoming more interesting when it ceased. However a number of her inner thoughts are expressed in a very modern manner. I should mention that the family of the Parkers are hypochondriacs. “The words ‘Unaccountable officiousness! - Activity run mad! - had just passed through Charlotte’s mind - but a civil answer was easy. ‘I dare say I do look surprised,’ said she- ‘because these are very great exertions, and I know what invalids both you and your sister are.’” Here is my favourite passage: ...”The Parkers were no doubt a family of imagination and quick feelings - and while the eldest brother found vent for his superfluity of sensation as a projector, the sisters were perhaps driven to dissipate theirs in the invention of odd complaints. The whole of their mental vivacity was evidently not so employed; part was laid out in a zeal for being useful. -It should seem that they must either be very busy for the good of others, or else extremely ill themselves.” The Watsons is a completely different narrative begun in 1803. It appears that she set it aside in 1805 shortly after her father’s death. There are several theories as to why Austen never finished it (apart from the difficulty of her father’s death). One is that it was rewritten as Emma (which I don’t see at all). In fact it is closer to Pride and Prejudice with a character reminiscent of Darcy but the planned ending is different and I think the storyline different enough to stand on it’s own. Another theory is that it foreshadowed events that were reworked with more skill ie Pride and Prejudice. For me though Emma Watson is a fascinating character and should take her place with Austen’s more famous heroines. She actually is described as having brown skin. (I’m guessing what we would call olive skin) and that immediately sets her apart. She is an outsider (much like Austen herself). After being separated from her family for most of her life (she was brought up by an aunt who later remarries) she finds herself back with a family she barely knows. She soon realises that two of her three sisters are quite difficult and that one man, Tom Musgrave has flirted with all three. Elizabeth, Emma’s oldest sister gives her advice and a warning about Tom Musgrave before she goes to visit the Edwards who will then take Emma on to a ball. Her sister will accompany her part of the way. Here is a delightful passage that still rings true today: “The cold and empty appearance of the room and the demure air of the small cluster of females at one end of it began soon to give way; the inspiriting sound of other carriages was heard, and continual accessions of portly chaperons, and strings of smartly dressed girls were received, with now and then a fresh gentleman straggler, who if not enough in love to station himself near any fair creature seemed glad to escape into the card-room.” I definitely was more interested in what was going to happen to Emma (rather than Charlotte) and therefore more disappointed when I came to the end of Austen’s writing. I particularly like the scene where a young boy is promised a dance by Miss Osborne (the selfish sister of the Darcy-like Lord Osborne) who lets him down. On seeing the child’s disappointment Emma dances with him in her place. Soon after she hears Lord Osborne and Tom Musgrave talking: “‘Why do you not dance with that beautiful Emma Watson? I want you to dance with her, and I will come and stand by you.’ ‘I was determining on it this very moment my Lord; I’ll be introduced and dance with her directly.’ ‘Aye do - and if you find she does not want much talking to, you may introduce me by and bye.’ ‘Very well my Lord -, If she is like her sisters, she will only want to be listened to. - I will go this moment. I shall find her in the tea room.... Away he went - Lord Osborne after him - Emma lost no time in hurrying from her corner, exactly the other way...” This novel is a delight and highly recommended. Three and a half stars for Sanditon and four for The Watsons.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Salma Mattar

    This bundle is shockingly.. not that Jane Austen-ish. P.s.: i reviewed each book separately

  27. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This is my current favorite-to-talk-about book, and I wish wish wish that more people read it so it would come up more frequently in conversations. Considering that Austen has six completed novels and this volume has only one completed epistolary novel and two novel fragments, I doubt many readers will cross paths with it. It's arguable that Austen herself would not have wanted people reading these works salvaged from her notes and papers, but they are a pleasure. It's extremely hard to approach This is my current favorite-to-talk-about book, and I wish wish wish that more people read it so it would come up more frequently in conversations. Considering that Austen has six completed novels and this volume has only one completed epistolary novel and two novel fragments, I doubt many readers will cross paths with it. It's arguable that Austen herself would not have wanted people reading these works salvaged from her notes and papers, but they are a pleasure. It's extremely hard to approach one of the Canonical Austen novels without knowing the names of the heroine and hero already, and because of that there is always a little bit of a tension between the reader and the text when the reader knows perfectly well that Mr. Dashing is going to be a villain yet chapters are spent with him appearing agreeable. But these works are all like little candies. You get to taste the brilliance of prose, savor the wit, and acknowledge the sweetness of characters within a short sitting, without thinking that it's too much of a wait before the happy conclusion. The first work, Lady Susan, does not have a great story, and I cheered that Austen herself seemed to get bored by it and wrapped it up in a pithy conclusion that bypassed all endless Richardson-like plot that seemed to be coming. Then things get better. The Watsons is downright cute. Its ball may be my favorite in all of Austen (I KNOW the Netherfield Ball is fantastic, but this one has a ten-year-old boy who dances with the heroine. It's a toss-up). There is a shy nobleman, an earnest clergyman and a gallant gentleman, so all the ingredients for a fun story are present. Austen appears to have told her family the resolution of the story, so that mitigates some of the sadness of finishing its short chapters. The final novel fragment, Sanditon, is intriguing. It contains the largest ratio of silly characters out of any Austen novel or fragment, and a heroine who is out of place amid the residents of an ambitiously growing seaside resort community. Editor Margaret Drabble and I disagree entirely about the value of Sanditon, in fact. In her introduction she writes, "It is not too much to speculate that, as [Austen] felt death approaching, she did not wish to create characters that she would feel pain at abandoning. Anne Elliot abandoned would have been a tragedy: Mr Parker left wondering is a joke." My first objection is that Drabble considers Mr. Parker the only sympathetic character in the fragment, and uses him for a comparison to Anne Elliot. The protagonist is Charlotte Heywood, who is nowhere near as unlikeable as Margaret Drabble would have you believe. My second point of contention is that Austen wrote more exposition about Sanditon than any other novel setting, and it's much less of a stretch to guess she did that because she enjoyed writing about the town and its inhabitants than that she was simply bored and writing characters about whom she couldn't care. Third problem in Drabble's statement is that abandoning Mr. Parker would simply leave him a joke. He is a joke, but he is not a benign joke. He's poured his wealth into the gamble that Sanditon can take off as a resort, but within the chapters of the fragment it's clear that Sanditon is not successful, and Mr. Parker could be a storm away from ruin. I find the possibilities the fragments present to be fascinating. Compared to ancient fragments, having almost 18,000 words in a text feels like a luxury. Additionally, compared to having only six Austen plots, adding three more (even incomplete) seems luxurious too. Austen's prose--seen here at three stages of her writing--is enviable as usual, though the style has noticeable changes (seen since the collection orders the fragments chronologically). In all, a must-read for Janeites, and a should-read for readers willing to imagine their own adventures after the fragments end.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Savannah Andrews

    Only read it for the Sanditon part

  29. 4 out of 5

    Trisha

    LADY SUSAN I haven't ever read a novel in this style before, at least of the 18th century classics, so it was a new experience for me. It was certainly a fun read, with me always wondering what would happen next and what the real truth was. I loved how it ended, with Lady Susan having the last laugh, in a sense anyway. And I can say for certain that Lady Susan is the naughtiest Austen leading lady I've encountered to date. :) THE WATSONS This is probably the one I really wish had been finished, 'ca LADY SUSAN I haven't ever read a novel in this style before, at least of the 18th century classics, so it was a new experience for me. It was certainly a fun read, with me always wondering what would happen next and what the real truth was. I loved how it ended, with Lady Susan having the last laugh, in a sense anyway. And I can say for certain that Lady Susan is the naughtiest Austen leading lady I've encountered to date. :) THE WATSONS This is probably the one I really wish had been finished, 'cause I think as the intro to this collection states that it could've been yet another Austen classic. I would have been very curious to see Emma encounter her favourite again, and just to see how it all played out in writing, and not just in the quick summary we were given in the notes based on how Austen herself claimed it would have gone if she'd ever finished it. SANDITON This was another unusual read, and as the intro states it's different from anything else Austen ever wrote. It was sadly the last writing she did, and she died before it could be completed. I thought it was a verging-on-absurd (in a good way), laughable read, and I have no doubt it would have been fun to read on. I would have liked to see more of Sidney, and at the novel's end he's basically only just arrived, but as the intro says, there's really no way we can tell how this story might've ended, because it wasn't predictable like Austen's other works might be said to be. All in all, I definitely enjoyed this read, but now I have the strange (not so strange?) urge to go and read P&P again.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Shannon (That's So Poe)

    This is definitely one of my favorite Jane Austen works! Even though not all the novels in this are complete, I thoroughly enjoyed them. Lady Susan - This was hilarious, with an almost super-villain-esque main character who is talented at manipulating everyone around her into doing whatever she wants. She's selfish, cruel, egotistical, and still somehow the most fascinating character. Definitely a funny epistolary story! The Watsons - This is classic Jane Austen, with a young woman who is dealing This is definitely one of my favorite Jane Austen works! Even though not all the novels in this are complete, I thoroughly enjoyed them. Lady Susan - This was hilarious, with an almost super-villain-esque main character who is talented at manipulating everyone around her into doing whatever she wants. She's selfish, cruel, egotistical, and still somehow the most fascinating character. Definitely a funny epistolary story! The Watsons - This is classic Jane Austen, with a young woman who is dealing with trying to figure out her life given limited finances and circumstances. Sanditon - This is such an interesting story which presents almost a slice of life of the town Sanditon itself as much as it does the main character. The satire in this one is particularly strong and makes so many of the scenes hilarious.

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