Top critical review
Loved the story, hated Fanny Price
on 1 March 2015
Fanny Price is adopted by her rich Aunt and brought up with her cousins as the poor relation. Obviously Fanny falls madly in love with her cousin Edmund after living with the family for 9 years (she's now 17 ish?). Enter local vicar's sister and brother in-law, sister falls for Edmund and brother falls for Fanny. There's the usual love triangles, will they won't they, misunderstandings, a big scandal and they all live happily ever after.
This is a long book, there are a lot of conversations which, although interesting and useful for character exploration, could probably be removed. Is that sacrilege? I also didn't like Fanny and Edmund, and most of the other characters (apart from Aunt Bertram, I found her quite amusing in that she couldn't do anything). The only thing Fanny stuck to throughout the entire novel was her dislike of Henry and Mary Crawford.
I think you have to like the lead characters in a novel, otherwise you don't care enough to read 560 pages (even though I did read them all). Jane Austen's prose is still delightful, her characters are amusing even if they are a bit weak-willed and rubbish humans. I still love her ability to write conversations in such a way that you can see the thought processes of the character, see them being manipulated (it seems everyone in 19th century England were master manipulators) until they eventually decide the exact opposite of what they just thought.
This is my least favourite Austen novels so far (it doesn't compare to S&S and P&P) but I can see her characterisation becoming even more skilled and diverse.