Jane Austen’s novels are comfort reads for me because regardless of all the adversity, the protagonists always get the happy ending they so much deserve. Mansfield Park is the sixth novel I read by her, and it did not disappoint.
Here’s the GoodReads description: Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home in Portsmouth, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with her cousin Edmund as her sole ally. During her uncle’s absence in Antigua, the Crawford’s arrive in the neighbourhood bringing with them the glamour of London life and a reckless taste for flirtation. Mansfield Park is considered Jane Austen’s first mature work and, with its quiet heroine and subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, one of her most profound.
Fanny Price, unlike the other heroines, is shy, quiet, and observant. She follows her gut and dislikes certain characters from the very beginning, although they hadn’t done anything (yet). As an introvert myself, I felt identified with her in several scenes, making her my favorite character of all of Jane Austen’s works.
Rather than romance, this novel is more about morality — what’s right versus what’s wrong, both in action and in thought. Although the novel centers primarily on Fanny, some chapters were focused on secondary characters with dubious morality. I guess the whole point of the story was to demonstrate the contrast between these characters. Fanny is well aware of the other’s intentions, but won’t allow herself to get corrupted and proceeds with caution. The rest don’t really understand her until the end, when these people finally showed their true colors. Yes, Fanny was right all along.
I must admit that some chapters felt slow, which is why this book may not be for everybody. I also expected more dialogue at the end. Jane Austen shares rich conversations in earlier scenes, but once we get to the crucial part for Fanny, it’s all simply described.
I enjoyed it nonetheless. However, if it’s your first time reading Jane Austen, I’d suggest going for Pride and Prejudice so you get used to her style. She is one of my favorite authors and I certainly look forward to reading other shorter novels by her, like Lady Susan and The Watsons.
“Her own thoughts and reflections were habitually her best companions.”Jane Austen, Mansfield Park