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Lady Susan

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  16,133 Ratings  ·  1,482 Reviews
Austen's "most wicked tale," Lady Susan is a short epistolary novel by Jane Austen, possibly written in 1794 but not published until 1871. Lady Susan is a selfish, attractive woman, who tries to trap the best possible husband while maintaining a relationship with a married man. She subverts all the standards of the romantic novel; she has an active role, she's not only bea ...more
ebook, 104 pages
Published by Feedbooks (first published 1871)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Petra X
This is a very clever book indeed. Quite different from the rest of Austen's oeuvre, it is not the sort of book that you can imagine a teenager might be able to write. To conceive the character of a woman of 35ish and her use of sexual attraction and seduction for a 19 year old, as Jane was when she finished this, shows remarkable powers of observation and deduction. How much harder in the more sheltered world of the 18thC than the tell-all media-driven world of now?

Unlike all Austen's other boo
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Henry Avila
May 03, 2016 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lady Susan Vernon, 35, but looks younger, is exceedingly pretty , gentle, with great manners, well spoken, intelligent, the perfect woman, , until you know her, newly widowed from a kind man, Mr.Vernon, ( no first name given) he had foolishly let her spend all his money... a daughter 16, Frederica, almost as pretty as she, which the Lady ignores , hates, and torments, a bothersome thing, the notorious flirt, has chased men both married and single, through England, (her late husband looked the ot ...more
Sherwood Smith
I've noticed over the years that a lot of Austen fans (the ones who tend to want to confine Jane Austen to a tiny box of preciousness, or who only value her as a romance writer, or who have only seen the films) seem oblivious to this tight, short, ninety-percent-finished epistolary novel. Or they pretend it doesn't exist, because it is not very romantic.

I understand there's to be a movie version, which gives me deep misgivings. If it's played seriously, with a Dangerous Liaisons overlay of postm
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Helle
Sep 13, 2015 Helle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Where there is disposition to dislike motive will never be wanting.

This epistolary novella about the conceited coquette, Lady Susan, is delightful and reminiscent of Choderlos de Laclos’s Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Even the acidic, viper-like tongue of our main character has something in common with the scheming, self-absorbed Mme Merteuil of that novel. Though the tone may be harsher, the character of Lady Susan darker, than what was to come, it is clearly the precursor of the irony and satire t
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Gary  the Bookworm
Jul 22, 2013 Gary the Bookworm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Janeites rejoice! Lady Susan is a winner. I've been saving this for a rainy day and today it rained. I had a difference of opinion with a new goodreads friend who wrote that she found Austen's endings to be predictable.(view spoiler) Well Traveller, take a trip with Lady Susan because she's a lot of things, but predictable she's not. Lady (aka Saucy) Susan, is a recent widow who ...more
Kim
Mar 14, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this excellent audiobook version of Jane Austen's epistolary novel narrated by Harriet Walter, Kim Hicks and Carole Boyd. It's so short that I was able to complete it by listening to it at the gym and then on my way to work and home again in the course of a single day. The novel is very different from Austen's other works. The central character is an anti-heroine: the amoral Lady Susan Vernon, a predatory widow who endeavours to seduce a married man and arrange
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Pepa
Mar 31, 2016 Pepa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: clasicos, jane-austen
Apenas un relato de sesenta páginas escrito de forma epistolar.
Tiene su qué.
Primero por la corta extensión de la novela y lo bien que consigue Jane Austen plantear y desarrollar la situación.
El tono mordaz de muchas de las epístolas me ha gustado mucho, así como el fiel reflejo de ciertos personajes tópicos de su época
Otra vez queda patente la importancia del matrimonio
Kerry
Feb 03, 2016 Kerry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book although not as much as Austen's more popular novels. It feels rather unfinished and lacking a bit of polish in comparison. The narrative is predominantly told via letters from different characters to their friends and family. They are relating events surrounding Lady Susan and her daughter Frederica. Lady Susan is rather a piece of work all told and attempts to manipulate the people around her for her own benefit. It's intriguing to witness this from the perspectives of diff ...more
Becky
Apr 26, 2009 Becky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh Lady Susan, you minx, you. You delight in causing misery in others while pitying yourself when they go contrary to your designs. Not very nice. Not nice at all.

This was another delightful Austen story. This was written as an epistolary novel, and we essentially get the full picture from everyone's differing views. Jane has a way with descriptions so that you feel like you're sitting right there, writing the letter, or maybe reading it over the writer's shoulder, or maybe the recipient. I lov
...more
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
Now I'm ready to see "Love & Friendship" tomorrow!
Hanne
Sep 30, 2012 Hanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, chicklit
I can understand why this Jane Austen novel isn't as famous as most of her other ones. It just isn't as good as her other novels.

This book follows Lady Susan Vernon, her daugther Frederica and her sister-in-law Mrs Vernon; and it is the first time with a Jane Austen novel that i find myself cheering for the downfall of the lead character.

What bothered me the most about this book is not so much the story or the characters, but the method she used to write this book: via letters. We get to see let
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Moonlight Reader
I am a woefully underread Janite, as it turns out. Sure, I've read the big six - her half-dozen beautifully written novels - many times. But in all of the years I've been reading Austen, I had never ventured into her other, sadly scarce, works. Laziness, maybe. Haughtiness, maybe. I'd read the best, why would I go backwards from there?

Well, at least in the case of Lady Susan, because it was freaking awesome. This is Jane Austen at the beginning of her career - rumor has it that she wrote Lady Su
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AMEERA
Jun 10, 2016 AMEERA rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2/5
I don't like it at all
Abigail Bok
Imagine a Jane Austen heroine who is not a young virgin, but rather a recent widow in her thirties, in the midst of an affair with a married man. Imagine her at the same time scheming to separate another woman from the man she loves so that she can maneuver him into marrying her own daughter against her will. Doesn’t sound very Austenesque? Well, this is Jane Austen, the early edition.

In 1793 and 1794, when Austen was still in her teens, she penned a novelette in letters that is known today as L
...more
Ron Nie
Sep 16, 2014 Ron Nie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 18th-c
Lady Susan is Machiavelli in a bonnet.
She's a mean, selfish, manipulative milf - and good god is she fun to read.
This is a super short lil novella (50 ish pages or so) about the aforementioned Lady Susan's many and sundry love affairs, but which finds its center in Susan's good natured 16 year old daughter Frederica. Frederica is the Luke Skywalker to Lady Susan's Darth Vader: almost sickeningly sweet, so kind and earnest, the classical heroine of a sentimental novel.
The plot really sets into
...more
Laurel
Jan 11, 2010 Laurel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An early work that is outrageously fun and artfully melodramatic

Jane Austen’s epistolary novel Lady Susan has never received much attention in comparison to her other six major novels. It is a short piece, only 70 pages in my edition of The Oxford Illustrated Jane Austen: Minor Works containing forty-one letters and a conclusion. Scholars estimate that it was written between 1793-4 when the young author was in her late teens and represents her first attempts to write in the epistolary format pop
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Kirk
I think this is my 4th or 5th read of Lady Susan.

TMI warning: I was a member of a four person(and only male) cast who "performed" an adaptation of Lady Susan at my local JASNA meeting....one day off of Jane Austen's bday. It was quite a bizarre experience to read the words I labored over for nearly three months. We, most happily, didn't dress up nor have to memorize the words. Sadly, I would be worse at that than Mr. Rushworth! While I was the far worse reader, I was happy to not have fainted.
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Ahnya
May 13, 2016 Ahnya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jaff
This is the first time I read this. It is a short easy read, written as a series of letters between several characters. It is amazing to think how young Jane was when she wrote this. I cannot help wondering if she actually knew someone like Lady Susan. What a piece of work that woman was. The ending is fairly abrupt. It makes one think what would it be like if Jane lived longer, and finished some of these other works.

I cannot wait to see the film that is based on it. It should be a kick!
Meli
Feb 27, 2015 Meli rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Muy sarcástico y muy entretenido.
Me sorprendió Lady Susan, tremenda bruja se mandó Jane con ese personaje. Buenísimo, el personaje más despreciable de Austen me parece. Tiene varios con complejo de bruja, pero manipuladores e insensibles como esta señora ninguno!
Léa
La relecture de ce court roman épistolaire de Jane Austen a été un vrai plaisir. Si la forme diffère des autres romans de l'auteure, son talent y est tout aussi présent. Et que dire de la conclusion pleine d'ironie ? Savoir en plus que Jane Austen a écrit ce roman à 18 ou 19 ans, ne fait que renforcer l'admiration que j'ai pour son immense talent.
Stefania
Avevo letto questo libro qualche anno fa, nell'edizione della Newton Compton insieme a Sanditon e I Watson, ma non mi ricordavo molto della storia.
Questo è un romanzo epistolare in cui, tramite le lettere dei vari personaggi coinvolti, conosciamo Sua Signoria Lady Susan Vernon, vedova recente e gatta morta di prima categoria.
La parte migliore del libro, a mio avviso, è la fine, in cui interviene direttamente la Austen:

"Questa corrispondenza, per l'incontro di alcuni e la separazione di altri, no
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Damla Ü.
Jul 06, 2015 Damla Ü. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jane Austen'ın ömrünün vefa etmesini ve daha çok kitap yazmasını o kadar isterdim ki. Zekasını bu kadar takdir ettiğim ve üslubuna bayıldığım başka bir yazar yok. Leydi Susan bol entrikalı, eğlenceli, bir oturuşta bitirilecek bir kitap. Aşk ve Arkadaşlık'taki gibi karakterlerin birbirlerine yazdıkları mektuplar yoluyla ilerliyor. Diğer romanlarının aksine ana karakterimiz Leydi Susan fettanlığın tam karşılığı. Bu da hoş bir farklılık olmuş. Sonunda bir şey daha beklerdim sadece, onun dışında Jan ...more
Elizabeth A
Jun 19, 2016 Elizabeth A rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2016, novella
Book blurb: Jane Austen's earliest known serious work, Lady Susan is a short, epistolary novel that portrays a woman bent on the exercise of her own powerful mind and personality to the point of social self-destruction.

I read someplace that Ms. Austen wrote this when she was 19, and my already considerable esteem for her went up another notch. That someone so young could walk in the shoes of the much older Lady Susan is simply astounding. Austen writes wonderfully complex women characters, and t
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Sara
Lady Susan is not your typical Jane Austen’s character, she is actually quite despicable, an anti-heroine, who lies and schemes.
I didn’t expect this, as usually Jane Austen’s protagonists are good and honest, but I have to say it made this short story interesting.
However the book has its happy ending… at least for some of the characters.
Eleonora
4.5
Troppo corto. Troppo, troppo corto. I personaggi di zia Jane mi divertono tanto, anche quando non li sopporto.
AudibleQun
Pros:

This is a quick, easy, and interesting read. I like that this is formatted as a series of letters because it allows for multiple people to have a first person POV.

Cons:

As with many books, I am forced to listen to books because Bubble Guppies and Minions Rush are very distracting. The Audible version that I thought was for Immersion Reading was narrated by an American. Call it snobby if you want to, but I just can't listen to a Jane Austen novel/novella that is being narrated in anything o
...more
Marquise
THE MARQUISE DE MERTEUIL TO THE VICOMTE DE VALMONT

Come back, my dear Vicomte, come back...



Er, scrap that. Wrong novel.

I confess that I was so totally taken aback by the heading of the first chapter in this novel, which read: "Lady Susan Vernon to Mr Vernon," and by the epistolary format that I paused and closed the book and went back to observe the cover to make sure I'd not made a mistake and instead picked up Choderlos de Laclos in a moment of distraction whilst packing books for my holiday
...more
Elena
First read: 2013
Second read: 1-2 december 2015

I think Lady Susan is such an underrated book. Yes, I know it is unfinished; well, technically it does have an ending, but it lacks an important middle part and so you can't really consider it completed.

And yet, considering how early it is (Jane Austen was eighteen when she wrote it), I think this book is a little gem. The epistolary form is really well done, and it is a pity Austen did not use it again in her later works. But the absolute perfection
...more
  LunaBel
Aug 27, 2015 LunaBel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
contains spoilers


Manipulation at its Finest






Do not think me unkind for such an exercise of my power...








Lady Susan would not have things any way other than hers. She has powers. She knows how to exert them on others, and she does not prevent herself the glory emanating from them no matter how ill-used they are. She does not care about anything or anyone other than herself, and she is ready to sacrifice anyone to fulfill her aims, which are either directed toward greed, glory, or feeding her pride
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MRB
Jan 05, 2014 MRB rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'll join fellow reviewers in warning potential readers that the romance in Lady Susan is minimal. It's the Austen least likely to make you swoon (did I just use the word 'swoon'?! I really have been reading too many classics lately!), but in many ways I think Lady Susan features Jane Austen at her most purely clever, sharp and satirical.

As others have noted, the book takes place entirely in the form of letters that various characters exchange, but rest assured that there's still a lot of Austen
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Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.

Austen lived her entire life as part of a close-knit family located on the lower fringes of the English landed gentry
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More about Jane Austen...

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“Facts are such horrid things!” 14 likes
“My dear Alicia, of what a mistake were you guilty in marrying a man of his age! Just old enough to be formal, ungovernable, and to have the gout; too old to be agreeable, too young to die.” 13 likes
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