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Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sanditon

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  7,079 ratings  ·  537 reviews
Together, these three works - one novel unpublished in her lifetime and two unfinished fragments - reveal Jane Austen's development as a great artist.

Lady Susan, with its wicked, beautiful, intelligent and energetic heroine, is a sparkling melodrama which takes its tone from the outspoken and robust eighteen century. Written later, and probably abandoned after her father's

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Paperback, 211 pages
Published November 28th 1974 by Penguin Classics (first published 1871)
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Average rating 3.75  · 
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·Karen·
May 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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♥ 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
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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
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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
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Kathleen Flynn
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
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Carina
Mar 09, 2014 rated it liked it
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'
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Anna
Jan 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: austenesque
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
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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
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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.
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Irene
Apr 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Only the most ardent of Jane Austen fans
Recommended to Irene by: Shan
Shelves: fiction
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
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Trisha
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
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,
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Jenny
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, fiction
Reading Lady Susan/The Watsons/Sanditon you learn some information about living in the Eighteenth Century. Also, insight into Jane Austen life and books.

Lady Susan is a short story written in the letter literacy format that was popular in the Eighteen Century. Lady Susan was a widow who tried to organise marriage for her daughter to a man she does not like. However, it did not work out the way Lady Susan wanted.

Sandition and Watsons are stories that Jane Austen did not complete before she died.
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Valerie Kyriosity
12/2019 — Listened again in preparation for leading book group. Happily, nobody hated me for torturing them with uncompleted stories.

I think I've decided that The Watsons intrigued me most, identifying as I do with the plight of impoverished spinsters. Someday I'll try to track down some of the attempts to finish both fragments.

11/2019 — I've read Lady Susan before, and I enjoyed it again. I think Whit Stillman pretty well nailed it in the film adaptation, which was frequently before my mind's
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Susan
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: brit-lit, romance
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 ...more
Julie Bozza
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, austen
I am not entirely sure that I read this back in The Day, decades ago, when I was first discovering Austen. I certainly bought the book back then! But it is only somewhat aged and faded, and not falling apart like the rest of my Penguin paperback versions of Austen. All I really remember is the carriage smash that opens "Sanditon" - but I might have read about that elsewhere.

So this has been in effect new to me - and in fact I saved it for after viewing the new film "Love and Friendship", which
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Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
Lady Susan is a short epistolary novella written by Jane Austen. What intrigued me is that Lady Susan really is the most morally bankrupt (maybe 'amoral' is better?) of any of Austen heroines (and I use the term 'heroine' loosely here). She will think, say and do anything to achieve her means. This novella, presented as series of letters, was written by the young Jane Austen, and first published long after her death. One surmises that she probably did not intend for it to see the light of day in ...more
Kim
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classic
This is the first I have ever heard of these three writings of Jane Austen. I have been a fan of her writings for many years and I was surprised to find other stories that I have read. Lady Susan was a very curious book, I guess one calls it an epistolary novel, but it was quite different than other writings by Jane Austen. I was deeply captured by The Watsons, I would have been delighted even more if it had been a complete novel. I would have loved to see the end results of such a story that ...more
Maximilian Nightingale
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english
Excellent! "Lady Susan" itself would justify a full rating for the work, but the other pieces are helpful as well. "The Watsons" is perhaps the weakest of the bunch, resembling the features of her major works but still incomplete. I enjoyed "Sanditon" much more and can only lament that Austen did not finish it. It is far different from here major works in tone, perhaps most easily compared to Northanger Abbey, but even more different than that. The excesses of her characters remind me of those ...more
Ange
Jun 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, classic, 2016
3.5 stars
Laurie
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been a Jane Austen devotee since I first read Pride and Prejudice in adolescence, but while I've read and reread all of her published novels over the years, I hadn't yet read these unfinished works. Perhaps I didn't want to be left wondering how they would have ended. Or maybe I thought it was intrusive to read things Austen didn't release to the public herself. Even after reading and thoroughly enjoying this collection, I admit that I still wonder how Austen would feel about her rough ...more
Deborah Markus
Jun 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
I own editions of these works, but this particular collection is worth having for a reason that will make me sound like a wimp: the two unfinished novels, "The Watsons" and "Sanditon," are finally, blessedly broken up into paragraphs. They only exist in draft form, and previous editors have simply presented the block text Austen left behind. Call me a wuss: I can't read a 30-page paragraph comfortably. Margaret Drabble sympathized with this sentiment and did the work to make these important ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
May 22, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Jane Austen Fans
This definitely shouldn't be your introduction to Jane Austen, and imagine it would only be picked up by avid fans like myself having read and reread her six mature completed novels and hungry for more. Lady Susan, which feels truncated, is a very early epistolary novel, and The Watsons was abandoned and Sandition left incomplete upon Austen's death. (And incidentally, if you have the version with an introduction with Margaret Drabble, you might want to read it aftewards--she gives too much ...more
Annette
Aug 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Lady Susan is an epistolary. Epistolary was a popular way of writing a novel during the 18th century. It is written in the form of a letter or letters.
Jane began writing Lady Susan in 1793 or 1794, it was published in 1871 posthumously by her nephew J. E. Austen-Leigh.
Lady Susan is a wealthy widow in her late thirties. She has a daughter named Frederica that is approaching an age where she will be marriageable. Lady Susan is a gossip, flirtatious, calculating, devious, deceitful, a plotter,
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Wayne
Feb 12, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All BRAVE Austen Fans
Recommended to Wayne by: Jane, of course !!

A MOVIE !!!!
"Lady Susan" has been turned into a VERY humorous film by Whit Stillman, an Austen Fan and a maker of 4 films which have an originality that thankfully departs from the Hollywood Factory Productions. -- Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco and Damsels in Distress. This latest takes its name of "Love and Friendship" from another product of Jane Austen's youthful endeavours; otherwise it stays close to the story presented by the letters without the letters...thank the gods
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Elena
First read: many years ago, probably pre-2012
Second read: 4-5 December 2016


Lady Susan: 4 stars

Find my review here.


The Watsons: 3 stars

This one is an enjoyable read, but I can see why Jane Austen herself decided to abandon the project. While her humour is clear even from these first few pages, the characters are not as well drawn as her others, and many situations echo parts of her finished novels. Still, I am sure that, had she decided to develop it better and finish it, I would have liked it as
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Girl with her Head in a Book
This next foray into Austen in August comes courtesy of Penguin books (and Nudge) who were kind enough to send me a review copy of both this and Love and Freindship, both of which are being reissued at the start of September. Although I had read all three of the stories contained in this book, this edition with its accompanying foreword from Margaret Drabble elevates them from mere literary curiousity to stories with an appeal all of their own.


As Drabble points out, Austen was an author caught
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Heather
Aug 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
As I understand it, these three pieces of writing were found sometime after Jane Austen's death and later published for the whole world to read. But, should they have been published? Don't get me wrong, the writing is witty, sardonic, and as great as you might expect if you're a Jane Austen fan. However, two are just chunks of stories that the she hadn't got around to writing and the other is clearly a first draft. And that makes it hard to rate.

'Lady Susan': A story told entirely via letter
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Kelly
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
The rating is for Lady Susan - the only thing "complete" in this edition.
I would probably give The Watsons 3.5 stars and Sanditon 2-3 stars (I didn't care for it at all).
Lady Susan however was full of Austen's sharp wit and the fact that she wrote it when she was 19 or 20 shows what a genius she was. Some say there's too much malice in it, but because it's so short, I'm OK with it. Yes, if Austen had turned it into a full length novel that may have been true. As it is, I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Ashley
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
4 stars for Lady Susan, a hilarious epistolary novella. Also highly recommend watching "Love & Friendship" before or after reading to help better understand the plot. Since The Watsons & Sanditon were unfinished and likely unintended to ever be seen, I hold my star judgement on them (I didn't like them, though).
Laila (BigReadingLife)
Lady Susan is wickedly amusing, a bit scandalous, and worth a read for everyone. The other two, both unfinished works, are interesting for Austen fans. The Watsons had promise; sort of felt P&P-ish. Sanditon was more broadly comedic and satirical but the characters weren’t very interesting yet. Who knows what might have been? I’m glad I finally read this. It had been on my TBR list for years.
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Austenesque Lovers Group Read- Lady Susan 1 3 Jun 10, 2016 03:26AM  

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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
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“I can no longer refuse myself the pleasure of profiting by your kind invitation when we last parted of spending some weeks with you at Churchhill, and, therefore, if quite convenient to you and Mrs. Vernon to receive me at present, I shall hope within a few days to be introduced to a sister whom I have so long desired to be acquainted with. My kind friends here are most affectionately urgent with me to prolong my stay, but their hospitable and cheerful dispositions lead them too much into society for my present situation and state of mind; and I impatiently look forward to the hour when I shall be admitted into Your delightful retirement.” 1 likes
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