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Lady Susan

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  34,311 ratings  ·  3,561 reviews
Beautiful, flirtatious, and recently widowed, Lady Susan Vernon seeks an advantageous second marriage for herself, while attempting to push her daughter into a dismal match. A magnificently crafted novel of Regency manners and mores that will delight Austen enthusiasts with its wit and elegant expression.
Paperback, 180 pages
Published November 8th 2005 by Dover Publications (first published 1871)
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Average rating 3.63  · 
Rating details
 ·  34,311 ratings  ·  3,561 reviews

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Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere.

O Lady Susan Vernon, what a juicy jewel of a villainous character you are, a black diamond, repelling and fascinating at the same time, your wicked charm inspiring possibly an uncanny form of envy more than simple revulsion. Deceiving everyone with your angelic face and pleasingly mild manners of hypocrite virtue, your honeyed smile covers up a cold-hearted, calculating, selfish nature – and how cunningly sophisticated and feisty you are in compar
Tharindu Dissanayake
Jun 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
"This eclaircissement is rather provoking."

Well...I guess only Austen could write something like this and getaway with a good rating. But it's not bad by any means. It seems, the author has had enough of principled characters, and decided to create kind of a super-villain with this one. And had done it really well.

"Where pride and stupidity unite there can be no dissimulation worthy notice."

This book defers from every other Austen book. It's short, and has an odd style of writing which uses lett
Petra needs staff not addicted to their phones
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
Henry Avila
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lady Susan Vernon 35, but looks much 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 is given) he had foolishly let her spend all his money... a daughter 16, Frederica almost as beautiful as she, who the Lady ignores , hates and torments, a bothersome thing. The notorious flirt, has chased men both married and single throughout England, (her late husband looked th ...more
Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
I read the book then watch the movie for BookTubeAThon 2018 and I have to say... they have some differences and the movie might be a bit better. It's so silly and funny and can't recommend it enough! ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Jane Austen's novel about a femme fatale, the lovely and devious Lady Susan.


This early epistolary Austen novel follows the young(ish), attractive and recently widowed Lady Susan Vernon as she schemes her way around England, leaving emotional wreckage in her wake. Lady Susan is a unique main character for Austen, two-faced, mean-spirited and amoral ... yet witty and intelligent.

Lady Susan is trying to marry off her young daughter Frederica, whom she despises as stupid and insipid - well, she is
Oct 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
*3.5 stars *

Lady Susan is recently widowed - she’s an attractive woman, who uses that gift to its full advantage, especially when it comes to luring unsuspecting men!

A novel told entirely in the form of letters, Lady Susan is an outrageous character - a mean, two faced schemer and gold digger, with a complete lack of moral compass, but of course, she makes for such an interesting character. A rather abrupt ending, but it’s an entertaining read, peppered with some amusing dialogue.
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
In this epistolary novella by Jane Austen, we are presented with "the most accomplished coquette in England" - Lady Susan. Driven by the necessity to survive in her status of widowhood, she draws on many schemes to advance her position, the first and foremost being contracting a second marriage for her. At the same time, she works on several plans to get rid herself of her encumbrance - her daughter. Some of her schemes backfire, but the artful Lady Susan somehow manages to secure her an advanta ...more
Nov 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I haven't read an Austen novel that I disliked.

I mean, she's good enough to turn what should be an epistolary slog through social mores into a delightful and spiteful and nearly-tragic romp. Who else can do that?

The voices of each character in each letter evokes such verve and personality and a great sense of persistent presence that I'm frankly quite shocked. The plot was rather simple. It's about making good matches and getting involved in other's love-lives. *shock* *no* *say it isn't so*

Jul 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a clever and delightful novella from Jane Austen that wasn't published until decades after her death. I was excited to read it after Whit Stillman adapted it into the movie "Love & Friendship."

The story is told in a series of letters, with the main character being the beautiful, selfish and manipulative Lady Susan Vernon. Lady Susan is skilled at making men fall in love with her, and is used to getting her way. In the story, she is trying to catch a husband for her daughter, but she's al
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Most people don't even know that Jane Austen ever wrote this book. Yes, it is a book indeed. Only 80 pages long, which is next to nothing when compared to the other 6 novels, but, in only 80 pages Jane Austen manages to build a great stage for yet another funny, witty, sarcastic and engaging tale through a series of letters back and forth between several people.

The situation is that the titular Lady Susan, a widow, is a terrible flirt and apparently a master match-maker. We discover her flirtin
Nov 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lady Susan. What an interesting character- stirring up trouble, flirting, scheming, lying, plotting, seducing and trouble making...quite a contrast to Elizabeth Bennett!
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing


Reading this wonderful novel I felt as if I were holding a multifaceted prism, and with each new epistle, I was twisting it to another of its sides, and looked in wonder into wonder it.

With every slight shift in viewpoint, the light unveiled a different aspect: of the engaging story; of the captivating characters; of the elusive nature of fiction; of the actual art of narration.

Not only was each letter advancing a plot but it also made me wonder if there was an unmediated w
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ingleses, clássicos, 2017
(review in English below)

Gostei mesmo desta minha primeira experiência com a escrita de Jane Austen - que foi também a sua primeira obra.

Retrospectivamente, acho que podia haver alguma caracterização física dos personagens e dos ambientes. Mas, na verdade, durante a leitura não lhes senti a falta.

A história é-nos transmitida apenas através de cartas, trocadas entre alguns dos personagens, com excepção do final (que me desapontou um pouco por causa disso mesmo) mas a autora conseguiu manter uma e
A curiosity among Jane Austen's works both as it is a novel of letters and in that the title character is evil - or if not evil then anti-social in the sense that she is a disruptive force in restrained polite Georgian society. She is alluring and scheming ostensibly to win a new husband for herself and one for her daughter too, ostensibly I say because there is no imperative to do so, neither woman is pregnant and they seem to have plenty of money, her motivation seems to be more more about an ...more
Dannii Elle
This early Austen novella was penned in an epistolary manner, which provoked an abundance of shared gossip and cutting remarks to feature. Almost all were centred around the figure of Lady Susan, who looked younger than her age and used it to her advantage when pursuing the married men of her village.

I found this viciously witty, gorgeously juicy, and delightfully wicked, which, in short, means it differs greatly from the Austen I have grown to come and love in her more renowned full-length nov
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Austen fans; readers interested in British literature
Note, Aug. 28, 2019: I just edited this review slightly to correct a typo.

Lady Susan tends to be the most neglected of Austen's completed works. Written roughly between 1793-5, at the ages of 18-20, it's not exactly "juvenalia," as it's sometimes characterized; but it's definitely a very early, journeyman production of the author's. She never submitted it for publication in her lifetime, and it didn't see print until 1871. (There's no doubt a story behind that, though I haven't so far discovered
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Reread -- I read it in this edition:

If Northanger Abbey is considered a Minor work, then this is a minor Minor work, with Northanger Abbey being a major Minor.

Austen's writing here reminds me of her juvenilia (see Love and Freindship), though here it's much more accomplished (especially considering how young she still was at the time of its writing) and not as (purposely) silly and over-the-top as the juvenilia. With her early work one sees the process of
L A i N E Y ~back in a bit~
My first epistolary novel, quite fun infact. I thought it would be unengaging but no, Austen managed to be her witty self and created such wicked titular character, Lady Susan Vernon.

Eventhough the ending was little rush and not as I would have liked, I still like it, big part of it because I like Lady Susan herself. (view spoiler)
April (Aprilius Maximus)
I can't wait to see the movie 'Love and Friendship', based on Lady Susan! It looks fantastic! ...more
Apr 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Katie Lumsden
Aug 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I just love this novella. It's hilarious, brilliantly written and such great fun. ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics, in-shelf
Jane Austen's every book is just a Milestone.

Extraordinary , extravagant piece of writing !
That was the realness of English language and its impact and effective shown in the book with a lovable theme and Gratefulness.
Great decorum of Lady Susan.
She was not only understood superiority of family intellects but, also how to engaged in their perspective relations.
I've been still remember each dialogue of Lady Susan and her daughter.
Despite of loss of her husband, she moved forwards with her superf
Jason Koivu
Apr 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
A woman tries to have her cake and eat it too. In Lady Susan a middle-aged woman clinging to her charms make friends and family suffer for her desire to have a last fling. The whole is told in letters. I didn't think I would, but I loved the epistolary approach. It really worked well here. On the whole, the plot could've been a little craftier. It's fairly straightforward, but then it's also very short. Maybe that's to its benefit. This is quite impressive, considering it's believed to be one of ...more
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Well, that was fun. Jane Austen is always a good read.

Lady Susan is such a scheming social climber. She has absolutely no shame. She's self-centered and narcissistic. It's delightful to read through her letters.
Her friends and family's personalities also come through so clearly in these letters. The hidden motives and thoughts wonderfully fill out the storyline.

Jane Austen wrote this when still a teenager. It's amazing how she was able to focus on the thoughts, motives and narcissistic feeling
Dec 04, 2015 rated it liked it
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
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Lady Susan is the fifth story I’ve read from Ms. Austen, and it is the fifth that I loved more than I expected. Lady Susan is a beautiful, intelligent, flirtatious, selfish, conniving, manipulative widow on the prowl for her second husband. She is also a neglectful, borderline abusive mother to a teenaged daughter, viewing her only as a burden and possible leverage into a better life through marrying said daughter off against her will. Lady Susan sees no value in the lives and opinions of others ...more
Not my first engagement with Jane Austen's Lady Susan, but it was my first time experiencing it in audio format. And what a delightful surprise to discover that this audio was a cast of narrators to take the major voices of the story.

I found the humor stood out even more and enjoyed encountering those witty lines that draw my appreciation the most. Of particular worthiness are Lady Susan to her friend agasp when anyone catches her out in her machinations and her determination to make them pay be
Gary  the Bookworm
Jul 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Classically Read...: Lady Susan 8 10 Sep 04, 2021 08:04AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please combine these editions 2 11 May 08, 2021 04:03AM  
The Official Jane...: Lady Susan (1794 Short Epistolary Novel) 1 11 Sep 22, 2020 10:29AM  
Play Book Tag: [Poll Ballot] Lady Susan by Jane Austen- 4 stars 4 18 May 05, 2020 12:00PM  
Books2Movies Club: Lady Susan 2 23 Apr 17, 2018 04:58PM  

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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 gentr

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