I feel like banging my fist against the table and screaming because this book was JUST SO GOOD. I mean, really. This was such SUCH a good read. I can’t stand it.
Jane Austen has been my literary hero for so long. Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion, Emma, Sense & Sensibility, Northanger Abbey… all some of my favorite books. Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion particularly. Somehow, Mansfield Park never found its way into my hands. I am really regretting not having read this sooner. It is true brilliance. Perfection.
The characters were so well crafted, interesting, and, most importantly, believable. Nothing about the characters’ actions or the plot ever seemed out of place. It was natural, flowing, hypnotizing. Fanny Price was weak, and timid, and sometimes frustrating, but that frustrating was satisfying because it fit exactly with her personality without going too far as to make her actions seem forced to service the plot. Edmund was great. He was gallant and charming and exactly what he was supposed to be as the main male character, but he also had his flaws, and that made him beyond lovely. He was entranced by Mary Crawford’s beauty and amiableness in such a natural way. I loved how he could be in love with her, but oppose the play, then change his mind, then admit to her faults, but still want to marry her. It was a great example of a working relationship. Faults are there and are accepted or ignored, but they’re still there and acknowledged. Edmund wasn’t written to be stupid and blind and a victim. Miss Crawford didn’t use Edmund because he knew her faults and wanted her anyway.
I really enjoyed Henry Crawford’s character. When he was pursuing Fanny, I so wanted him to truly change and marry her. I thought his cheerfulness and lighthearted ways would be good for Fanny. But, his elopement with Maria Rushworth made such sense I felt almost silly for wanting Henry/Fanny.
Mansfield Park was so delightfully witty, engaging, and romantic in all the right ways. I was so happy that Edmund didn’t find his love for Fanny until after she was separated from him and got a chance to develop her own opinions. In the beginning of the novel, Fanny was almost the exact same person Edmund was. Once she stood her ground and insisted on not marrying Henry Crawford even when Edmund wanted her to, she came into herself. She found her difference from Edmund and because of that he was able to love her.
Mansfield Park is definitely, definitely my favorite read this year. Now to try A Princess of Mars.