Lady Susan is one of the lesser known novels/short stories written by Jane Austen. I had a bit of a time finding the book, but I finally was able to find it tucked in ‘Sanditon and Other Stories’. This volume contains Jane Austen’s Sanditon, The Watson’s and Lady Susan plus some other even lesser and unfinished stories.
I only had to read Lady Susan for the Jane Austen Bookclub Online but ended up reading the other stories too. Lady Susan is very different from the other Jane Austen heroines. Different because she is more of the villain. She is devious, manipulative and unabashed. This story is also written differently. It is a series of letters written by the various characters in the story, each incident told from their individual point of view.
Widowed barely a few months, she gets herself thrown out of friends’ house because in the short couple of months she was their guest, she managed to gain the attentions and perhaps also the affections of the man of the house and the suitor of the young lady of the house. She had an affair with her host right under his wife’s nose and cajoled the affections of their daughter’s suitor in order to secure him for her own daughter.
From the Manwarings house she worms her way into the house of her brother in law where she creates a brand new havoc with the brother of the mistress of the house. The woman is just evil through and through, I tell you. Apparently, she is quite easy on the eyes, not having any need for diet pills, and thus is the perfect foil for gullible men. And in this book, there are quite a few of them. No, men who are strong, highly disciplined or have moral fibers and who have integrity are strongly lacking in this story. No Mr. Darcy here, that’s for sure.
It’s almost wrong that at the end Lady Susan comes out of the whole affair barely scathed. She can still reason that she’s come out just as she planned. By the end of the book, you really want to see her ruined or somehow made to pay for her evil deeds, but that is not to be. Which, I suppose, is how it is in life sometimes. Sometimes the most evil and cunning are the ones that always look like they are coming out on the winning end of things.