I had been very keen to get my hands on this book but knew that whilst in Sri Lanka that would have been almost impossible. At the library yesterday the first book I saw on their best sellers panel was this and I just grabbed it - and finished it this morning!!! Thank you Carnegie library.
The book an original Austen (Lady Susan) which was too short was adapted by the authors from the end of the story - that of Susan and Frederica's marriages and then worked backwards and thats how the stories started. The book captures the essence of Austen - the world of women of this period, how they lived, loved and how ill equipped they were in the face of their men having a very tight hold on purses, family and the way of the world. The book shows how in the face of adversity, of being cheated by the men in their life - mainly their uncle - both Susan and Frederica rise above him to cheat him at the end of what he has so avariciously planned to hold on to.
The story shows how Susan widowed suddenly and with a property entailed (shades of Pride and Prejudice!) and with no proper clear instructions regarding his will the late Lord Frederick throws his wife Susan and daughter Frederica to the wolves in the form of his brother Charles. Charles hounded by debt and shadowed by greed and jealousy seeks to cut out his late brother's wife and daughter from what they are legally entitled to - leaving them with almost nothing.
The story continues how due to Lady Susan's attractive manner and Frederica's quiet intelligence (both not considered quite right for the society of the time) provokes so much innuendo and backstabbing that they are labelled as being flirts and a blue stocking respectively. How Lady Susan and Frederica overcome this forms a major part of the story.
The story will be of interest to Austen fans who like sequels. The characters of the two main women players are strong (like Lizzie) - the book is an interesting read and a fun read as well. I liked the book very much though Pride and Prejudice will remain my favourite.
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