Perhaps not as well known as Jane Austen’s two previous books, Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice, Mansfield Park is still none the less enticing and intriguing. The unrequited love that Fanny has for Edmund is evident from an early age and continues into adulthood. The emotional pain and torment she experiences when Edmund becomes attracted to Mary Crawford and everyone becomes excited over her received proposal from Henry Crawford, can be felt through the pages. As an outsider, Fanny observes things that others do not and she is very intuitive about human nature. She has both the Crawford siblings pegged from the very start and, although there are signs of jealousy, it is far more about their character that she distrusts than her own feelings towards Edmund.
Fanny’s return home is a very emotional experience for her and not at all what she expected. There is little love shown from either of her parents and it is not surprising that her thoughts soon return to Mansfield Park and the extended family she has there.
My only criticism, if you can even call it that, is that the ending seemed to short. The whole story is about Fanny’s feelings for Edmund but when she does finally ‘get her man’ it is such a small section at the very end. I suppose in a way it does actually fit with Fanny’s character as it is very matter-of-fact with no heirs and graces, just like Fanny.
A very endearing and captivating story
Taken from the poverty of her parents’ home, Fanny Price is brought up with her rich cousins at Mansfield Park, acutely aware of her humble rank and with only her cousin Edmund as an ally. When Fanny’s uncle is absent in Antigua, Mary Crawford and her brother Henry arrive in the neighbourhood, bringing with them London glamour and a reckless taste for flirtation. As her female cousins vie for Henry’s attention, and even Edmund falls for Mary’s dazzling charms, only Fanny remains doubtful about the Crawfords’ influence and finds herself more isolated than ever. A subtle examination of social position and moral integrity, Mansfield Park is one of Jane Austen’s most profound works.