Mansfield Park by Jane Austen, 1814

I’m soooo behind in my reviews because I have been a lazy little bug !

Anyway, my second trip in the world of Jane Austen wasn’t as good as I wished it would be.

Mansfield Park starts like a fairy tale. You have the little orphan (semi orphan but that’s just a technicality), the horrible Aunt, the scary Uncle and the completely out of the reality other Aunt. Lady Bertram and Sir Thomas decide to help Lady B’s sister, Mrs Price, who has more children than you can think of and did a very bad marriage. Out of generosity, they help her by taking the eldest daughter to educate her and teach how to be a nice servant. Lady Bertram has no clue whatsoever of what happens around her and Sir Thomas is only preoccupied by the cost of the operation since his business isn’t going so well. The Bertram girls, Maria and Julia, are so selfish, light headed and too busy to look for a husband or to seduce the neighbour to even notice Fanny, our little orphan. Only Edmund, the Bertram’s second son, is an angel of mercy for the little girl. He takes her under his wing, teaches her everything a lady should know and acts as her best friend. Mrs Norris, Lady B’s second sister, is there to remind Fanny of her right place in the family, which is, according to her, just above the cook but a notch below the family dog. Sir Thomas and his eldest son, Tom, have to go to Antigua to straighten Sir Thomas’s business. Mrs Norris has a free hand in dictating her views and arranges Maria’s wedding with Mr Rushworth, a rich but very dull man. Maria, attracted but so much money and prestige, agrees. The new occupants of the Parsonage, Dr Grant and Mrs Grant, will soon be included in the daily life of Mansfield Park, especially after Mrs Grant’s brother, Henry Crawford, and sister, Mary Crawford, establish their residence there. Edmund falls in love immediately with Ms Crawford and forgets all about Fanny. Mr Crawford seduces Maria, but just for fun… As soon as she seems to be interested in him to the point where she could cancel her wedding, off he goes. He comes back after the wedding and decides that he has now to seduce Fanny.

Half way through  the book, I had the feeling that the story hadn’t start yet, that Austen was still introducing the characters to me. Fanny is too pale, unassuming to be a interesting heroine. I wasn’t really interested in knowing what could happen to her. The whole Bertram family is a gallery of hypocritical, lazy, dull characters, even Edmund. He’s so fiddle and easily manipulated that you feel sorry for him. Henry Crawford reminds me of Valmont, minus the charm, the vulnerability or the personality.

I don’t often do that but I didn’t finished it, I stopped after chapter 26 ( and someone is probably going to tell me that after chapter 27 everything gets SO interesting)

I give it a 2/10