The opening lines of Mansfield Park relate the good fortune of Miss Maria Ward, who, with only seven thousand pounds, has snagged herself a wealthy member of the peerage. As can be imagined, Miss Ward’s family now attempts to use this marriage to their advantage by securing assistance from Sir Thomas to help his poor relations rise above their current position. His niece, Fanny Price, is sent to live with them, to receive an education and make her way to a better position. The story that follows is a humorous look at marriage and money, status and love.
While I did enjoy this novel, it could have used some editing. Ms. Austen took too long to set up the story, and so it took me at least one third of the book before I became really interested. From that point on, however, it was all wonderful Austen, until the end, where it felt as if she did a too-quick wrap up. The ill-fated lovers end up together, but only as a side note. Call me a romantic, but I felt cheated.
3 stars (out of 5)
Published in 1814