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Lady Susan

Narrated by: Harriet Walter, Kim Hicks
Length: 2 hrs and 30 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (63 ratings)

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Editor reviews

A perfect match! An ensemble piece! A delight! This lesser known Austen novel follows the subterfuge of the recently widowed, beautiful, and flirtatious Lady Susan who attempts to secure a good marriage for herself at the same time that she is forcing a dismal match onto her long suffering daughter. Character is revealed, plot unfolds, suspense builds - all through the device of letters exchanged amongst Lady Susan, her family, friends, and enemies. Each letter writer is performed by a different actor, eliminating the potential for confusion and making this a lively and dramatic listening experience. Flute, clarinet, and piano add an elegant touch, enhancing the flavor of time and place.

Summary

Lady Susan was the first of Jane Austen's novels to be completed. An epistolary novel in 18th-century style, it tells the story of the recently widowed Lady Susan Vernon, intelligent but highly manipulative, who is intent on gaining financially secure relationships for both herself and her wayward but shy teenage daughter Frederica.

Less known than Austen's six great later novels, it demonstrates the wit and sharp observations of Jane Austen - and is shown at its best in audiobook form, with different actresses presenting real characters as they read their letters.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©1871 Jane Austen (P)2001 Naxos Audiobooks Ltd.

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  • Overall
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Perfect

Where does Lady Susan rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Well placed in the top 10 of any classic literature works that I own in audiobook form.

Which character – as performed by Harriet Walter and Kim Hicks – was your favourite?

How can I differentiate between such excellent performances?

Any additional comments?

I first, mistakenly, bought another, and very American, version of Lady Susan which was absolutely dreadful and swiftly returned to Audible. It was marvellous to find this beautifully produced and read alternative, and so lovely to be able to acquire one of Jane Austen's lesser known novels in audio form.

2 people found this helpful

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Wicked lady

Would you consider the audio edition of Lady Susan to be better than the print version?

I have not read the print version.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Lady Susan - a refreshing change from Jane Austen's whiter than white heroines.

What about Harriet Walter and Kim Hicks ’s performance did you like?

They performed their characters well.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It was gripping at times.

Any additional comments?

It is a short story.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it!

Very witty book, great characters. Quite different to the usual Jane Austen but I found it a nice change. Lady Susan is atrocious but amusing.

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An exceptional audiobook

A brilliantly crafted epistolary novel - or rather novella - which grips from start to finish in all its twist and turns (although much more overtly cynical than Jane Austen's other works), and a positive dream team of readers. Especially Harriet Walter who plays Lady Susan herself with verve and conviction. I wish it were longer. Just fantastic.

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So Much Fun

Honestly, I’m sure that this isn’t the best of Austen’s work but it’s really so much fun that it doesn’t matter. Highly entertaining and with all of the keen and comical observations of human nature we love.

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Unprincipled but charming

Lady Susan is someone you like despite yourself. She's like a dark version of Elizabeth Bennet: witty and intelligent, but also unprincipled and amoral! Although only the very first letter is between Susan and her sister-in-law, Catherine, the story is the battle between the two women over Catherine's brother, Reginald. The men are ciphers, controlled by the women, and I'm sure it would have been met with horror if it had been published during JA's lifetime!

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Perfect!

Best rendition I have ever heard.

Pronounces all the names properly and really brings the story to life.

Highly recommended!