Wednesday, the 25th of May, and time for Shelf Control once again! Shelf Control is a weekly feature hosted by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies, and celebrates the books waiting to be read on your TBR piles/mountains. To participate, all you do is pick a book from your TBR pile, and write a post about it–what its about, why you want to read it, when you got it, and such. If you participate, don’t forget to link back to Lisa’s page, and do also leave your links in the comments below as I’d love to check out your picks as well!

Today’s pick is a book which is one I’ve read part of, though not from this volume, and not the whole which has been waiting on my TBR from about 3 years. Lady Susan, The Watson, and Sandition features three pieces of writing from Jane Austen, one complete and two incomplete–the latter giving us hints of what we might have been treated to has Austen lived longer than she did (and decided to complete of course). The edition I have is an Alma Classics edition from 2018 which includes some pictures of Austen, her homes and family, and biographical information on Austen and details of her other works. Although Austen’s books are often perceived as romances, and indeed have romances in them, it is their wit, social comedy, and satirical elements that really make them classics.

Lady Susan, the one of the three I’ve read, is an epistolary novel which features the intelligent but wicked Lady Susan who enters into various schemes and manipulations for herself and her daughter. Very different from other Austen heroines, she certainly makes for an intriguing character. The Watsons sees Emma Watson forced by her aunt’s second marriage to return home to her father in a small provincial town. Here she faces the marital plots and intrigues of her sisters. Sandition is set in a former fishing village which is now turned into a fashionable resort and pokes fun at its inhabitants, looking at the social upheaval brought about by the Industrial Revolution.

I’ve read all of Austen’s novels and by and large have enjoyed them all as well (the only one I have trouble with is Sense and Sensibility and that’s largely since I can’t abide by Marianne), and more than the romance threads, it is the wit and elements of humour that I love. While I usually stay away from incomplete works, with these I was interested in getting a flavour of the stories Austen was in the process of creating. So I do plan on reading them, sometime (probably not sensible to say soon 🙂 )

Have you read (any of) these? How did you like them? Looking forward to your thoughts!

Cover image via Goodreads, and book info from the back of my copy.

Lisa’s pick this week is Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett, the first of a fantasy trilogy featuring industrialized magic!

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21 thoughts on “Shelf Control #186: Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sandition by Jane Austen

  1. I’ve read all of Austen’s six complete novels and I agree that it’s the wit and humour that makes her writing so enjoyable. I haven’t read any of these three works, but I will get round to them eventually!

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  2. I’ve also only read Lady Susan of these three, and keep intending to give Sanditon a try, since I love her novels — but I do find myself hesitating to read something incomplete. This is a great choice — I look forward to hearing what you think if you end up reading it!

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    1. Same here Lisa. That’s also the main reason I’ve kept away from The Mystery of Edwin Drood though I love Dickens otherwise. There is some scepticism in me still but I think I will read these.

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    1. I think they do too. Lady Susan is something I’d have picked up in the normal course since it is a complete work but I am usually sceptical of unfinished ones. So let’s see how these turn out.

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  3. I really want to read Austen’s Lady Susan at some point, so your post is a timely reminder to get hold of a copy. I loved Whit Stillman’s film version ‘Love & Friendship’ – it’s probably my favourite Austen adaptation in a crowded, high-quality field!

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  4. I really liked Lady Susan (and also the epistolary format). There was just something refreshing, intriguing about it. I also recommend the film Love & Friendship based on Lady Susan and starring Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny. Normally I am rather critical re Jane Austen adaptations, but I loved that one.

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    1. Its been a long time since I read Lady Susan but I do remember liking it for how different it was. Thanks for mentioning the adaptation. I haven’t seen it yet but will look it up. I enjoyed the Emma adaptation with Kate Beckinsale as well

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  5. Like Diane I enjoyed the adaptation of Lady Susan as well as the novel (though there are suggestions Austen wrapped it up in a hurry for some reason.

    I began reading Sanidton in preparation for a TV adaptation but then stopped: first I’d have preferred an edited version with paragraphing, and the edition I had wasn’t; also the adaptation and continuation got silly.

    Our son was part of the crew that filmed the second series but that’s on a streaming service we don’t subscribe to so I’ve no idea if the plotlines have improved.

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    1. I haven’t seen the adaptation so far, but will look it up. I remember enjoying Lady Susan but it was long ago–pre blog or at a point when I didn’t review every title on the blog.

      That must have been fun. I haven’t seen that yet either.

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  6. I loved Lady Susan! I also enjoyed Sanditon very much though it’s not much more than a fragment really. Her style seems different in it, and it’s hard to know whether it was a deliberate change or whether it was because it was still at the draft stage, and she’d have polished it into her usual style if she’d had the chance. Worth reading, anyway. I still haven’t got around to The Watsons.

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