Mansfield Park, our third novel for the Jane Austen Book Club, is a better read than Emma. The story started so right, as if intending to touch a soft spot in a reader. Fanny Price came from a poor family and was sent to live with her well-off relatives in Mansfield Park Estate. It’s like a Cinderella story for the sole point of view of coming from rags to riches, with the variation of having wicked cousins (minus Edmund) and a bitchy Aunt Norris.
An initial major unacceptable part for me was for Fanny having a crush-turned-to-love for her elder cousin, Edmund. I soon convinced myself that this fiction was set ages ago (18th century). Oddly, there was a point that I wanted her to end up with Henry Crawford especially when he tried his best to win her by meeting her biological family at their humble abode. She could have really fallen for Henry (who in the latter part had an affair with Maria, Fanny’s elder cousin, when she rejected his proposal) as the story progressed if not for the mind-boggling trust issue. It’s a dealbreaker when you are being pursued by someone who is claiming and trying to prove that he’s no longer a bad guy. Truly, trust is love’s first cousin.
While in those times that marriage is more indicatively a business, it is surprising that Fanny’s mother reminded her that she married for love. Her mother, trapped at having several children in a nearly hopeless situation, still not persuading Fanny to marry just to save them from poverty. In the end, Edmund confessed that he loves her and apologized for being so blind to this truth.
I don’t know, but personally I think Fanny is too good to have ended up with Edmund. Seems like she reserved herself for him right from the start. Although there’s actually no better man other than him in the story. I prefer the more acceptable ending of she being married with someone who is not her relative. Of course, neither to settle with a half ass guy.
I’ve also seen the 1999 film adaptation. Some parts differed from the book. While some Jane Austen fans dislike Mansfield Park primarily because the main character, Fanny, is shy, timid, lacking, self-confidence, physically weak and sort of annoying (because she is always right): boring, as you may call it, very different from other main character in Austen’s novels, but for me, it was absolutely an enjoyable piece whether you read or see it, whichever you prefer.
And yes, this remains to be my favorite line:
But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them.
As an aside, I was particularly interested in this book because it was mentioned in Book 3 (Eclipse) of Twilight Saga.