You may have seen the movie release with Kate Beckinsale and Chloë Sevigny, or even read the original by Jane Austen. But today I have a review of the audiobook version written by Whit Stillman, in which he works to vindicate Lady Susan Vernon. Please read on for my review of
Love and Friendship
A wonderfully clever re-imagining of Austen’s little-known work, Whit Stillman has set out, through his narrator Rufus Martin-Colonna de Cesari-Rocca, to vindicate the perceived ill-treatment of Lady Susan Vernon.
Now the widow of a ruined man, and blamed for his ruination by family, Susan has spent time at the Mainwaring’s house until it is rumored that she had turned the heads of both the Lord Mainwaring and his friend, Sir James Martin, who was pursuing the young Miss Manwaring. Being the nephew of Sir James, the narrator is completely beguiled by and seeks to vindicate the reputation of Lady Susan.
No shrinking violet, Lady Susan is not pure of heart- her manipulation of circumstances around her to bring notice and affection are amusing, mostly for the clueless reactions of the men in her circle. Oh – and we add in yet another man to the mix, Lady Susan’s daughter Frederica, more family dismayed at Susan’s apparent affections for yet another man, and the desperately earnest attempts of the narrator to vindicate Susan’s reputation.
Several tongue-in-cheek moments, ripe with wonderful writing that is all the more hilarious for the moments of deviousness from Susan that pop forward, and Sir James’ inability to not act the besotted fool.
Narration is provided by Matt Addis and Helen Johns, and the narrative performance balances the cast of characters with aplomb. While maintaining the balance between the desire of Rufus to vindicate Lady Susan with his obvious admiration, all while presenting the other male characters with tones that are unique and appropriate to their moments. The female voices from censorious in approach to Lady Susan through the voicing of the woman herself with that air of ‘notice me’, despite all of Rufus’ attempts to portray her otherwise. This book is a perfect counterpoint to the original story with a perspective that honors the original while giving this new perspective and its narrative voice a place to shine.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 5
Title: Love & Friendship: In Which Jane Austen's Lady Susan Vernon Is Entirely Vindicated
Author: Whit Stillman
Genre: Classic, Humor elements, Literary Fiction /Historical Setting, Victorian
Narrator: Helen Johns, Matt Addis
Published by: Hachette Audio
Published on: 17 May, 2016
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 3 minutes
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Jane Austen's funniest novel is also her least known--until now.
Impossibly beautiful, disarmingly witty, and completely self-absorbed: Meet Lady Susan Vernon, both the heart and the thorn of Love & Friendship.
Recently widowed, with a daughter who's coming of age as quickly as their funds are dwindling, Lady Susan makes it her mission to find them wealthy husbands--and fast.
But when her attempts to secure their futures result only in the wrath of a prominent conquest's wife and the title of "most accomplished coquette in England," Lady Susan must rethink her strategy.
Unannounced, she arrives at her brother-in-law's country estate. Here she intends to take refuge--in no less than luxury, of course--from the colorful rumors trailing her, while finding another avenue to "I do." Before the scandalizing gossip can run its course, though, romantic triangles ensue.
With a pitch-perfect Austenian sensibility and wry social commentary, filmmaker and writer Whit Stillman cleverly reimagines and completes one of our greatest writers' unfinished works. As much homage to its muse's perennial influence as testament to its author's brilliance, Love & Friendship is a sharp comedy of manners, and a fiendishly funny treat for Austen and Stillman fans alike.
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.