Lady Susan is the most beautiful, beguiling schemer in Regency England. She must subjugate every gentleman who crosses her path, conducting multiple flirtations and extracting herself deviously from all the complications. When her husband dies, leaving her destitute with a pretty, innocent daughter on her hands, she uses all her wiles to find them both convenient husbands. Convenient to herself, that is. Jane Austen penned ‘Lady Susan’ at nineteen. It was her first completed attempt at a novel, but in the form of letters. She never submitted it for publication. Yet the twenty-three thousand words sparkle with genius. Here, the narrative is presented as it might have appeared as one of Miss Austen’s mature works. If this seems sacrilege, this second English lady authoress begs the public to remember that ‘Sense and Sensibility’ was first written in the form of letters. Perhaps, if she had been spared, Miss Austen might have subjected her first youthful work to a similar revision.
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