So my favorite Jane Austen novel isn't Pride & Prejudice...

Mansfield Park - Jane Austen

You may be surprised to learn that my favorite Jane Austen novel is actually...Mansfield Park. I'm aware that this isn't the popular opinion. However, I don't give a hoot because I LOVE IT. Considering that I'm not a huge fan of drama or romance in general, this book is CHOCK FULL of drama and romance (and scandal oh my!). For those who haven't delved into this book, the story revolves around a young woman named Fanny Price who is sent to live with her aunt and her family when she is a young girl. From the very beginning, she is treated as an outsider and a lower class citizen among the members of her family except by her cousin Edmund. (Here is where I caution you all to remember the time period in which this book is written because otherwise you're gonna be all like SAY WHAT?!) The dynamics of the household are an odd mix of ambivalence, haughtiness, vanity, and neuroses. Then there's Fanny who is the embodiment of all that is lovely and pure but who is entirely overlooked and abused by her family...except by Edmund who she has come to admire greatly. (Do you see where this is headed?) Things start to get juicy when a brother/sister duo enter the neighborhood and rouse up trouble among the youths (picture the equivalent of ditching class to smoke cigarettes behind the gym but in Regency period England). Through it all, Fanny stays true to what she thinks is right despite the injustice of her situation. A lot of people find her character annoying and too morally rigid. However, I think they're missing out on the best parts of her character. Fanny stays firm to what she believes in and despite the temptation to give in and follow what everyone else is doing she rejects the easy path. The reader can clearly see her self-confidence and self-esteem bloom as the novel progresses. If you haven't read this fantastic classic by the inestimable Jane Austen then you are truly missing out.