#5. The complicated and darkly moralizing… Mansfield Park!
This wisdom-filled gem is a little depressing, which is probably why it’s sitting near the bottom of the list. In the past, this wasn’t so. There was a time when Mansfield Park was a favorite among Austen fans. (I’m guessing it had something to do with the rigid morals.)
But today, it’s not quite as popular. Fanny can be a little too intense for the modern reader and Edmund is definitely no Darcy.
Basically, the penniless Fanny comes to live with her rich relatives and is bullied by everyone except her cousin Edmund. The wild Crawford siblings, Mary and Henry, arrive specifically to complicate things. There’s a play. Fanny receives a lot of heartache, Henry faces a lot of rejection, and Edmund gets a dose of reality. Eventually, happy endings are handed out for those who deserve them.
Now, let’s refer to my three-question character test from earlier, which I will henceforth be calling the Three-Question Character Test. (Catchy, no?)
Do I have fond memories of the characters? Not really.
Did the characters have a good dynamic? A strong yes.
Did I ship the OTP? A mild maybe.
Really, it’s all the drama of a good Austen novel without any of the endearing characters.