Lady Susan - Harriet Walter, Carole Boyd, Kim Hicks, Jane Austen
I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this excellent audiobook version of Jane Austen's epistolary novel narrated by Harriet Walter, Kim Hicks and Carole Boyd. It's so short that I was able to complete it by listening to it at the gym and then on my way to work and home again in the course of a single day. The novel is very different from Austen's other works. The central character is an anti-heroine: the amoral Lady Susan Vernon, a predatory widow who endeavours to seduce a married man and arrange a marriage between her unwilling daughter and a man who is expected to marry another young woman. The light, satirical tone of the prose contrasts with Austen's themes, which include the hypocrisy inherent in social and familial relationships. While there are dark elements in all of Austen's novels, Lady Susan's emotional abuse of her daughter is particularly repellent.

This work sat, unread, on my bookshelf for many years in a volume which includes Austen's unfinished novels, The Watsons. I'm pleased that I finally got around to it, albeit by listening to the audiobook rather than reading the volume on the shelf. It's a must for Austen completists.