Most of us know Jane Austen for her famous novels like Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility. However, did you know that Jane Austen was actually far more prolific? If you take a quick glance over at this list, you’ll see the massive amount of works Austen produced during her lifetime.
In fact, this week marks the release of Love & Friendship, a film based off one of Austen’s unpublished novels titled Lady Susan. If you love this witty film, you definitely should pick up some of Austen’s lesser-known works. We’ve chosen three favorites to showcase, complete with their publishers’ descriptions below.
Beautiful, flirtatious, and recently widowed, Lady Susan Vernon seeks a new and advantageous marriage for herself, and at the same time attempts to push her daughter into marriage with a man she detests. Through a series of crafty maneuvers, she fills her calendar with invitations for extended visits with unsuspecting relatives and acquaintances in pursuit of her grand plan.
As the plot unfolds, characters are revealed and the suspense builds — all through letters exchanged among Lady Susan, her family, friends, and enemies. Described by her rivals as the “most accomplished coquette in England,” amply endowed with “captivating deceit,” Susan proves to be a remarkable figure, devoid of any redeeming qualities, whose intrigues and devious machinations ultimately lead to disastrous results.
Lady Susan is a magnificently crafted (and frequently provocative) novel of Regency customs and manners, which has become a readers’ favorite among the author’s shorter works. Austen enthusiasts and students of English literature will delight in its wit and elegant expression.
Emma is obliged to return and live with her widowed father, Mr. Watson, after her aunt who raised her contracts a foolish second marriage. She is one of four daughters and two sons who has been better educated than all her sisters by her wealthy aunt.
Emma finds herself chagrined by the reckless behavior of her two sisters trying to chase their future husbands.
Had Jane Austen lived to complete Sanditon, it would have been as treasured as her other novels. In the half-finished masterpiece, Austen fashions one of her classic heroines — Charlotte Heywood. The surviving fragment also sets the story well on its path as Charlotte begins an adventure to Sanditon where a full cast of characters becomes intertwined in various intrigues.
At first, Charlotte finds amusement enough standing at her ample Venetian window looking over the placid seafront. However, before long, Charlotte discovers that scandals abound. She becomes captivated by the romance of the seaside lifestyle. But is the town of Sanditon truly a haven, and will Charlotte find happiness there?
Have you read any of Jane Austen’s lesser-known works?