Books · Jane Austen · Review

Jane Austen(ish)

Jane Austen is sarcastic observations and simple truths! She is banter and wit. Seething silences and eloquent letters.

I read Sanditon this summer!

This is a big deal to me. Until now, I never wanted to read ‘Sanditon’, a novel left incomplete following Austen’s death. It was finished by Anne Telscombe and published in 1975. In July 2022, I finally read it. I was so nervous.

Those who tell their own story, you know, must be listened to with caution. – Mr. Parker

An open mind was key, of course, but I could not resist analyzing the style. Would it be worthy? Would it be biting? Would it be Austen? It was…delicious! I laughed, I sighed, I opened up my heart to heroine Charlotte Heywood.


By Jane Austen and Another Lady

Tagline: Welcome to Sanditon – a society of secret schemers!

Description: When new aquaintances recruit Charlotte Heywood to play guest at a quaint seaside resort, she observes a range of eccentricities and foibles. Everyone seems to have a secret. In such a romantic setting, can she remain reasonable?

The Voice Of Reason

Very few of us lack superficial faults and we must rely on each other’s kindness to overlook them.

– Charlotte Heywood

Charlotte Heywood is a reasonable main character. Like Elinor Dashwood (Sense and Sensibility) or Anne Elliot (Persuasion) before her, Charlotte’s narration relects superior self-command.

What is her home life? We have no idea, really! Charlotte is placed among strangers, which sets Sanditon apart from Austen’s family-centric narratives.

Elinor may behave composedly, Anne may hide her passion, but Charlotte just aims to relax! An honest soul, she herself has nothing to hide. She is certainly not expecting to uncover shocking secrets.

The Assertive Woman

Although 19th century gender roles must have been rigid, these characters rise above! Jane Austen doesn’t just subvert gender stereotypes, she laughs at them!

Charlotte may be the least interested in marriage of all Austen’s heroines! She’s happy on vacation. I enjoyed her willingness to meet new people, try new activities, and to behave pleasantly overall.

Oh! You may be sure Sidney never has less than four pots on the boil, three irons in the fire and as many sticks as he can find heaped into it as well.

– Reginald Catton

A Soft Hero

In Sidney Parker, we meet a social expert. He reminds me of Emma Woodhouse, likeable, entertaining, and always contriving at happy outcomes!

The stereotypical hero is rooted in his own interests, whereas Sidney busily works for the sake of others. His true intentions are concealed by his grace and enthusiasm.

Sidney is most certainly a new experience for Charlotte. Will the strong mind of Charlotte Heywood welcome Sidney’s happy manipulations?

Are you sure that’s Austen?

It’s so weird to read Sanditon years after reading Austen’s six completed novels. These characters are so new! And yet, there are familiar elements. A hypochondriac, a rattle, and where would an Austen plot be without those meddling old folks?

And if we could but get a young heiress to Sanditon! But heiresses are monstrous scarce! – Lady Denham

My mind jumps to ‘Emma’ again when I consider that Mr. Thomas Parker could be sweet Mr. Weston’s doppelgänger! He is hopeful and hospitable to a fault. Too, Clara Brereton’s distracted timidity mirrors Jane Fairfax.

Despite similarities, I found myself reading the final chapters with no idea what to expect! Does this mean this other author failed? Definitely not! Unpredictability is a key element in all Austen novels.

Think of Lucy Steele, General Tilney, or even Lady Catherine! Each seemed benign…at first. Sanditon’s conclusion unveils truly Austen-worthy characters: flawed, confused, and redeemingly sweet.

Have you read Sanditon? Which version? Did you hate it? Love it?

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like … Jane Austen JulyDeal With Drama Like JaneQueen Of Highbury (Emma.)

Thank you for reading! 💜


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