Saturday, November 9, 2013

The Youngest Miss Ward

1998, first U.S. edition, from St. Martin's Press
Joan Aiken
The Youngest Miss Ward
Original price $23.95, bought used for $6.00
Hardcover with broken spine

This prequel to Austen's Mansfield Park focuses on a fourth sister, after Frances, Miss Harriet (or Hattie).  She's sent away to live with relatives and then becomes a governess hidden away in the country, so her story doesn't overlap much with the original story.  Unfortunately, what happens to her isn't nearly as interesting.  (And Mansfield is the weakest of Austen's novels.)  I was mildly interested in the teaching aspects of the book, but I didn't care about any of the romances, particularly the throwaway surprise one at the end.  Far from the worst Austen spin-off I've read, but rather forgettable.

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