Mansfield Park

Fanny is plucked from the consumptive bosom of her impoverished family and brought to live with her wealthy uncle and aunt. She becomes the perfect gentlewoman under cousin Edmund’s tutelage but is denied the same pleasures that her female cousins have (a nightly fire in her fireplace, attendance at balls, etc.). Eventually these female cousins display their bad apple tendencies, Maria leaves her husband and is shockingly divorced, Julia elopes with someone of meager circumstances, so Fanny becomes even more beloved to her aunt (Lady Bertham) while becoming more reviled by her Aunt Norris. A young visiting couple (brother and sister: Henry & Mary Crawford) enliven the evenings, and while uncle is away in the West Indies, the youth undertake to produce a play, a very risky proposition with risqué material. Henry behaves badly and leads on Maria (then engaged) and Julia, while Mary lures Edmund’s heart (tho disposed to prefer the older brother who will inherit the estate). Eventually Henry sets his sights on Fanny and falls desperately in love, demanding her hand in marriage. She nearly faints away, wanting nothing to do with him. He pursues her to her poor family’s door, where she’s settled in for a three month visit., and he finagles a commission for her brother William. She is summoned back to Mansfield Park and told to bring her younger sister Susan, who then follows in Fanny’s footsteps and fills her place after she marries (no shocker) Edmund. Ah, the delights that pour forth from Austen’s pen. If only she didn’t have to write in secret, pretending her manuscript was a letter that she shoved under stacks of paper when visitors dropped by.