Susan Price or Resolution
by Mrs. Francis Brown

Book cover

Hardcover   228 pages   1930
John Lane The Bodley Head, Ltd.

       Review by Linda Waldemar, 25 February 2004
I have just enjoyed the best dequel that I have read; adn I have read a lot of them. This one was written by a "great-grandniece" of Jane Austen, Mrs. Francis Brown, nee Edith Charlotte Hubback. Her great-grandfather was Jane's sailor brother, Francis. I think that she inherited a bit of JA's writing ability. I found myself smiling all the through.

I guess I should tell you the name of the book. It is Susan Price, or Resolution and was published in 1930. It is set at Mansfield Park six years after the end of JA's novel. When Dr. Grant dies, his curate, Mr. Turner is moved to Thornton Lacy and Edmund gets the living and moves to Mansfield Parsonage.
Chapter IV
She [Susan] was not inclined to regrets, and could easily have persuaded herself into happiness with less cause than the arrival of her sister and her family offered. She was uneasy, but her fear was not unamiable. She did not dread the frequent meetings with her sister for he own sake. She was not unwilling to give place to her as the elder, the married woman, the mother of children and the mistress of a home. All these, which might have caused a feeling of jealousy to trouble her, were far from her thoughts. She was anxious because she had a secret, and she feared that Fanny would discover it. Fanny alone of all she knew who knw her well was to be feared. While Sir Thomas and Edmund knew nothing until it had been brought to their notice, and Lady Bertram frequently continued in ignorance for an even longer period, Fanny was quick to see and to divine mucn more than she could see. Susan felt it could not be long before all was known to Fanny, and must be deplored by her.
Early in the story, Maria elopes with the local apothecary in the village where she and Mrs. Norris have been exiled. The author indicates that to Maria, anything is preferable to continuing her life with her aunt. So, Mrs. Norris writes that she must return to Mansfield Park where she is needed.

Tom Bertram is much at home and no longer gives his father any trouble. He has a happy disposition and delights in regularly teasing his cousin, and others.

Edmund and Fanny are devoted to one another and are very happy together. They are the parents of 3 young children. In a characterization that will please many, they are self-righteous and sanctimonious. Fanny always tries her opinions out on Edmund before she adopts them. She needs to have  him validate them, but their opinions always seem to coincide.

As the title indicates, Susan Price is our heroine. As JA describes, she has made herself indispensable to her Aunt Bertram. Besides, she has grown into a very pretty young lady who is competent, self-assured and good-natured. When Fanny warns her that things will be difficult when Mrs. Norris return, Susan replies that she is not afraid. She feels sure that she will be able to handle her aunt.

Soon after Mr. Turner relocates to Thorton Lacey, he is visited by his cousins, the widowed Mrs. Grant and her half-sister, Mary Crawford, who is lively, witty and fascinating to Susan. Her attitudes still shock and sadden Edmund and Fanny. Mrs. Norris decides, with her fortune, that she is the ideal mate for Tom and tries to promote the match.

I had better stop here, or I give away the plot. I must say that I found all Jane Austen's characters that are present in this novel seem very plausibly near the originals. The plot moves along nicely and the ending is satisfying.

Unfortunately, this book has been long out of print and is very, very difficult to come by. It was on my Want List for several yeras before one finally became availabe. I snapped it up at a price that was not small. But, I do not regret one cent paid.

If you should happen across this very old novel, I highly recommend that you read it.