One abandoned, one unfinished, these short works show Austen equally at home with romance (a widowed clergyman with four daughters must needs be in search of a husband or two in The Watsons) and with social change (a new, commercial seaside resort in Sanditon). Typically touching, funny, charming and sharp.
Even Austen's unfinished novels will excite her fans. In the first of these novels, abandoned after five chapters, Emma Watson returns to her widowed father and crude siblings after being raised in refinement by a wealthy aunt. Austen died after completing 11 chapters of the second, about an attempt to build a state-of-the-art resort by the sea. Anna Bentinck narrates The Watsons in a languid, humorless, patrician style, sometimes pausing between every phrase. Her more robust treatment of Sandition delivers plenty of satirical humor and vivid characterizations. Indeed, her impersonations are the best part of both works.
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- Ruth Bain
Fragments for Austen fans