Of course it’s impossible to give Mansfield Park five stars. Even though I exasperatedly love Fanny, and love-hate Mrs Norris, and disapprove-of-at-the-same-time-as-I’m-charmed-by the Crawfords, Henry and Mary both.
Because Fanny marries Edmund, and how can anyone five-star that? Oh, Jane, what were you thinking?
With every re-read, it’s like heading towards the tunnel, awaiting the oncoming train with horrified anticipation. And yet hoping – praying – against all knowledge and experience, that maybe it’ll be different this time.
Oh, please, Fanny! Just this once, for me, run off with delightful, deplorable Henry Crawford! For me!
Fanny is underrated, I’ll just note. Compared to Elinor Dashwood, Fanny is half Beyoncé and half Patti Smith, a soft-hearted sex-minx with a nice nature, a cultured mind and a passionate heart.