I've been putting off reviewing this one. I'll tell you why: it just wasn't as good as I expected it to be. I'd seen the BBC production of it last year on Masterpiece Theatre on PBS, & knew it wasn't Jane Austen's best story. But I thought, as most people do, that the book would be better. It wasn't, in my humble opinion. The movie actually made the story better & more believable, I think because it made it just a little more modern.
The biggest annoyance I had was the main character, Fanny Price. I just couldn't ever get to where I sympathized with her very much. She was so timid & frail that she just got on my nerves after awhile. And she tried so much to be good always that she just came across as a prude to me. Every time I got close to identifying with her, she would turn me off again. I especially didn't like her dislike of her own, very un-polished, family, who she visits towards the end of the book. Fanny was much more a bore to me than her family was to her.
The only redeeming character I came across was right at the end--Susan, Fanny's younger sister. It's like Jane Austen realized at the end of the book that she could have made Fanny more interesting--she could have been like Susan. Susan ends up in the same role Fanny had with the Bertram's, only with the promise of being a much more interesting person.
Sorry to slam it, but I just felt very frustrated by the end of the book. So sorry, Austenites!