Reading Sanditon by Jane Austen sent me off on a week long reading and viewing journey. Firstly, Sanditon is only 12 chapters long (Austen died before finishing this book) which was not long enough for me. I loved what I read and I wanted more!
In 12 chapters a whole host of characters are introduced and already the book sparkled with Austen’s wit. At the heart of the book is Charlotte Heywood – a young woman who lives in a tiny country town with her many brothers and sisters. One day a gentleman and his wife, the Parkers, suffer a carriage mishap and the Heywoods take them in.
As a thank you, Mr Parker and his wife invite Charlotte to come and stay with them in Sanditon, a small coastal town which Mr Parker is trying to turn into a fashionable seaside resort. Charlotte is then introduced to a host of amusing and intriguing characters.
“Happy, happy wind, to engage Miss Heywood’s thoughts! – She began to think him downright silly.”
After finishing the book (extract), I watched the Sanditon TV series which is based on the novel. The material from the book is covered by the first 20 minutes of episode one and after that it’s all left to the series creator’s imagination.
While I loved the TV series, it definitely took poetic license with Austen’s work and was raunchier than anything she would ever write. And the ending of the series was terrible! Apparently it was meant to end on a cliffhanger with a second season to follow, but then the show got cancelled in the UK. This forever leaves everything up in the air with some of the characters. Not satisfied with this ending, I then read some Sanditon fan fiction on the internet to try and get a better ending.
And that was my week in the Sanditon universe! Ultimately, I wish that Jane could have finished this book before she died. Now we’ll never know what she had planned for her characters.
The Penguin English Library edition pictured also also includes Lady Susan and The Watsons.
Verdict: A lovely start to a Jane Austen novel but I prefer reading her finished work.