Open Slowly by Dayle Furlong

Open Slowly by Dayle Furlong begins with poems steeped in Spring imagery and the unfolding blossoms of that season.  For instance, “She Seeks Beauty” is like a flower beginning as a bulb, growing, and releasing the beauty of its petals like a surprise ending.

She Seeks Beauty (page 11)

She seeks beauty everywhere
foraging for flowers in fog
as the metallic din of machinery bordering
the park clangs and disturbs — she dislikes
comments we make about the weight of bulbs
all they have to do is sit, look pretty, and breathe
in truth, they’re fibrous, sturdy, necessary for life.

She’s culpable as any, flesh covers bone
like a clenched fist
taut in sections, ample in others
the weight of water and salt,
breath noxious

she tells us flowers deceive like a woman
warns us to watch out for the men hiding behind them

they cast shadows on sun
etch their place
on earth, bodies pyramids
of accomplishment.

While we sit pretty and still, necessary.

However, there seems to be a sinister undercurrent or a blatant dark side that emerges in some of these poems, illuminating the truth that nature is not all beauty and peace, but also darkness and violence.  Furlong’s lines are not abstract mysteries, but the poems as a whole reveal a mystery or hidden truth that causes readers to rethink their initial impressions at the beginning of the poems.  In a way many of these poems discuss the impermanence of memory and the past, those people, places, and events that we think we will always remember, but that grow fuzzier with time and blur into nothingness.

From Lazy Eye (page 30)

like the faces I meet in the street —
the people in my life
mere puddles waiting to evaporate
right before my eyes.

There are three sections to Open Slowly:  Impossible Permanence; Tonic & Brevity; and Litany of Desire.  While the first section deals with the impermanence of memory and people and events, the second section wallows in that impermanence, dunking the reader fully into memories that are previous and filled with not only joy and passion, but regret.  Readers will note a reluctance in the narrator to leave the past behind and jump into the present.  It continues with the theme of opening blossoms in spring, clinging to the protection of the bulb but eager to emerge.

From Hooks (page 45)

Little fish on hooks
gulp and cry
worms will die
but you keep me dancing
on a line
not hanging exactly
but hoping for their return.

Protection melts away and the darkness emerges, taking hold of the reader and drawing blood and fear from within. Furlong’s nature images serve not only the light but the dark in these poems, easily turning poems upside down and inside out.  In the final section, there is a violence in the passion between the narrator and the men and the narrator and children, but not violence in the sense of harm, but in terms of emotion.  A passion rampant and uncontrollable.

Open Slowly by Dayle Furlong is a mesmerizing collection of poems that search for the beauty in everything, but does not always find it.  Rather than dwell on the darkness in nature — human nature — each poem pushes beyond those moments to seek out the light and the beauty that can come from it or in spite of it.

Copyright Liz Martin

About the Poet:

Dayle Furlong studied English Literature & Fine Arts at York University. Her poetry & fiction has appeared in Kiss Machine, The Puritan, Word & The Voice. She works as a literary publicist and has worked as a screenwriter’s assistant for the Showcase television series Slings & Arrows. Her debut collection of poetry, Open Slowly was published by Tightrope Books in spring 2008.  Check out her interview with Rob McLennan.

This is my 3rd book for the 2011 Wish I’d Read That Challenge.

This is my 5th book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.

This is also my 2nd book for the 2011 Fearless Poetry Exploration Reading Challenge.

Lady Susan by Jane Austen

Lady Susan by Jane Austen is a short novel written in the form of letters until the conclusion where the author takes over.  Lady Susan is the widow of Mr. Vernon’s brother, and she has a daughter named, Frederica, whom Lady Susan believes needs more schooling and is better off in the care of others.  Lady Susan has a rather sultry reputation in society as a woman who flirts relentlessly and may even take it too far for polite society.

“She is really excessively pretty.  However you may choose to question the allurements of a lady no longer young, I must for my own part declare that I have seldom seen so lovely a woman as Lady Susan.”  (page 49)

What is truth and what is fiction about Lady Susan is tough to discern as each character’s opinion of her becomes more fluid, changing as new situations and information come to light.  She comes to live with her brother-in-law and his wife, Catherine, whom she tried to prevent from marrying her husband’s brother.  Once in Churchill, she meets Catherine’s brother Reginald, who already has a negative opinion of her, and she takes on the challenge of changing his mind, though to outsiders it looks as though she is flirting and making romantic inroads with him.  Enter Frederica, and her “lover” Sir James Martin.  The stage is set for great drama and entanglements.

“Her behavior to him, independent of her general character, has been so inexcusably artful and ungenerous since out marriage was first in agitation, that no one less amiable and mild than himself could have overlooked it at all; and though as his brother’s widow and in narrow circumstances it was proper to render her pecuniary assistance, I cannot help thinking his pressing invitation to her to visit us at Churchill perfectly unnecessary.”  (page 46)

Unlike Austen’s other novels and unfinished pieces, Lady Susan is not the typical heroine because she lives on the outskirts of society and enjoys herself in many ways.  She’s conniving in her machinations to find a match for her daughter, convince others of her propriety and social graces, and rightness of her decisions.  She is not a character that many readers will like or even come to like, but Austen seems to be using her negative personality traits to illustrate the machinations that are often done behind the scenes in Regency society as mothers seek husbands for their daughters and widows seeks to find another husband at an advanced age.

Overall, Lady Susan is an ambitious short novel that attempts to tackle society from a different angle.  Rather than place the young ladies eligible for husbands at the center of a (sort-of) conceit in which Lady Susan is the opposite of well-mannered society women and the men in her life are not in control of the situation nor their emotions.  Austen has tackled another difficult aspect of Regency society.

***I’ve wanted to read this novel since Anna embarked on her journey to read all of Austen’s works.***

This is my 2nd book for the 2011 Wish I’d Read That Challenge.

Interested in my other reviews of Austen’s unfinished novels, check out The Watsons and Sanditon.

Semper Cool by Barry Fixler

Semper Cool by Barry Fixler is a memoir of one marine’s time before, during, and after the Vietnam War.  Fixler’s writing style is accessible for all readers, though some who have read a number of military books may find themselves skipping over definitions of terms they already know, which are defined for less experienced military readers.  Through clear sentence structure, fast-paced flashbacks, and frankness about boot camp and other aspects of a marine’s training, readers get a feel for the grit these men must have to survive boot camp and beyond.

“If you were alive, that meant your unit was in one of the less dangerous places in Vietnam.  If you were a basket case, your unit was in a pretty bad place.  If you were dead, that meant you were headed straight into the deep shit.  Your unit was in the middle of the worst of the worst combat.”  (page 80 of ARC)

Fixler became obsessed with the U.S. Marines after hearing crazy stories from his father, a WWII veteran who survived the bombing of Pearl Harbor, about the rigorous training marines endured even during war and the antics they engaged in.  These stories, plus his father’s patriotism helped fuel Fixler’s desire to enter the military to find direction and discipline shortly after graduating high school.  At age 19, Fixler was a “green” marine with no combat experience, and men who were considered seasoned were generally in their early- to mid-20s.

Readers are taken on a journey through Fixler’s latter adolescent years, the trouble he caused with his friends, and the decision to enter the military, which he kept from his parents until the day before he shipped off to boot camp.  Once in boot camp, readers learn first hand what it means to become a marine in the physical and mental sense, and this foundation is what carries Fixler, a survivor of the 77-day siege of Khe Sanh or Hill 861-A, through his time in Vietnam.  When the subtitle suggest fond memories from Vietnam, the author is serious about the relationships he forged, the discipline he learned, the mental toughness he created for himself, and the achievements he made while in country.

“Minutes before, we were talking about home, watching through binoculars,’ Mike said years later, ‘and the mortars started coming in and he was completely disintegrated, no head at all.'”  (page 173)

However, readers should be prepared for blood, guts, horror, and disappointments, but those are tempered with moments of incredible luck — even what some would call miracles — and hilarity.  There are odd moments in which Fixler seems to remind himself of a moment before the war, and the narration sometimes takes a turn that is unexpected and outside the scope of the war and his military life.  While initially, these moments can jolt the reader out of the narrative flow, they help to give readers a fuller picture of Fixler’s character.

Semper Cool is a well-balanced war memoir that illustrates the good and the bad that comes with war and returning home.  Fixler’s story deviates from the typical memoir or war novel in which the atmosphere is constantly grim and dire or the protagonist is spiraling out of control mentally.  The main takeaways from this memoir are believe in yourself, remain focused, and achieve success in all you set out to do.

***It is great knowing that proceeds from the sale of this book will be shared with those military personnel in need of medical assistance that the government has either forgotten, run out of money to care for, or does not know have fallen through the cracks.***

About the Author:

After graduating from Syosset High School in Long Island, New York, Barry Fixler enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp and was shipped off to Vietnam where he fought as a member of Echo Company at the legendary Siege of Khe Sanh. He is now a jeweler living in Bardonia, New York, with his wife Linda.

Please check out the Semper Cool Website.

Yes, the Vietnam War Reading Challenge ended in 2010, but I wish I had read Semper Cool by Barry Fixler then.  Thankfully, it qualifies for this year’s Wish I’d Read that Challenge and the New Authors Reading Challenge.

This is my 4th book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.

This is my 1st book for the 2011 Wish I’d Read That Challenge.

The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

Rosy Thornton‘s The Tapestry of Love follows 48-year-old Catherine Parkstone as she makes her way through the French countryside after leaving her home in England following her divorce.  She has bought Les Fenils in the Cevennes Mountains where she gets to know her quirky neighbors and learns how to navigate an unfamiliar culture with her amateur French-speaking skills.  Her initial plans are to establish a business as a needlewoman, but also to return to a place she remembers enjoying from her childhood.

Catherine loves working with her hands whether it is on cushions or tapestry or in the garden.  The lush scenery and sweet smells of food (check out Thornton’s recipes) serve as the backdrop of this woman’s journey as she learns to cook French cuisine, stand on her own, and carve out a life she can enjoy.  Although she is away from her grown children and her sister, Bryony, Catherine begins to make the transition into the community, providing them with well-crafted cushions and other items and companionship.

“It was the view from her kitchen window, the view from the place at the table where she generally sat to work.  She knew it so well now by all its lights and moods that she had no need to look up from her tapestry frame; on these quiet midnights she sat and worked from memory in front of the rectangle of black.  In her emerging picture, it was morning:  not first light but the soft luminosity of a breakfast time in spring, the sun breaking over the head of the valley to the left and outlining every leaf in gold.”  (page 232)

From the Bouschets and the Meriels to Madame Volpiliere and Patrick Castagnol, Thornton creates a rounded set of characters to interact with Catherine and bring out some of her best traits, including generosity and compassion.  Although Catherine was adventurous enough to leave England and move to the mountains of France, she still has to find her spontaneity and carefree nature, while navigating the bureaucracy of the French government.

Overall, The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton is a novel about living one’s dreams, making new friends, and enjoying life.  While there is romance, a love triangle, divorce, and other typical “women’s fiction” topics, Rosy Thornton takes these topics and makes them new by setting them in rural France among quirky farmers and business men and women.  Her prose is engaging and detailed, weaving a tapestry of community that readers will want to immerse themselves in for hours.

About the Author:

Rosy Thornton is an author of contemporary fiction, published by Headline Review. Her novels could perhaps be described as romantic comedy with a touch of satire – or possibly social satire with a hint of romance. In real life she lectures in Law at the University of Cambridge, where she is a Fellow of Emmanuel College. She shares her home with her partner, two daughters and two lunatic spaniels.  Visit her Website.

This is my 3rd book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.

Half in Love by Linda Gray Sexton

Linda Gray Sexton, an author of memoir and fiction, tackles the issues of depression, suicide, and family legacies in her latest memoir, Half in Love: Surviving the Legacy of Suicide.  In case you haven’t deduced on your own who her famous mother is, it is Anne Sexton one of the greatest American confessional poets, who successfully committed suicide in October 1974 after battling depression for years by locking herself in the garage and dying from carbon monoxide poisoning.

“The other families in our neighborhood looked nothing like my own family.  My father did not run the family, nor did my mother.  It was my mother’s illness that had seized control.  My adulation of her was not tempered by the fact that she was mentally ill.  We never used the word ‘crazy’ — though when the ambulance arrived in the driveway to take her away, the neighborhood children whispered that Mrs. Sexton was nuts again.”  (page 59)

Half in Love is far from an easy read as Linda details not only her mother’s struggles with depression and suicide, but also the violent and sometimes inappropriate relationships within the family.  The legacy of suicide is clear as Linda discusses her college years, her marriage, and the birth of her children.  The “rabbit hole” is often used to describe the downward spiral Linda and her mother descend into without necessarily being triggered by a specific event.  Some of the details about institutionalization, attempts at suicide are detailed and will make readers turn away from the page, but they are necessary to convey the depth at which these women fell away from the real world into the darkness that obscured their reasons for hope.

“Unconsciously, my mother had bequeathed to me two entirely unique legacies, and they were inextricably and mysteriously entwined:  the compulsion to create with words, as well as the compulsion to stare down into the abyss of suicide.  Both compulsions have been with me for as long as I can remember.”  (page 23)

Despite a carefully outlined plan to avoid her mother’s fate, Linda finds that she has unwittingly stepped on the same path to suicide and also has become a confessional fiction author rather than confessional poet.  When Linda becomes a mother herself and realizes just how much she inherited from her mother in terms of mental illness, she becomes concerned and wonders how much she should tell her sons about the family legacy, while her husband wishes to shield them from “prophecies” that may or may not come true.

Half in Love is about the struggle with depression and suicide, but it also is about falling “half in love” with the idea of a famous poet and her legacy in spite of the rational reasons to distance oneself from that dangerous family legacy and live a “normal” life.   Readers will be absorbed in the author’s struggles and the struggles of her mother, but in spite of these struggles there is something to “love” about these women.  In a way larger parallels between a young Linda and the greater society can be drawn about falling in love with the darker sides of life that enabled her mother, Anne Sexton, to become one of the most famous poets of her time.  But this is not just Anne’s story, but a story of a family continuously torn apart, repaired, and fragmented — possibly irreparably.

***Reading this memoir prompted me to highlight one of Anne Sexton’s poems during the Virtual Poetry Circle last week.  Please feel free to join the continued discussion.***

About the Author:

Linda Gray Sexton was born in Newton, Massachusetts in 1953 and graduated from Harvard University in 1975. She is the daughter of the Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Anne Sexton, and has edited several books of her mother’s poetry and a book of her mother’s letters, as well as writing a memoir about her life with her mother, “Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back To My Mother, Anne Sexton.” “Rituals,” “Mirror Images,” “Points of Light,” and “Private Acts” are her four published and widely read novels. “Points of Light” was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame Special for television.

Check out the other stops on The TLC Book Tour.

This is my 2nd book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.

Kaleidoscope: An Asian Journey of Colors by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

Kaleidoscope:  An Asian Journey of Colors by Sweta Srivastava Vikram, who also wrote Because All Is Not Lost (check out my review), is a departure from her previous collection that deals primarily with grief.  Kaleidoscope focuses on colors and their relationship to Hindu women from birth to death including how red is worn as a bride, etc.

In this slim chapbook, Vikram tackles larger philosophical and cultural issues attached to a variety of colors prevalent in Hindu society.  She sketches out poetic memories and weaves in colors that demonstrate the emotional journey or right of passage in the moment described.

From “Innocence Comes in Pink” (page 3)

I am six today, and my limbs feel all grown up.
My tonsils are ready to be evicted from their home.
. . .
The color of my soft lungs untainted
by worldly pleasures resonates
with the wardrobe of my best friend, Barbie
and the hope of my favorite animal, Babe the pig.

Many of these poems are very vivid and pull readers into the moment.  Each line, each color, and each description is tied to a deeper familial history or tradition.  Vikram provides an in-depth examination of Hindu culture in a way that is easy to grasp and exposes the similarities between all cultures.  Further into the collection, there is a bit of defiance in her words as the color beige takes over in old age and she fights to remain red, youthful.  Overall, Kaleidoscope:  An Asian Journey of Colors is an even stronger chapbook poetry collection that Because All Is Not Lost because it deals more than with just emotion and healing.  Sweta Srivastava Vikram is a gifted poet, who has a work of fiction due out this year which I’m looking forward to, and she clearly is eager to highlight the differences in culture and the similarities between cultures at the same time — a fine line that she walks well.

About the Author:

Sweta Srivastava Vikram is an author, poet, writer, and blogger. Born in India, Sweta spent her formative years between the steel city of Rourkela, the blue waters of North Africa, and the green hills of Mussoorie before arriving in bustling New York. Growing up between three continents, six cities, and five schools, what remained constant in Sweta’s life was her relationship with words.

Please check out her interview on Page Readers.  Also, if you missed an earlier Virtual Poetry Circle in which I featured a poem from this collection, you should join the discussion.

This is my 1st book for the South Asian Reading Challenge.

This is also my 1st book for the 2011 Fearless Poetry Exploration Reading Challenge.

Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel

Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel was the December book club selection from Everyday I Write the Book, but I ran out of time in 2010 to read it.  Click here if you want to read the discussion.

Frances Ellerby is a young 20-something with her whole life ahead of her in 1969 when she heads to Miami for a wedding, meets a spontaneous young woman named Marse, and finds the love of her life, Dennis.  She makes a major decision and moves from Georgia to Miami to be with Dennis, and while she is uncertain about her life choices sometimes, for the most part she realizes she has chosen the right path.

“The pink undulated and shimmered in the sunlight, fading and brightening.  It was like nothing I’d ever imagined.  Like so much of Miami, the islands were vain, gaudy, and glorious — and in this way they belonged there, undeniably, and I hoped unrealistically that their pink skirts would stay fastened forever.”  (Page 147)

Frances is a young woman who is moored to Miami by her love of one man, but her friendships with Marse and others seem to come in and out of the storyline.  There are moments of utter joy, heartache, and humor, but there also are moments when the story line takes predictable turns as many plots about marriages over time turn to possible affairs and other heart breaks.

“‘Oh, God, I know — they botched her face-lift.’  One of Elanor’s cheeks drooped considerably, and the eyelid on the same side drooped as well, as if she’d been stuck with something and deflated.  ‘She’s going to that guy in Naples to fix it, but they can’t get her in for six months.  You’d think this would qualify as an emergency.'”  (page 194)

Although Daniel sets up the landscape of Miami as over-the-top and gaudy in many ways, readers may be unprepared for the dramatic bombshells dropped on top of one another in the last 100 pages.   Readers may find these sections unbelievable or too much to lump together near the end of a novel, especially one that up until this point had been very predictable.

Frances was too hard to connect with on many levels because she’s so unpredictable in her relationships and she second guesses her decisions at every turn.  Her deep love of Dennis is often questionable.  Overall, Stiltsville‘s setting in Miami grows with each passing decade, but the relationships between Frances and her family often seem stagnant or underdeveloped, though the introduction of Margo, her daughter, is a compelling element that should have been explored more fully.

This is my 1st book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen

Mary Lydon Simonsen‘s The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy re-imagines Pride & Prejudice in such a way that Darcy and Elizabeth cannot get past their misunderstandings and disagreements without a little help from two matchmakers — Georgiana Darcy and Anne de Bourgh.  Anne takes the reins for much of the book after she learns her cousin Darcy has proposed marriage to Elizabeth at Rosings and failed miserably at gaining her hand and love.

The main plot points of Lizzy’s visit to Pemberley, Lydia’s downfall with Wickham, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh’s visit to Hertfordshire are all present, but Anne helps convince Lizzy to visit Pemberley and prompts her mother to visit Hertfordshire.  Georgiana is a secondary matchmaker in this novel, but she’s witty and grows into her role as mistress of Pemberley by ensuring her guests are comfortable and do not annoy one another, especially since Caroline Bingley and Elizabeth are in the same room vying for the same man’s affections.

“And, yet, Anne was saying that Mr. Darcy went with his sister to the milliner’s shop.  Lizzy could just picture him, crossing and uncrossing his legs, and drumming his fingers on top of his hat, when he was not pacing the floor.”  (page 56)

Simonsen has sketched a strong Anne and Georgiana, women who are more modern than convention dictates, but who are well aware of society’s expectations for their behavior.  Georgiana is about to come out into society when things go awry in the Bennet family, but she unselfishly tells her brother to right the wrongs and go to his love to ease her pain.  Unlike Austen’s minimal sketch of Georgiana as a beloved sister, Simonsen creates a strong young woman with romantic notions and a penchant for writing.

Not to worry because Jane and Mr. Bingley’s romance is not forgotten, but there is more than one obstacle thrown in their way after Bingley is convinced by Darcy and the Bingley sisters to cease his courtship of Jane.  Enter Mr. Nesbitt, a solicitor with a odd sense of courtship and love.  This subplot is delightful, serves to increase the suspense in the Darcy-Lizzy romance, and is full of twists and turns.

“While Mary was croaking out a lullaby, the youngster had put his hands over his cousin’s mouth and had asked her not to sing.  Everyone in the family now owed a debt of gratitude to a four-year-old boy.”  (page 161)

“‘I am not angry with either of you.  I am, however, a little disconcerted that you embarked on such an elaborate scheme after I told you I already had a plan in place.’

‘Your plan was terrible.  I have saved you weeks of anxiety about Elizabeth.  You must own to it, Will.  My plan was better than yours.”  (page 204)

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen is engaging and funny.  The interactions between Anne and Darcy are often filled with playful jabs between cousin, and the dialogue between Jane and Lizzy are not only sisterly but full of sweet teasing.  Another fun re-imagining of Pride & Prejudice that delves deeper into the secondary characters of Austen’s novel.

If you missed Mary Lydon Simonsen’s guest post and the chance to win one of two copies of The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, there’s still time to check them out.

About the Author:

Mary Lydon Simonsen’s first book, Searching for Pemberley, was acclaimed by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and RT Book Reviews. She is well loved and widely followed on all the Jane Austen fanfic sites, with tens of thousands of hits and hundreds of reviews whenever she posts. She lives in Peoria, Arizona where she is working on her next Jane Austen novel. For more information, please visit http://marysimonsenfanfiction.blogspot.com/ and http://www.austenauthors.com/, where she regularly contributes.

Sanditon by Jane Austen

Sanditon, another unfinished novel and the last that she was working on before her death, by Jane Austen begins with the Parkers in search of a surgeon to bring back to the seaside town of Sanditon from Willingden to care for the sick tourists and travelers seeking the medicinal attributes of the small town.  Unfortunately, the Parkers’ carriage runs into rough roads in a different Wilingden without a physician and it overturns.  Mr. Parker ends up with a sprained ankle and the adventure begins.

Meeting these characters initially, readers will find Mrs. Parker of few words and Mr. Parker very vocal about his town and his life.  Parker in many ways is similar to Mr. Collins in how he pontificates about Mrs. Denham, the town’s patroness.  Despite an invitation to the Heywoods to spend time in Sanditon, the Parkers had to be content to take one of the daughters, Charlotte.  On the way home, Mr. Parker tells Charlotte about Mrs. Denham and the rest of Sanditon.

“‘There is at times’ said he — ‘a little self-importance — but it is not offensive; — and there are moments, there are points, when her love of money is carried greatly too far.  But she is a goodnatured woman, a very goodnatured woman, — a very obliging, friendly neighbour; a cheerful, independent, valuable character.  — and her faults may be entirely imputed to her want of education.”  (page 166)

Parker believes the sea waters will cure all ills and make sure everyone is healthy, even those who claim to be healthy already.  The introduction describes the outrageous nature of Austen’s hypochondriacs in this novel and attributes the characterizations to her need to lighten her burdens since she had been ailing for about a year before her death.  Whether true or just speculation is hard to say, but it is clear that Austen’s experiences in Bath and with the healing waters got her thinking about her own society and its dependence on these waters to cure their ills.

As the novel progresses, readers will find that Austen has ventured into territory that she is not as familiar with, in that Charlotte Heywood becomes a narrating commentator on this new society in Sanditon.  Readers will enjoy the fresh look at society and their tendency to become ill and recover miraculously when they are needed.  Austen clearly had begun branching out beyond simply highlighting the societal hypocrisy among courtship rituals to discuss other topics like charity to those less fortunate and generating a prosperous town without commercializing it too much.

Overall, Sanditon by Jane Austen may be unfinished, but well worth reading to see how Austen’s work had grown and was about to flourish further.  It is not quite clear who the hero of the novel would have been — although it could be speculated that Uncle Sydney Parker is the hero.  It is clearly not Sir Edward, and the heroine could be Charlotte, though readers’ connection to her because of her observer status and her plight is not all that strong and could signal that Austen had another heroine in mind.  Readers will have fun visiting this seaside resort and its quirky characters, as well as fun speculating where Austen was heading with this story.