Lady Susan by Jane Austen was written before her published novels but published posthumously. An epistolary novel, I couldn’t help feeling that it was somewhat influenced by Laclos’ Les Liaisons Dangereuses. The titular character is a widow, a woman who is not unaware of her sexual charms and uses them to manipulate the emotions of those around her, especially the younger men who seem compelled to fall under her allure.
The novel is really more a novella, very short, and lacks much of Austen’s typical wit. Her understanding of character motivation and human psychology is evident but little else seems to lend this story a recommendation. It is more interesting to read than necessary, I suppose, in that it is interesting to see where her narrative skills began and how beautifully they eventually became in her maturity. Probably only a “must read” for the die hard Janeite.