The Watsons: By Jane Austen, Concluded by L. Oulton
is a novel by Jane Austen that was left unfinished at the time of her death. The manuscript was later completed by L. Oulton and published in 1928. The story follows the Watson family, particularly the eldest daughter Emma, as they navigate the social norms and expectations of their time.
The novel is set in the town of Stanton, where Emma Watson returns to live with her family after being raised by a wealthy aunt. Upon her return, Emma is faced with the prospect of finding a suitable husband, a task made more difficult by her family’s financial struggles and the expectations placed upon her as a young woman in society. As she navigates the complex social hierarchy of Stanton, Emma is courted by several suitors, each with their own flaws and strengths.
One of the most striking aspects of “The Watsons” is its portrayal of the social norms and expectations of Austen’s time. The novel is set in a time when a woman’s worth was largely determined by her ability to marry well and secure her family’s social and financial status. Emma and her sisters are keenly aware of this pressure, and much of the novel is devoted to their struggles to navigate this world while remaining true to themselves.
Another notable feature of the novel is its depiction of family dynamics. The Watsons are a close-knit family, and their interactions are characterized by a mix of affection and tension. The relationship between Emma and her sisters is particularly complex, as they navigate their own desires and the expectations placed upon them by their family and society.
The novel’s themes of love, marriage, and social status are explored with Austen’s trademark wit and insight. The characters are complex and well-drawn, and the plot is engaging and satisfying. However, because the novel was left unfinished, some readers may find the ending unsatisfying. The completion by L. Oulton is generally considered to be faithful to Austen’s style and intentions, but it is impossible to know exactly how Austen would have ended the story.
Overall, “The Watsons” is a fascinating glimpse into the world of Jane Austen and a testament to her skill as a writer. The novel is a must-read for fans of Austen’s work and for anyone interested in the social norms and expectations of early 19th-century England. While it may not be as well-known as some of Austen’s other works, “The Watsons” is a charming and insightful novel that deserves to be more widely read.