In my twenties, Pride and Prejudice was my favourite Austen. In my thirties it was Persuasion. Now I'm in my forties I'm getting very fond of Mansfield Park. I like the way Austen nails the social and financial status of her characters in the opening lines:
About thirty years ago, Miss Maria Ward of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income.I'm fascinated by Lady Bertram. Indolent and selfish she sits on the sofa all day making useless carpet and fringe and allowing her sister, the loathsome Mrs Norris, to criticize and bully Fanny. A complex and rewarding read.