Fanny may be more timid, prude, and boring compared to the other heroines of Austen's works. However, in the end, she still stands up for herself and does what she feels is right in her heart. How can anyone not be proud of that?
The book dragged in the beginning for me. Fanny's situation isn't really terrible, but I get the feeling from Austen that it is meant to be oppressive. Throughout most of her life, Fanny has little love from her uncle, her aunt is vain and un-involved, and the other aunt is an obnoxious slave-driver. Out of her four cousins, only Edmund, is a friend, while the rest view her as some amusement for every now and then, but rather dull, and not that interesting. So, who can blame Fanny for being timid and risk averse? Mrs. Norris has been using her as a personal slave and she has little love from the rest of the family.
I enjoyed Mrs. Norris, not because she was horrible, but because her character came alive in the book far more than anyone else. Julia and Maria could have been the same person honestly, for all I care. The Crawfords behaved just as I expected, although it is never explained whether Mary truly believed her intentions at the end or it was for her own benefit to get Edmund. She seems more manipulative than is let on - she uses Fanny as a scapegoat, like Fanny was her little puppet all along and messed everything up by having her own independent thought and action.
Edmund is rather a bore, but then again, he is a perfect match for Fanny in their temperaments and worldly views, so I couldn't imagine that Austen would have made someone more dashing and adventurous. Fanny would have none of that.