Rating: 5 out 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Modern, Young Adult retelling of Mansfield Park
SETTING: Present-day Chicago
- Finley Price: A shy sixteen-year-old with a broken home life. Is very grateful for her godparents, the Bertrams, who have taken care of her these last two years.
- Oliver Bertram: Eighteen-year-old second son of Finley’s godparents. Her closest friend and fiercest protector.
- Harlan Crawford: Popular movie star who acts like an insincere and cocky jerk, but maybe there is more to him than meets the eye.
Even though she has spent the last two years with her godparents (a much better situation than with her mom), Finley still is finding it hard to stand up for herself and feel worthy. But there is one person who has always been there for her and sees her as more than worthy, her best friend, Oliver. Oliver is starting to feel something stronger than friendship for Finley, but he is afraid to act on it. Thinking it would betray Finley’s trust in him and take advantage of her situation. But what happens when two famous movie actors move in next door???
WHAT I LOVED:
– Brilliantly Updated: Whoa! This is a wonderfully inventive and thoughtful update for Mansfield Park! There were many nods and allusions to Mansfield Park, but the Kate Watson didn’t constrict herself to following the story in every aspect and character. She found creative and clever ways to fit the constructs and essence of Jane Austen’s story into her story, time period, and setting. I loved so many of the changes she made – such as Mrs. Bertram (Lady Bertram) having Fibromyalgia and Aunt Norris having political ambitions for Mr. Bertram. But what I loved most about all her updates is how perfectly they made sense in the world of Mansfield Park.
– She Tweaked Edmund Bertram!: Instead of being a blind dunce and always seeing Finley as a friend (or worse, as a sister!), Oliver is very much aware of his feelings for Finley. And when famous movie star, Emma Crawford, starts flirting up a storm with him, he isn’t completely under her spell (like spineless Edmund is!) He just feels he should see where things go with Emma since he believes Finley doesn’t reciprocate his feelings. Three cheers to Ms. Watson for this terrific reincarnation of Edmund! I loved that the author would switch to Oliver’s point-of-view every so often to illustrate his feelings and thoughts. It revealed a lot about his character and his internal struggles. Plus, it was a refreshing to see someone else tortured with unreciprocated feelings, jealousy, and doubt for a change!
– Finley: As a shy-girl myself, I feel a lot of affinity and empathy for Jane Austen’s quiet and timid heroine. I thoroughly enjoyed Kate Watson’s reincarnation of Fanny, and thought it was brilliant that the reason Finley “shrinks from notice” isn’t because of feeling mistreated and undervalued by the Bertrams, but because of her own demons and painful childhood. I greatly admired how Ms. Watson focused on this as an obstacle for Finley to overcome. In addition, I loved that Finley was passionate about theatre as it fleshed her character out more and gave her an outlet.
– Everything Else: I loved the complexity to Henry (Harlan) Crawford character, thought the themes of morality and choosing your own path were dealt with skillfully, and had fun catching all the movie and play references. (yay for Princess Bride quotes!)
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
Bah! There may have been a moment or two that made me raise an eyebrow, but this is a Young Adult read and I loved everything else about it too much to be bothered with them!
Kate Watson makes a spectacular debut with her discerning, delightful, and well-crafted homage to Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. I loved that this wasn’t just a light-hearted teen romance filled with melodrama angst and insta-love. There were unique twists, complicated characters, romantic tension, depth, substance, and growth. Definitely a book I would recommend to Young Adult readers and Austen admirers alike!
*Never been a fan of Mansfield Park, Fanny, or Edmund? I think you should give this book a try as well!
~ AUTHOR BIO ~
Kate Watson is a young adult writer, wife, mother of two, and the tenth of thirteen children. Originally from Canada, she attended college in the States and holds a BA in Philosophy. Seeking Mansfield is her first novel, with a companion to follow. She is also a contributor to Eric Smith’s WELCOME HOME adoption anthology coming fall of 2017 from Flux. She lives and writes in Arizona.
Connect with Kate
In conjunction with her blog tour, Kate Watson is giving away 2 copies (paperback if US winner, ebook if international) of Seeking Mansfield to 2 lucky winners!!!
To enter this giveaway, fill out the rafflecopter form above!
- This giveaway is open internationally (with some shipping restrictions). Thank you, Kate!
- This giveaway ends May 23rd!