Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Sequel to Mansfield Park, Minor Character
TIME FRAME: Begins 4 years after the close of Mansfield Park
MAIN CHARACTERS: Susan Price, Tom Bertram, Mrs. Julia Yates, Lady Bertram, Henry Crawford, Mary Crawford, Mr. Wadham (a reverend filling in for Edmund temporarily) and Mrs. Osbourne (Mr. Wadham’s sister who is helpful and devoted to caring for her neighbors),
WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS NOVEL:
- In celebration of Mansfield Park‘s Bicentennial, I thought I should read at least 1 Mansfield Park inspired Austenesque novel this year
- I’ve read so few MP inspired novels – just 4!
- I’ve read Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken and loved it!!! It was my first JAFF ever!
- You voted for it! This book won over Ladysmead by Jane Gillespie in my blog poll.
Poor Sir Thomas has passed away and dutiful Edmund travels to Antigua with his wife, Fanny, to settle the family’s business affairs there. Leaving Susan and Lady Bertram in the company of domineering and brusque Tom – the newly appointed Sir Thomas, the meddlesome Mrs. Yates, and any new or old friends…that find themselves in the vicinity of Mansfield. Guess which infamous brother and sister just happen to travel into the county again???
WHAT I LOVED:
- A Spirited Heroine: Susan is adorable! I loved how she was dutiful, moral, and compassionate, but at the same time she has a quick temper, a plucky attitude, and a mind of her own. Even though she is warned to stay away from the Crawfords, she decides to meet them and form her own opinion. I enjoyed seeing her sharp exchanges with Tom, private thoughts about Lady Bertram’s indolence, annoyance with Julia Yates’s meddlesome opinions, and her devotion and admiration for her siblings, Fanny and William.
- Wonderful Characters and Characterization: Joan Aiken did a marvelous job of matching each character’s personality and emulating their voice. It felt she not only understood these characters but had a certain fondness for them as well. I especially enjoyed her new creations Mr. Wadham, Mrs. Osbourne, and Julia’s imperious and prissy sister-in-law, Miss Yates. In addition, I thought it quite humorous and fitting that Julia Yates, who we must assume is unhappy with her imprudent choices, steps into Mrs. Norris’s role quite perfectly. With her daily visits to Mansfield and penchant for managing the affairs of others, she has become the new Mrs. Norris – the character we love to hate!
- Henry Crawford Can Be Redeemed: I love the idea of Henry Crawford transforming or changing into a good, honorable man “for the love of a good woman.” The author chooses, in a very believable way to exonerate Henry from his crimes in Mansfield Park – a part I greatly enjoyed. But I wish she did more with him in this tale instead of illustrate how he has a broken heart filled with unrequited love. I loved how he was a little bit of a mystery to Susan. She’s heard the stories of his past, but when new information comes to light and Susan meets him in person, she has to determine for herself who is Henry Crawford really…
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- A Decided Lack of Romance: Similar to Mansfield Park, there isn’t much in the way of romance in this novel. Even though she is surrounded by several eligible bachelors, Susan – judging by her thoughts and remarks – doesn’t hold any of them in special regard. It isn’t until the very end that she discovers her unknown feelings for someone and vice versa. I would have loved to have this romance developed more and featured throughout the story, rather than just at the very end. A tad disappointed.
- What was the Purpose?: Although I loved learning more about all the characters of Mansfield Park, I often felt myself wondering at their inclusion in this story. The story-lines involving Mary, Henry, Maria Rushworth, while interesting, didn’t really seem to have much purpose or impact – especially in the case of Maria and her tarnished reputation.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with this sequel to Mansfield Park. I loved Joan Aiken’s style of writing and appreciated her affinity for Jane Austen’s characters. I look forward to reading more by Joan Aiken, although I’m pretty sure Jane Fairfax will forever remain my favorite. 🙂
By way of Suzan, a dear friend and longtime reader of Austenesque Reviews, a second copy of Mansfield Park Revisited found its way into my possession. Since I already had a copy of this book languishing on my TBR, I thought I’d hold onto Suzan’s copy to use for a giveaway! As you see pictured below, I have a former library copy of Mansfield Revisited (slight title change) that is looking for a new home.
If you are interested in winning this lovely book for yourself, just leave a comment below.
- This giveaway is open to residents worldwide!
- This giveaway will end October 20th.