May 192017

One of The Best YA Jane Austen Adaptations I’ve Read!

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???


– 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!)


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!

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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.

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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!!!


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  • This giveaway is open internationally (with some shipping restrictions).  Thank you, Kate!
  • This giveaway ends May 23rd!

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  16 Responses to “Seeking Mansfield – Kate Watson + GIVEAWAY!!!”


    Thanks for the giveaway, this sounds like an interesting book that I am adding to my TBR list.


    This sounds very interesting. We will be reading Mansfield Park in our book group in June. I wish I could get a copy of this version to compare!!!


    Wow, this sounds amazing. Meredith, 5 our of 5 stars, man that is fantastic. I can’t wait to read this. YA readers need someone they can relate to. Thanks for the review, and thanks to the author for the generous give-a-way. Blessings… JWG


    Sounds great! Increasingly, I’ve been finding that the farther away from the original an Austenesque novel is in time and space, the more interesting I find it. There’s so much in Mansfield Park that has been underexplored.


      I agree, Abigail. I find it so creative when authors find less obvious or ways to update and create parallels to Jane Austen’s original characters and stories. 🙂


    Great review, I’m planning to read this in June during my month of Mansfield Park.


    Mansfield Park has always been my favorite Austen novel. It may not have the brightness and wit of Austen’s other books, but Fanny’s steadiness of character has always appealed to me more than Elizabeth’s wit and confidence. (It also explains why I’ve always adored Elinor and tolerated Marianne in S&S.) And I’m interested in seeing how Mrs. Bertram is portrayed with fibromyalgia with which I have also been diagnosed.

    I think I’d enjoy this update very, very much, so I’m definitely hoping to win a copy! I don’t have a book budget right now because my husband was just laid off, so these aching fingers are definitely crossed!! 😉

    Susanne 🙂


      Oh so sorry to hear about your husband, Susanne! I hope things work out soon for him! I’m so glad to hear of your affinity for Fanny and Mansfield Park! I hope this lovely book finds its way to you soon! Best of luck!


    Well you and Claudine both gave this story 5 stars…so count me in on the give away and thank you for your lovely review.


    Great review Meredith. It looks like an interesting book.
    Thanks for the giveaway. 🙂

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