Jul 202018

Happy Friday, readers! I am so happy to welcome back author Lona Manning to Austenesque Reviews today! Lona was here last year to celebrate her first release – a Mansfield Park variation titled A Contrary WindWhich I loved (see here)! And now, today, a sequel to that variation is being released! (Woot woot!) Lona is here today to share an excerpt from her new release, A Marriage of Attachment!

This excerpt from A Marriage of Attachment features a flashback to a scene from Mansfield Park, as Edmund falls in love with Mary Crawford while walking through the grounds at Sotherton.


Edmund Bertram is the clergyman at Thornton Lacey, a village near Mansfield, in his parsonage-house.

Edmund dipped his quill in his ink, and paused, looking up from his blank sheet of paper to gaze out of the window. He recalled when Mary’s brother Henry suggested they build a garden “at what is now the back of the house; which will be giving it the best aspect in the world, sloping to the south-east. The ground seems precisely formed for it.” Henry used to pique himself on his abilities as a landscape designer, and the Crawfords and Bertrams once travelled together to the country home of his sister’s fiancé Mr. Rushworth, so Henry could advise on improvements to his grounds. The visit to the gardens of Sotherton turned out to be anything but innocent for all of the young people hovering on the brink of love or desire. Henry had flirted with Julia all the way there, and, once arrived, had transferred his attentions to Maria. And Mary had discovered that Edmund intended to be a clergyman. Her reaction to this news, ought to have taught Edmund to guard his heart from her. Instead, she had bewitched him.

Edmund recalled, with painful clarity, how delightful Mary had been, when he and she and Fanny strolled through the patch of forest known as the Wilderness. When Fanny, pleading fatigue, had asked to rest for a while, he immediately found a bench; he warmly urged the ladies to sit down, and his heart beat faster when Mary declined, saying, in her delightfully contrary way, that ‘resting fatigues me.’

The opportunity was so fair and so was she. They left Fanny behind and walked along the secluded footpaths, which curved and wound about until they found themselves at a side gate which led to a broad oak avenue, one of the approaches to the manor itself. Mary was still playfully arguing with him about how long they had been walking in the Wilderness, and how far they had come.

“You may put your watch away, Mr. Bertram. I have now walked long enough to want some rest—so, since I am never tired, it does follow that we have covered a prodigious distance,” she said.

“If my watch does not refute you, perhaps the poet will.” Edmund recalled some lines from Cowper:

We tread the wilderness, whose well-roll’d walks,

With curvature of slow and easy sweep—

Deception innocent—give ample space

To narrow bounds.

“‘Ample space to narrow bounds,’” Mary repeated. “One is reminded of Hamlet: ‘I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space.’ Not I. I should hate to be confined. Even these noble trees crowd in upon me.”

Mary spread her shawl on the grass under one of broadest oaks, and they sat down together in its welcome shade.

“You are correct in what you said, Mr. Bertram,” said she, pointing down the avenue. “The house is ill-placed. If only it had been situated at the crest of the valley, instead of the bottom! How much more could be done to improve the setting! Sotherton must have a decidedly gloomy aspect in winter.”

“It is highly pleasing to me, just at present.”

A sideways smile awarded his attempt at gallantry.

“I think you have almost blundered upon some repartee, Mr. Bertram, and I will own myself flattered.”

“You are generous to admit the sentiment while overlooking the lack of eloquence which clothed it. Well then, Miss Crawford, do you think your brother will recommend that this avenue be taken down?”

“I think he would sweep everything away—the gates, the walls, the hedges, to open up the view as much as possible. He would return it to a state of untouched nature—-which is an exacting business, as you know, for these so-called natural landscapes are the product of artifice.”

“And how about you, Miss Crawford?” Edmund could not resist asking. “Would a scene of rustic simplicity please you? Could you be satisfied to contemplate such a view every morning, or would you prefer to look out at a busy London street, thronged with carriages, wagons, bawling costermongers, pushing throngs? I think I see your eyes brighten at the thought.”

“You must allow there is more variety to be found in the city, Mr. Bertram—more variety of company, more diversions of all sorts—plays, concerts, lectures—and more opportunities to distinguish oneself—more avenues for happiness, in short. Here I see only one avenue—this heavy and respectable line of oaks marching sedately along. The quiet and the peace is enchanting at present, and will do very well, just for the moment that is—not for a lifetime, certainly!”

“Cowper disagrees with you there,” said Edmund, taking a mock-heroic pose and declaiming:

He is the happy man whose life e’en now

Shows somewhat of that happier life to come

Who, doomed to an obscure but tranquil state

Would make his fate his choice—”

“Fiddlesticks! If the poet really believed that obscurity breeds felicity, he would not have sought fame by publishing his poem! It is in our natures to seek immortality, Mr. Bertram.”

Edmund smiled. “I will concede, the notion that the greatest happiness is to be found in rural simplicity, is a too-common poetic conceit amongst our men of letters.”

“And amongst educated men who ought to—” Mary stopped herself and laughed. “The day is too lovely for quarrelling, Mr. Bertram. Although disputing with you has brought me more pleasure than I’ve known while exchanging compliments with many another gentleman. Why should this be?”

Edmund wondered if she knew how ardently he wished to fold her in his arms there and then, how he wanted to kiss her with passionate intensity. And no wonder cousin Fanny was completely forgotten on her park bench, for quite some time longer!

Ah, well. They had talked and quarrelled and quarrelled and talked for the better part of a year, and then she married him. And then she left him.

Oh, poor Edmund! I do feel bad for him and how things ended up!  I wonder if there is a chance of happiness for him.

~ Book Description ~

A Marriage of Attachment continues the story of Fanny Price as she struggles to build her own life after leaving her rich uncle’s home. Fanny teaches sewing to poor working-class girls in London, while trying to forget her first love, Edmund Bertram, who is trapped in a disastrous marriage with Mary Crawford. Together with her brother John and her friend, the writer William Gibson, she discovers a plot that threatens someone at the highest levels of government. Meanwhile, Fanny’s brother William fights slavery on the high seas while longing for the girl he loves.

Filled with romance, suspense and even danger, A Marriage of Attachment takes the familiar characters from Mansfield Park on a new journey.

Ooooo I love the sound of this Mansfield Park sequel, especially since it promises a hint of romance for William Price!


Connect with Lona

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Today Lona generously brings with her an ebook copy A Contrary Wind and an ebook copy of A Marriage of Attachment for me to give away to TWO lucky winners (one book for each winner!)


To enter this giveaway, leave a question, a comment, or some love for Lona below!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Lona!
  • This giveaway ends July 27th!
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  26 Responses to “Excerpt + Giveaway with Author Lona Manning!!!”


    I am intrigued with Lona’s creativity and congratulate her on adding to the seemingly overlooked Mansfield Park library !
    Timing of the giveaway is excellent for adding to #AusteninAugust reading – thankyou for hosting, Meredith, and for Lona’s generosity!


    I really need to read Mansfield Park again. It is not one of my favorite books, but perhaps if I read this version I might get into it more. 🙂 Thanks for sharing it with us Lona Manning.


    This has piqued my interest to more fully understand Mansfield Park and I look forward to reading it. Thank you Lona for enticing me to consider other JAFF besides P&P and thank you Meredith for hosting!


      Mansfield Park has one of Austen’s most believable villians, the busy-body Aunt Norris. I wonder if Austen based her on anybody in her own life?


      It is fun to spend time with Jane Austen’s other characters, Anngela! Even though I do prefer the Bennets, Bingleys, and Darcys. I love visiting the Woodhouses, Dashwoods, Wentworths, etc. as well! 😉

      Lona, great question! I wouldn’t be surprised if some part of that character was inspired by a real person!


    I never liked Fanny. BTW, Jane Austen’s mother did not like her either. The “fainting violet” has never been on the top of my list, that is why I have always questioned Jane Bennet’s character. Yes, the particular play may have been a bit questionable; but, I do believe it was winter and there was not much to do. These were adults, even though they were young, so they should have known how to behave correctly. Little Miss Prissy Pants Fanny does not need to preach and make herself a bore. The only good character in the original is Fanny’s brother. This is probably the same here, too. You cannot keep a good character down.


      “Good” in the sense of “interesting,” not good in the sense of “moral and principled,” right? Yes, Henry Crawford is an exuberant character and he plays a part in the story. My version of Fanny has a little bit more of a backbone. She runs away from Mansfield Park after Mrs. Norris insults her in front of everyone, and gets a job as a governess.


    Mansfield Park is at the top of my list of favorite Austen novels, but I never felt that Edmund deserved Fanny; the fact that he was taken in by Mary Crawford, even temporarily in the original novel, lessened his appeal greatly for me. Perhaps if Austen had given more details of Fanny and Edmund’s courtship, I may have felt more positively toward him.

    I adored A Contrary Wind and own an e-copy already, but I’d love to be in the drawing for A Marriage of Attachment. Thanks for the wonderful excerpt and giveaway, Lona. I feel as if Edmund has received his comeuppance (and rather more) in his sorry marriage to Mary Crawford. I pity him, but I also blame him as well; the signs were there, but he ignored them.

    And thanks for being a lovely hostess, as always, Meredith!!

    Susanne 🙂


    I have the first book but I haven’t read it yet. I love it when authors take on works of Jane Austen other than Pride and Prejudice. Although P&P is my favourite it’s good to have a change.

    I am sorry to see things aren’t going well for Edmund, but am glad to hear we get more William Price, because he was the first character from MP that I could whole-heartedly like!


    Oh, I want to know what happened… I have ‘A Contrary Wind’ but the second is on my wish list. Best wishes on the launch of this book. Also, thanks for the generous give-a-way. Thanks Meredith for hosting and a special hello to Mr. Bingley.


    Just thought I would pop in to say, I am currently reading a ‘Contrary Wind’ and loving it! It is beautifully written and I’m only on Chapter 7…I recently won ‘A Marriage of Attachment’ and look forward to reading it next! Please do not enter me in the giveaway.


    I now have A Contrary Wind but have not yet read it so I would love to be in the running for the sequel. Thanks for sharing here and for the chance to win.


    For anyone who feels they need to re-read Mansfield Park before reading A Contrary Wind and then A Marriage of Attachment, may I recommend the audio version as narrated by Juliet Stevenson? I gained a whole new appreciation of the book when I listened to it last year and her narration of Jane Austen’s works is particularly good.

    I imagine that writing a variation on this plot would be rather tricky but Lona Manning does it rather well in both books. You need to have read A Contrary Wind before A Marriage of Attachment, in my opinion. Please don’t enter me in the giveaway as I’ve already read both.

    P. S. The other day, I actually met a lady named Mrs. Norris. She was lovely!


    It’s great to see a sequel to an Austen novel that is NOT P&P. Mansfield Park is one I struggled with on first reading it but having read it a number of times now I find I enjoy it more every time and learn something new from it.


    Mansfield park is in my top 3 from Jane austen . I think it’s one of her most underrated books.


    Oh, why oh why did Mary Crawford decided to marry Edmund but then left him. And an independent Fanny finding her true self and learning to move on from her love for Edmund is a refreshing variation that I would enjoy reading. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into Edmund’s thoughts and past events, Lona.


    I’d love to read these! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!

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