Seeking Mansfield. By Kate Watson. Young Adult fiction.
Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend and godparents’ son, Oliver Bertram. Since Finley moved in with her godparents after the death of her father, she and Oliver have grown close. If Finley could just take Oliver’s constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she’d finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater. But when teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move across the street from the Bertram’s, they shake up Finley and Oliver’s stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Finley realizes that Harlan’s attention is shifting to her. She discovers she might have feelings for him too. Or, is she only interested in Harlan because Oliver is taken? Finley doesn’t want to be won, and she doesn’t want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver’s heart–and keep her own–she’ll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight.
Seeking Mansfield is a modern day re-telling of Jane Austens Mansfield park. I’m generally a fan of re-tellings and I enjoyed Mansfield park, although it’s often considered to me one of Austens most boring works, (not something I agree with) with a lacklustre lead character in Fanny Price.
Finley Price is our modern day Fanny Price and I really liked her. Yes, she’s downtrodden and lacks and belief in herself – she’s had a rough time, I won’t give details because it’ll lessen the impact as you read the book – but her character grows in leaps and bounds throughout the story.
I’ll admit that at around a chapter in I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy Seeking Mansfield it felt a little flat, one dimensional, the lead characters a little prim and wishy washy, but I carried on reading because I believe in giving a book a chance, and I really was keen to see how this would compare to the original, and I’m extremely glad I did.
Somewhere in the first few chapters it really picks up, especially with the introduction of the Crawfords, who I particularly liked – well, until I didn’t.
The characters develop well and actually have a lot of depth, and Seeking Mansfield definitely gave my emotions a run for their money.
There’s a movie/theatre theme running through the book which I enjoyed, it added plenty of interest to the story.
I’m not much into love triangles, although this is more of a square than a triangle, (especially when they are the main thread of the whole story) but this love square is one I did enjoy.
I found myself rooting for one person, then completely changing my mind only to end up rooting for someone else.
There is of course much teen angst in Seeking Mansfield – it’s a Young Adult book with young adult lead characters – so if that’s not particularly your thing you may well not enjoy this book but if you enjoy re-tellings, like a good love square, and appreciate strong character development, I think Seeking Mansfield is a very worthy addition to your bookcase.
Seeking Mansfield is available to preorder – for 28th June – on Amazon and it’s definitely one I’d recommend.
I’m giving it four stars because it’s a re-telling done well, it’s actually got me wanting to dig out my copy of Mansfield Park to read it again, it’s got good strong characters and an underlying message of being true to yourself, and believing in what you can do. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.