Review: Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

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, the Bertram’s son Oliver. If she 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.

When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram’s, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver’s stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.

But 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.

I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Seeking Mansfield will be available 5/16/17.

I love a good Jane Austen re-telling and I haven’t read any based on Mansfield Park, so picking this book up was a no brainer. It’s been such a long time since I read Mansfield Park that I can’t really comment on how faithful it is to the source material. I do know that the basic structure of it is similar and reading this made me really want to go back and re-read Mansfield Park.

I really liked both Finley and Oliver. I loved their friendship and how they always supported each other. I loved the slow burn romance between them, too. We get both of their POVs throughout the story. Normally when we get dual POVs and find out that both characters have feelings for each other that they think are unrequited it drives me crazy. It often takes away a lot of the tension. However, I really enjoyed getting both perspectives here. I think that I could have ended up disliking Oliver a bit without his thought process of how he was justifying his actions. Instead I thought he was pretty adorable, even if he frustrated me at times.

I loved “uncle” Thomas and how the parents in this book were present. There were consequences for bad behavior and guidance when needed. I thought the other side characters – Harlan and Emma Crawford (Hollywood actors and new neighbors) and Tate and Juliette (Oliver’s brother and sister) were all fairly well developed, though I would’ve liked a little more of Oliver’s siblings. From what I remember of the Crawfords from Mansfield Park I thought Harlan and Emma were really well done, though maybe a little more likable here (but don’t worry, not that likable).

I thought the writing was kind of addictive. Even though it was a pretty character-driven plot and the pace was a little on the slow side, I just didn’t want to stop reading it. My only real complaint is that it got a little too teen-angsty for me at times.

Overall, I really enjoying Seeking Mansfield. I liked the characters and the romance and the message of self-worth and standing up for yourself. It was an easy and addicting read. Though I thought the middle of the story dragged a little bit with too much teen angst, it did pick back up and I really enjoyed it. I think fans of Mansfield Park would be happy to read this re-telling, as would YA Contemporary fans.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars

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