Thursday, April 27, 2017

Seeking Mansfield - Kate Watson

Seeking Mansfield
Kate Watson
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Retelling
Publisher: Flux
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenges: #DebutAuthorChallenge, #ContRom2017

Seeking Mansfield is a modern retelling of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. I will admit it right now: I did not read Mansfield Park, but I did see the movie, and therefore, had an idea of the story going in. Watson did a fine job with this tale. There is this spirit of the original story, but it is also a story wholly her own.

Finley and her best friend, Oliver, were passing their time together. They were happy filling their days with homework on the roof, tours in Old Town, and movie marathons of terrible films. Then one day, they have new neighbors, and these new neighbors happen to teen movie stars, Harlen and Emma Crawford, who immediately shake up Oliver and Finley's norm.

The sad stuff first. Finley was taken in by her godfather after her father's death and her mother's inability to properly care for her. I will not reveal more of the details here, because I want you to get the full impact of what happened to Finley. Knowing this background made me really appreciate the growth Finley experienced.

There were so many couplings going on here. Initially, we knew that there were feelings brewing between Finley and Oliver. Once the Crawfords enter the picture, Emma showed an interest in Oliver, and Harlen took a liking to Finley. In-between all this, Juliet, Oliver's sister, attempted to ensnare Harlen even though she was dating Raleigh. Whew! So many romantic entanglements. I loved it!

Our heroine, Finley, has a love for the theatre that runs ocean deep. She had a vast knowledge of the theatre and its inner workings, but kept most of that to herself. Her talents are slowly revealed, and she begins to believe she can earn a place in the prestigious Mansfield Theatre Youth program. Finley was such an easy MC to root for. There was a lot brewing under the surface there. At first glance, I thought she was a little wallflower, who let people take advantage of her. I believe I yelled, "She is not your Cinderella!!!, " at one point. As the story progressed, Finley grew stronger. She began to believe in herself, and she began to rely on herself. As she started to see herself differently, so did others.

Finley, stop!!!

Oliver was quite the swoon worthy hero. He was there for Finley when she was at her lowest point, and he was very dedicated to encouraging her to go after everything her heart desired. He wanted her to realize her full potential and was just such a dedicated friend. I wish I had an Ollie in my life.

Emma and Harley were interesting. I did not immediately like either of them, but they grew on me. I especially grew to love Harlen. He was quite the charmer. There was tons of great banter between Harlen and Finley. She seemed quite a suitable foil for him, and it was fun to watch that relationship blossom.

This was a fine debut from Ms. Watson. Her writing was very pleasant and set an appropriate tone for the story. I easily flew through this story due to the good pacing, great characters, and easy nature of the writing. I look forward to reading more of Watson's work.

Overall: a smile-inducing story of healing and self actualization with a great love triangle and a peek into the world of live theatre.

**I would like to thank NetGalley and Flux for the advanced copy of this book

Do you like theatre?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. This one is new to me. I have read Mansfield Park either and I haven't even watched the movie. The characters do sound wonderful in this retelling.

    1. I thought it was sweet and cute and had that level of entanglement of the original. I just saw it was getting a sequel too. Hmmm.