4 Hearts · YA Contemporary

Seeking Mansfield by Kate Waston


Released Date May 1, 2017

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.cropped-bookplusheartreviewicon.jpg

Received a Advance Readers Copy from Netgalley for Honest Review. 

Who loves Jane Austen? (Raising my Hand) Over here. I love her work. Her work is what made me fall in love with literature. So when I see ANYTHING that is a retelling of her work, I jump all over that.  Now Mansfield Park is not one of Austen’s most lovable stories. People usually don’t like Fanny Price, because she is reserved and has no back bone, but what people tend to forget is that Fanny is an observer. Similar to our heroin in Persuasion. Austen made many different types of women, in many different circumstances. Fanny takes notice of everyone and everything. She is well aware of the people around her and the sticky situations they put themselves in.

So Fanny was completely indebted and dependent on the hospitality of her uncle and aunts.

So if you are unfamiliar with Mansfield Park the book or the Masterpiece movies, cool; however, you don’t need to know Jane Austen’s book to enjoy this modern day story. Now if you have read OR watched Mansfield Park, this book will have so many things pop out at you that are parallel to the original story line, that you will have a smile on your face. Welcome to the world of not Fanny Price but instead we have Finley Price.

Name comparisons:

  • Finley Price —-  Fanny Price
  • Liam Price —- William Price
  • Tate Bertram —– Thomas Bertram
  • Oliver Bertram  —-  Edmund Bertram
  • Juliette Bertram  —-  Maria Bertram
  • Uncle  Thomas  ——    Sir Thomas Bertram
  • Aunt Mariah ——  Lady Bertram
  • Aunt Nora  —–  Mrs. Norris
  • Emma Crawford —- Mary Crawford
  • Harlan Crawford ——Henry Crawford
  • Raleigh Rushworth  ——Mr Rushworth

There are some characters that are not in the story, but the overall plot points, and key characters are all present.

Finley, aka Fin, grew up in the entertainment industry. Her mother and father were both famous for their own abilities, but lights and glamour to others hid the pain and torment going on in her home. She ended up having to move in with her father’s closes friend, Thomas Bertram. Mr Bertram is an attorney in Chicago. Thomas, his wife Mariah, and three children took Finley in while she was in high school. Now she feels indebted to them, for helping her through such hard times. They saved her life, in more ways than one. Due to the horrid things she had to experiences at the hands of her mother, Finley became reclusive. Her one and only passion was theater and film. She watched and read every script, play, film, and theatrical work she could get her hands on. She knew everything from the who’s who on Broadway to the classic films (and sometimes not so classic). She engrossed herself in them. Her one and only friend she would do these things with, was Oliver.

Oliver is the second child to Thomas Bertram. He is about 9 months older than Finley and a grade above her. Oliver has taken care of Finley as if she was a porcelain doll that would shatter. In that time, he fell in love with Finley, but refused to tell her or act on it. Each time he gave any type of inclination of his affections to her, she didn’t reciprocate them back. (From his point of view). Oliver is a giver. He serves and gives to anyone and everyone. He enjoys doing humanitarian work and seeks for opportunities to further his passions in the services to others. One thing though he knows he doesn’t want to do is be a lawyer like his father and brother. He has a difficult time telling his family that he doesn’t want to follow in their footsteps.

Oliver and Finely each struggle with expressing what they really feel and standing up for themselves. They have internal conflicts with themselves regarding their wants and desires. What makes their situation more difficult is the two new comers into their neighborhood – the Crawfords.

The relationship between Emma Crawford and Oliver grows, because he feels that it is better to move on then to pine over Finley. While Finley is struggling with jealousy, self-esteem, and her own personal romantic emotional conflict with Harlan Crawford. While relationships and emotions evolve amongst these four, they also each struggle with their own demons.

The story is told from the POV of Finley, but we do have a few chapters/sections that are from the POV of Oliver. Which I believe adds an element of depth to the stories situations and motivations.

I liked Finely. She is smart, witty, forgiving, and selfless. She gives so much and doesn’t ask for anything in return. Her relationship with Uncle Thomas and Aunt Mariah is sweet, and shows how likeable Finley is. Finley does so much growth from the beginning to the end of the book. She learns how to be her own person and not rely on others to fight her battles. I love her speech at her interview near the end of the book. You can feel through the pages how much growth has happened and the amazing woman she has become.

Do I believe you should read this book? Yes. It was fun, enjoyable, interesting, and romantic.

2 love triangles

Movie/theatre references

Jane Austen retelling

Young women who grows leaps and bounds.

So YES you should read this book.

4 hearts4-hearts


Parental Advisory: 

Neglectful parent, death of a family member, mild swearing, bullying, kissing/making-out. 

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