A bookish musician moves in with wealthy relatives and finds romance and renewed hope in this modern-day take on Mansfield Park.
Edie Price spent three years in foster care following her mother’s death, until finally her snobbish, WASPy aunt and uncle deigned to take her in. Life in Mansfield, Massachusetts, is both alien and familiar to Edie, since she used to spend summers there before a long-ago family rift—and since the socio-economic divide between herself and her family is now so extreme. Her aunt’s performative charity doesn’t extend to real kindness, and her cousins, Maria and Julia, at first seem shallow and catty to Edie. Still, she remembers boy-next-door Sebastian Summers with a fondness that quickly reignites into a crush when the two start swapping literary references and longing glances. However, complications arise in the form of Sebastian’s glamorous girlfriend, Claire, and Claire’s brother, a gorgeous, notorious player named Henry. Edie immediately idealizes Sebastian and dismisses Henry, but as she gets to know more about Mansfield’s high society, and about herself, she learns to question almost all her first impressions. Edie’s ex–best friend and two background characters are implied people of color; all others are white. The prose is heavier on alliteration than Austen-esque wit, but the author of Mansfield Park would no doubt approve of this retelling’s dreamy romance and sly social commentary.
A sweet, gentle modernization of Jane Austen that packs a little subversive punch. (Romance. 14-18)