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A Reader of Fictions: Theme from Mansfield Park - Lesley Barber

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Theme from Mansfield Park - Lesley Barber


Author: Jennifer Bradbury
Pages: 309
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Brief Summary:
Agnes is an incredibly brilliant girl. She can speak, read and write in ten different languages, some of which are self-taught. Unlike mos girls of the 1810s, she follows along with the political situation and is enthralled by what she learns. Even more telling of her intelligence and fine taste is her obsession with Jane Austen. Now 17, she faces her Debut into society and the rather surprisingly overt attentions of the most desirable bachelor, Lord Showalter. Agnes worries that her life will quickly become mundane as she settles into wifehood, but, thankfully, she finds a relic on a mummy, unlocking a mystery that could affect the outcome of the wars with Napoleon. To solve this mystery, she's going to have to turn up with a totally Darcy-ish hero. Clever girl.

So if you're me and you pick up a book and the heroine is reading, especially if she's reading Jane Austen, you're probably going to love most anything that comes next so long as it's halfway decent. Sure I suppressed a shudder (somewhat unsuccessfully) when I realized that the Austen book in question was the insufferable Mansfield Park, but later Agnes mostly quotes P&P and S&S, so I'll forgive her. So yeah, Austen lovers should check this out, because the constant Austen references will make you giddy.

For those who (for some crazy insane reason) do not like Jane Austen, the similarities are limited pretty much entirely to the references. The plot, characters and action are not remotely like those of an Austen novel. Caedmon is compared to Darcy in his first appearance, but really has nothing in common with him at all, except for his physical appearance as perceived by Agnes. As for Agnes, she is as sassy as an Austen heroine, but she pushes boundaries much more, what with her then deemed excessive education and propensity to crossdressing when she wants to leave the house unescorted, not to mention not having the good sense to fall in love with a wealthy man.

The story of Wrapped is altogether fun and silly. While the plot twists were completely unsurprising, I was still happy to see them come and quite excessively diverted by the story as a whole. Plus, the cover is completely delightful, even if it did make me expect a Beauty and the Beast reimagining for some reason I cannot explain.

Jennifer Bradbury has written an adorable period piece and I cannot wait to see what she'll do next!

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Blogger Nori said...

Ooooo. I'm excited to read this one! Especially after an Austen flop that I recently read. I also have an Austen ARC to read (Midnight in Austenland) and frankly, there can just never be enough of her!

August 12, 2011 at 2:33 PM  

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