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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Austen in August ~ The Beresfords ~ A Mansfield Park contemp by Christina Dudley

Reading a Jane Austen retelling for Austen in August,

The BeresfordsThe Beresfords by Christina  Dudley

The Beresfords~

With sympathy and humour , Christina Dudley has given us an in depth, contemporary take on Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.

From the book's cover..

Raised with four older stepcousins in a conservative, churchgoing family, Frannie Price teeters on the brink of adolescence in the summer of 1985. Her timidity and awkwardness make her easy to overlook, yet she has one true friend in her cousin Jonathan. Jonathan, her childhood champion and the best person she knows. But when the Grant twins enter her life, Frannie’s world turns upside down. Not only does the sly and charming Eric Grant set her girl cousins against each other, but his flirtatious sister makes off with Jonathan’s heart.

Only Frannie sees the faults running beneath the family landscape—not that anyone’s asking her opinion. Not her strict Uncle Paul, not her beloved Jonathan, and certainly not the Grants, who, after having their way with the rest of the Beresfords, turn their sights on her. What’s a girl to do? And why does she feel, in this uncharted territory, like God left her at the border?

As the cover concludes, The Beresfords chronicles Frannie’s coming of age, when all around her is coming apart.

As a reader, I continually internally urged Frannie to speak up, tell it like it was.  Unfortunately, she didn't hear me :) She continued on her own path.  I cringed at her hesitancy, at the sidelining of her by her cousins, their 'un'Christian behaviour and attitudes contradicting their stated beliefs, their shallowness, the impotence of Frannie's aunt, and I acknowledged my disgust of uncle Paul's sister who ran roughshod over Frannie.  Then again, aunt Terry met no resistance to her unkindness and bullying!

I cheered for any small act of kindness from the maid or her cousin Jonathan.  When the tables eventually turned, I resonated a huge 'YES!'  The cousins were getting their just reward and Frannie was having her day!

Christina shares her reasons for writing her take on MP at the Calico Critic blogspot.  One reason?  "I wanted to give Fanny her own voice, to make her more sympathetic... Let her tell her side of the story, as my “Frannie” does."

Christina's final reason makes reading investment in The Beresfords bear interest.. "And finally, I was ticked at dear Jane for the ending of Mansfield Park. After all that Fanny has been through, things turn around for her in one sentence?! (And not even a very detailed sentence!) Fanny suffers more than any other Austen heroine, with the possible exception of Anne Elliott in Persuasion, but Anne gets a delicious conclusion, complete with detailed, heartfelt confession by Captain Wentworth. How could Austen so 'phone it in', when it came to Fanny? This absolutely had to be remedied."

Definitely a worthy read for anyone wanting a better outcome for Frannie {or Fannie}!  At least in The Beresfords, Christina has given us the satisfaction of Frannie's triumph and we can partner with her for the concluding HaPpY Dance!

About Christina ~
Blogging for the Bellevue (WA) Farmers Market as the UrbanFarmJunkie, she also edits other writers and served on the Advisory Board for University of Washington's Certificate in Digital Publishing. 
Christina's blog [click to link] HERE

View all my reviews

Don't miss tomorrow's Birthday Party Celebration!
It's Persuasion's, Anne Elliot's 225th Birthday 
and I'll be posting the Party right here !!

You'll find more reviews to whet your Jane Austen reading appetite
 from other participant listings at Austen in August ...


Miss Laurie of Old-Fashioned Charm said...

The Beresfords sounds interest! I just finished reading Mansfield Park and while I enjoyed it I did miss not having a least an official proposal scene.

I forgot that Anne Elliot's birthday was coming up! Last year I had a big blog birthday party for her. I look forward to your posts! :)

Faith Hope Cherrytea said...

TY Miss Laurie!
definitely agreeing on the proposal scenes ;)
looking fwd to your presence here ...

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