A while back, I got approved on NetGalley to read Shoot the Moon, which is the sequel to Seeking Mansfield. Normally I wouldn’t request a sequel when I haven’t even read the first installment, but this was different. The blurb of both books spoke to me and when I was approved for Shoot the Moon, I simply jumped to BookDepository and ordered the first book!
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.
Although this sounds like a predictable and typically teenage high school read, this was anything but. To be honest, I expected it to be typical and predictable. Imagine my surprise when it turned out Seeking Mansfield was everything but those things!
Let’s start with the discovery I made upon finishing this novel. It’s based on Mansfield Park by Jane Austen! Okay, for those of you who read classics, that probably was obvious already but I’m not really a classics-reading girl. On top of that, there are some winks to Cinderella as well – at least, that’s what I was thinking a couple of times while reading.
As I said, I’m not really the person to pick up classics, but after Seeking Mansfield I really have the urge to buy myself the Austen-novel and dive in!
Kate Watson has a very fluent way of writing. It drew me in and held me tight from the start. Being written from both Ollie’s and Finley’s POV, the story is that much more interesting. Since you have different views on the same events, it’s easier to understand the characters’ actions and thoughts which is both enlightening and captivating at the same time.
The fact that I was at the start of having a reading slump – honestly, I thought I wasn’t going to read a page this month and November had only just started… – and this book totally demolished that… I’m thanking you on my bare knees, Kate Watson! I know that it’s because of her writing that I kept reading, turning page after page after page.
Another factor that definitely helped, was that this isn’t your typical teenage love story, at all. Finley has a past, not an easy one at that, which has caused her to move in with her godparents. It’s this past that makes her want to hide from everyone and everything. Finley’s a very shy girl, always running from potential attention. The only people she’s comfortable around are Oliver and his brother, Tate. Others? Nope!
As for Oliver, he’s always been the one to encourage Finley to speak her mind, to come out and take a chance instead of trying to do everything for others. Although I didn’t agree with how he handled some things, knowing why he did them did help. Pretty sure I would hate him if I hadn’t had his POV.
From the start it’s clear that these two have feelings for each other. The problem? They don’t realize the other’s feeling the exact same way! Because of that, their lives get turned upside down when famous siblings Harlan and Emma move in across their street.
With Emma’s interest in Oliver and Harlan trying to get a rise out of Finley, will they discover their true feelings? Or will they accept that life has something else in store for them?
Not a bad thing to say about Seeking Mansfield so 5 cupcakes!
And can someone please send me the most beautiful Mansfield Park-copy?