Fans of Jane Austen will recognise the players and the setting - Mansfield Park has been telling the story of Fanny Price and her happily ever after for more than 200 years. But behind the scenes of Mansfield Park, there's another story to be told.
Mary Crawford's story.
When her widowed uncle made her home untenable, Mary made the best of things by going to live with her elder sister, Mrs Grant, in a parson's house the country. Mansfield Parsonage was more than Mary had expected and better than she could have hoped. Gregarious and personable, Mary also embraced the inhabitants of the nearby Mansfield Park, watching the ladies set their caps for her dashing brother, Henry Crawford, and developing an attachment to Edmund Bertram and a profound affection for his cousin, Fanny Price.
Mansfield Parsonage retells the story of Mansfield Park from the perspective of Mary Crawford's hopes and aspirations and shows how Fanny Price's happily-ever-after came at Mary's expense.
Or did it?
"This book captures Austen's voice with a fascinating point of view." - Maria Grace, Author of "Courtship and Marriage in Jane Austen's World"
"Kyra Kramer delights with her cheeky take on one of Austen's most misunderstood characters. Through sharp observation and a talent for turn of phrase, Kramer polishes Mary Crawford into the bright jewel she truly is. By the end, you'll be wondering why the original wasn't written from her perspective all along. This is Regency Era at its finest. Mansfield Parsonage, a true source of felicity!" - Adrienne Dillard, Author of "Cor Rotto"
What's so special about Mansfield Parsonage?
Mansfield Parsonage is one of the few retellings of Jane Austen's novel, Mansfield Park. While variations of Pride and Prejudice abound, very few authors dabble with Fanny Price or Mansfield. Yet, while Mansfield Park is Austen's least-loved novel, it is also the most complex and thought-provoking.
The delight and genius of most Austen’s characters is their flaws. Whether they are comic relief, fodder for social commentary, admirable heroines, or beloved heroes, they nearly always manifest complexity. Protagonists have their weaknesses. Villains have their strengths. Austen’s heroines are particularly relatable because they are not faultless angels. Elizabeth Bennett had prejudice, Anne Elliot was too persuadable, Marianne Dashwood was too romantic, her elder sister Elinor was too pragmatic, Catherine Moreland was sensationalist, and Emma Woodhouse was subject to vanity and hubris. These characters are loved because they are inherently decent people, and lovable because they aren’t annoying or too perfect.
As the most brilliantly imperfect and tart-tongued character in Mansfield Park, Mary Crawford should have been Austen's central protagonist. She is the most reminiscent of the sweetly arch Elizabeth Bennett or the charmingly vain Emma Woodhouse. Mary Crawford is the one with character traits to be overcome. She has the activity and spirit of a true Austen heroine. She is kind, careless, and amusing, garnering the reader's interest rather than strong-arming the reader's sympathy in the way Austen must for Fanny Price.
Why did you choose to tell the story from Mary Crawford's perspective?
Her treatment at the hands of the protagonists, Fanny Price and Edmund Bertram, appalled me. She was nothing but kind to both of them and they threw away her friendship like garbage when she turned out to be less rigidly moralistic and judgemental than themselves.
Who would enjoy this novel?
Fans of Jane Austen and those who enjoy historical novels, romantic or otherwise, and those who love the Regency period.