Mansfield Park Revisited picks up four years after Mansfield Park ends. The plot primarily revolves around Fanny Price’s younger sister, Susan, who comes to Mansfield at the end of Austen’s book. As you’d imagine for an Austenesque sequel, there is love and an eventual happy ending. I won’t say anything more, plotwise, than that.
This book was okay. Aiken attempts to copy Austen’s prose style, and does a fairly good job of it, though she periodically throws in present-day idioms, which was jarring. She also seems unaware of the social customs in Austen’s time, or like she didn’t have a problem disregarding them in places in order to appeal to more modern audiences. The story itself was light, fun, and easy to read, as long as I divorced it from the original Mansfield Park. Many of the same characters are around, and Aiken changes personalities and storylines, making good guys bad and bad guys good. I didn’t like that. I felt like Austen did a better job making everyone a well-rounded character in MP than in any other book of hers that I’ve read, and Aiken took those characters and flattened them. The plot felt contrived and manipulated in places, rather than easygoing the way it is in original Austen.
Bottom line – if you read this to compare to Austen, it’s no comparison. If you read it on its own, without expecting anything deep, without expecting the social commentary or statements on gender and class, then this is a fun book. A girly book, yes. Not really a romance so much. There was far less romance than I expected. But very girly anyway.