A Study in Finley - Guest Post with Kate Watson +GIVEAWAY

It's no secret that we love supporting debut authors. There's nothing like helping a book find its people.

So, where are our JANE AUSTEN people at? We've got a book for you! We invited author Kate Watson on the blog to chat about Finley, the main character of her shiny debut, SEEKING MANSFIELD, out yesterday! Check it out and be sure to enter the giveaway for a signed copy!

A Study in Finley with Kate Watson

When I first set out to write a retelling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, it was because of a desire to defend a heroine I love and who I feel gets a bad rap: Fanny Price. Unlike Elizabeth Bennet or Emma Woodhouse or Elinor Dashwood, Fanny Price is not sharp or lively; she is not known for her intelligence, social graces, or capabilities. She is displaced, overlooked, neglected, and even abused by her wealthy relations. Yet because Mansfield Park is a Jane Austen novel, her difficulties are not the focus of the story, so it can be easy to overlook just how intense her trials really are and how they shape her character and arch.

Fanny Price feels often alone or taken advantage of. She is a student of human behavior. She has a tender heart and wants to be needed. She knows that the way she is treated is not always just, but she keeps her head down and bears it all. She remains grateful instead of resentful, even when it’s deserved. And when she gets pressure from her closest friend, ally, and crush—someone she feels wholly indebted to—she does not give in. She stands firm. Elizabeth Bennet, for all her virtues, never has to demonstrate such inner strength. I would argue that none of Austen’s heroines do. And that is why I love Fanny Price.

In updating Fanny, I knew I had to create a set of circumstances for Finley that would parallel Fanny’s. After her father’s death and after her mother proves unfit to care for her, Finley is taken to live with the Bertrams—her godparents—and their family. Her “uncle” is kind to her, but distant. His three children vary from teasing to rude to truly caring. Finley genuinely loves the Bertrams, but her gratitude and profound sense of duty heavily outweigh that love. Her aunt has chronic pain, and Finley lives (and loves) to serve her, to the point that she neglects her own dreams.

But still, she dreams.

And there is the difference I see in Fanny and Finley. Fanny wishes for Edmund Bertram. Finley dreams of achieving something based on her own skill and hard work. Fanny endures. Finley persists. Fanny Price didn’t live in a world that allowed her to do or be more, but her desire to be her best self guided her to the happiest ending she could have imagined. I hope Finley’s will, too.

“Delightfully witty and irresistibly romantic! Kate Watson honors Austen's classic tale while adding a heart and humor that is decidedly her own. Seeking Mansfield is not to be missed!” –Abigail Johnson (author of If I Fix You)

by Kate Watson
Published: May 16th 2017
Publisher: Flux
Find it: Amazon

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.


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1 comment:

  1. I'm in the debut author challenge for this year, and i'd love to read this book as part of my goal.


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