Visiting Mansfield Park (Catching Up, Part 2)

Today’s webseries binge is From Mansfield with Love, which is an adaptation of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Obviously, this one isn’t as famous as Pride and Prejudice or Emma, but it’s one of my top three Austen novels.

To set the mood for this book, here’s a fanvideo featuring the 2007 tv version to a classic Taylor Swift soundtrack.

So what’s Mansfield Park about? There’s obviously a love triangle if I’m giving you a T-Swizzle song to listen to.

Once upon a time, there were three sisters. One sister married a rich baronet, the second married a minister, and the third married a poor guy for love. At some point, out of the goodness of her heart, the minister’s wife talks her rich sister into taking in one of their poor sister’s children. So Fanny Price goes to live with her rich relatives who don’t really want her around. Her one friend is her cousin Edmund. As she gets older, she adopts more of Edmund’s opinions and secretly falls in love with him. Drama starts when the Crawford siblings show up and start flirting with everyone. Edmund’s two sisters start fighting over Mr. Crawford, even though one of them is already engaged. Edmund himself starts going after Miss Crawford, who is also very vocal about her beliefs that he lacks ambition in becoming a minister. Later, Mr. Crawford also decides that he wants to woo Fanny, simply because she’s the only girl who sees through the charm.

(Incidentally, if you’re looking for a movie adaptation, there’s one movie and two tv adaptations. I hadn’t actually realized that there was a 1983 BBC series, so I can’t say anything about that one. The movie was made in 1999 and stars Frances O’Connor and Jonny Lee Miller, and I do not like it at all. It’s not a very faithful version, and it has this sex scene that isn’t really in the book, so I don’t watch it. The 2007 tv version starring Billie Piper and Blake Ritson has inaccurate costumes, but it doesn’t add random scenes, so it’s my favorite. Plus, it has Peggy Carter and Jarvis from Agent Carter!)

From Mansfield With Love is an adaptation of Mansfield Park that puts Frances Price in a hotel. Frankie is a maid who is best friends with Ed, the son of the owners. Ed’s sisters are kind of annoying, and his brother likes partying. Their lives are interrupted by a brother and sister who come to renovate part of Mansfield. The sister who’s engaged starts flirting with the new guy, and Ed flirts with the new girl. Frankie doesn’t really like the new girl, but she’s not going to talk trash about her best friend’s new (probable) girlfriend, so she’s sad vlogging to her brother. And that’s about as far as Episodes 1-19 got.

Five months and 45 episodes later, the majority of the book has gone by. I’m starting to find that I enjoy webseries adaptations more than movie/tv adaptations of books. Frankie is super introverted, as she should be, but we also hear what she’s thinking because she’s talking to someone she really trusts over a camera. The characters that are supposed to be obnoxious are. I’m even falling under the charm of the Crawfords. Maybe I just need to reread the book, but Mary Crawford isn’t as horrible as I remember her. She seems to mean well, even if she makes mean jokes. Henry Crawford…. well he is a scoundrel, but then he quoted Langston Hughes and showed some vulnerability. I know the end of the novel, so I don’t want to like the bad guy, but this is so well written and acted that I can’t help it.

I guess I love Mansfield Park so much because it’s so relatable. Fanny is a genuinely nice person who’s surrounded by other people who make really bad decisions. It’s easy to relate to her unrequited love and her hurt when Edmund ditches her for a shallow girl who doesn’t support his dreams. Her horror when her cousins give into Henry’s charm and fall into a downward spiral of bad decisions? We’ve seen our friends do that. Fanny never loses herself in the crazy, and she’s rewarded for it. It’s a good reminder that everything’s going to be okay. Good will overcome.

And that’s always a good reminder.

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