Lona Manning's variation on Mansfield Park is a tour de force. Her use of Austenesque language is simply sublime. I forgot I was reading a variation - it felt like I'd discovered a new novel by the Lady herself. Manning takes the plot of Mansfield Park but considers what might have happened if Sir Thomas had NOT arrived home in time to scupper the amateur theatricals. Set free from his interference the plot takes on a new and surprising direction. Fanny takes her destiny into her own hands but not in any way which jars with the timid and retiring character Jane Austen created. Her metamorphosis is organic and totally believable. The Crawfords are allowed to pursue their self-serving and double-dealing shenanigans to their logical conclusion - the fall-out is immense. There is some delicious naughtiness about the plot which had more of Smollet about it than Austen, but this added to my enjoyment.