Central Park

by Debra White Smith

Paperback -341 pages   ISBN 0736908730
Harvest House Publishers

(March 31, 2005)
(31 March 2005)
(15 March 2005)

        Review by Chantel 11 October 2005
As far as I can remember this novel was a good contemporary adaption. I can't recall any descrepancies, not to say there aren't any. I liked it a lot. Didn't love it, cause I don't love Mansfield P, but this book made me appreciate Mansfield Park better. The main character, Francine, was not made more outgoing, keeping her quietness, submissiveness, and moral solidness (is that a word?). All the characters were true to Austen, from my opinion. I really enjoyed the relationship b/w Hugh Casper and his sister ------ (can't remember her name!). I fell in love with Hugh when he was courting Francine. I just believed him!! I wanted Francine to say "yes" to him, not Ethan! He was sincere, I'm sure. Don't ask me why he ran away with Maria (can't remember her Central Park name!!), I can't explain his actions. I recommend this book.
        Review by Linda Waldemar, 17 January 2006
This is another in Debra White Smith's Austen Series. As you can guess from the title, it is based on Mansfield Park and follows that novel's plot closely.

I always enjoy seeing how an author will translate 19th Century situations to those that are believable in the 21st Century. I was especially anxious to see how this would be accomplished with MP since it may be the hardest of JA's novels to adapt to current day sensibilities.

In my opinion, the author has done a very good job. She writes in the Christian Fiction genre so the righteousness and morality of the Edmund Bertran and Fanny Price characters is acceptable. I must warn, however, that this book may be a tad preachy for some. If you do not like Mansfield Park and Fanny Price, you may not like this book.

As with other books in the Austen Series, Smith starts out by mapping her characters to JA's. Ethan Summers, the Edmund Bertram character, is a foster son, rather than a natural son, to Tom and Mariette Barrimore (Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram). So, there is no blood relationship between him and Francine Ponce (Fanny Price). Ethan is an aspiring pastor and Francine is completing her degree in education.

When the wery wealthy Tom Barrimore buys the 5-story brownstone next door to his own, he leases the bottom floors to the even wealtheir Carrie and Hugh Casper (Mary and Henry Crawford).

Aunt Norris becomes Aunt Nora. While quit unpleasant to Francine, she pales in comparison to the original. Tom Bertram is completely absent, but Julie and Marie (Julia and Maria) are quite like their counterparts in MP.

Where Mansfiled Park is told from Fanny's perspective, this author give the feelings of many of the characters. She shows us much about how Ethan is struggling with his misgivings and feelings for Carrie and some unrecognized and unacknowledged feelings for Fancine.

As I said before, the plot of Central Park follows its base very closely. Although I knew how it would end, I very much enjoyed the journey to the conclusion. If you are not opposed to Christian literature, I recommend you give this quick read a try. I quite like it.

        Written by MerryK (6/22/2006 1:51 p.m.) I much preferred the second one, Central Park, based off of Mansfield Park. Since that is my least favorite Austen book, I was surprised at how gripping CP was. I grew really attached to the characters, more than I did for the ones they are based off of. All the characters were very well done and it would probably make a good movie. I never before realized just how easily MP is adapted to modern times, better than any of the other books, I think. Most sequels/modern adaptations I read of JA's works make me glad that most of them are relatively unknown, but this one was quite worth it.
        Written by JeannetteF (3/27/2007 4:38 p.m.) I just finished Central Park and Reason and Romance. I liked Central Park best. The secret engagement in R&R didn't work for me either.

        Written by Tonya (3/28/2007 3:33 p.m.) Central Park was great! In fact IMO it was the book that translated best to modern times. Maybe it was because if you think about it MP took on some issues that translate easily into todays world and can still hold the scandalous position that they did in Austen's day. I mean it is still not acceptable to be caught in the position of HC and MB-R. I thought that Central Park was her best written one.