Available now! Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues!
With my new short story, The Address of a Frenchwoman, about Tom Bertram from Mansfield Park!
Get it on Amazon for Kindle, in paperback and now hardcover!
Don't Miss the Fanny vs Mary Debates! October 2017
Fanny Price or Mary Crawford — who do you like best? Is Fanny the sweet heroine of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park or is she a two-faced wimp? Is Mary Crawford a charming and misunderstood socialite or is she selfish and immoral? Kyra C Kramer and I take up our pens in defense of these literary frenemies for a no-holds-barred debate,
held over five days on the internet. Follow along and join the debate in the comments!
Monday, October 23rd: Just Jane 1813
Tuesday, October 24th: Diary of an Eccentric
Wednesday, October 25th: Savvy Verse and Wit
Thursday, October 26th: My Jane Austen Book Club
Friday, October 27th: Austenesque Reviews
August 2017 -- reader reviews
Best Austen Variation I Have Ever Read (and believe me, I've read a lot)
An excellent variation of Mansfield Park, featuring a strong, proactive Fanny while staying true to Jane Austen's writing. Actually, I was surprised how faithful this adaptation remained given the premise. The author develops each character fully with multiple layers--even the Crawfords, albeit in a different direction than usual. I loved the O[riginal] C[haracter]s Mrs. Butters, Mr. Gibson, and Edward, and it was fun looking out for cameos from Persuasion, Emma, and even Pride and Prejudice! (sort of?)
Reviewed and featured at JustJane1813:
"Lona Manning has a very engaging writing style, while her writing also captures the essence of Austen’s style and the time period in which she wrote her stories. She artfully wove text from canon into her own prose in ways that added significant depth to her own storylines, while at the same time these inclusions of canon didn’t bog down her story in any way. Her creative storylines were bold enough to make this story a real page-turner, especially about a quarter of the way into her story, and yet, she still maintains the characterizations and some of the important themes that Austen explored in Mansfield Park, such as the slave trade in the West Indies, the roles of the Church of England in Georgian society, and the exploration of how our characters ultimately shape our destinies."
July -- Recent reader reviews:
"An excellent read, masterful in its execution... It reads just like an Austen novel...."
"If you're a Mansfield Park fan and looking for spinoff fiction by an author that really understands MP, this is the book for you. It comes highly recommended by one very picky Austen fan."
"I enjoyed this variation on Mansfield Park. The different take and new characters fit well. The new characters portrayed other happenings during that time period especially in relation to the naval world."
"[T]his book is well-researched and professionally written, and deserves a large readership."
"Tremendously well researched - I couldn't find a single anachronism - while still being very entertaining and accessible. Lots of fun little pop-ins featuring other Austen characters and some historical personages. I read a lot of these things and this one was really exceptional. Highly recommended for any Austen fan -- especially those who are more on the purist side."
March 25 -- Review from Austenesque Reviews, premiere Austenblog. Click through to read the entire review.
"Brava to Lona Manning for her thoughtful twists and skillful execution in this variation. This story was in no way predictable and it kept me guessing almost until the end! I really enjoyed not knowing what to expect and I enjoyed the slow and leisurely reveal. With every character there were some twists, so nothing was proceeding in a predictable or familiar way!
One aspect of this story that I enjoyed is Ms. Manning’s respectful renderings of Jane Austen’s characters. Her thoughtful and perceptive portrayals of these characters illustrate her keen understanding, and I’m happy to say she doesn’t take any character too far away from their original personality (like the film adaptations do!). I greatly appreciated the development of Fanny’s character throughout this story."
March 10 -- My article, "A Dangerous Intimacy," about the play-within-a-novel in Mansfield Park, has been published in the online Jane Austen magazine in England. (Free log-in registration required to read).
"Have you been seeing the buzz about a new variation of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park? I have too...." Janet Taylor, blog proprietress, More Agreeably Engaged.
For a limited time, visit More Agreeably Engaged to enter the draw for one of two e-book copies of A Contrary Wind!
February 16 -- Austenesque Reviews has featured an excerpt from my book! Visit and leave a comment to be entered in a giveaway draw for a copy of my book. One paperback and one e-book to be given away. The draw ends on February 22nd!
Can't wait to read my book but you haven't read Mansfield Park? Or maybe it's been a while since you read Mansfield Park and you want to refresh your memory. Libri Vox offers free audio of MP -- I recommend the version with the buttery-smooth British accent of Karen Savage.
As for the filmed adaptations, I'd go with the 1983 version as being the most true to the book. In the more recent film and television adaptions, the timid, shrinking Fanny Price of the book is excised and replaced by a completely different character -- a feisty, spunky, rebellious Fanny Price v. 2.0, which completely distorts the novel.
Or, for a fun and irreverent alternative, read this recap by confirmed Fanny-hater Robert Rodi.