Mansfield Park and Mummies by Jane Austen and Vera Nazarian
Published Year: 2010
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Subtitle: Good, but not Great
"MANSFIELD PARK AND MUMMIES: Monster Mayhem, Matrimony, Ancient Curses, True Love, and Other Dire Delights Spinsterhood or Mummification!
Ancient Egypt infiltrates Regency England in this elegant, hilarious, witty, insane, and unexpectedly romantic monster parody of Jane Austen's classic novel.
Our gentle yet indomitable heroine Fanny Price must hold steadfast not only against the seductive charms of Henry Crawford but also an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh!
Meanwhile, the indubitably handsome and kind hero Edmund attempts Exorcisms... Miss Crawford vamps out... Aunt Norris channels her inner werewolf... The Mummy-mesmerized Lady Bertram collects Egyptian artifacts...
There can be no doubt that Mansfield Park has become a battleground for the forces of Ancient Evil and Regency True Love!
"Gentle Reader -- this Delightful Edition includes Scholarly Footnotes and Appendices."
I'll start with a confession: I'm one of the few Jane Austenites that actually likes the character of Fanny Price. I think I can actually feel the gasp from everyone through my computer. I know that's rare, but I just don't hate her. Sorry (not sorry).
Even for the majority of the world who feels differently than me, this story might appeal to them because all of VN's inserts subtly insert a more powerful and headstrong Fanny. A Fanny more along the lines of a Lizzy, you might say. She stands up for herself and she doesn't let the mummies get away with it... but as VN's commonly says, I'm getting ahead of myself.
This was obviously a parody read, and if you're a purist, you won't like it. It's as simple as that. Of course, if you're a purist, you won't like most parodies, or retellings, or movies adaptations, and are doomed to reread the same book endless times. Which is fine, more power to you. VN knew the original quite well and was able to weave the supernatural elements (mummies, werewolves and vampires, oh my) into the plot pretty seamlessly in comparison to what I've read of the other parodies that can seem a bit choppy. It still obviously stuck out like a sore thumb, let's be real, but in terms of flow with the plot, it wasn't quite as disjointed as some of the others.
Most of the characters are true to the original Jane Austen story, so I won't try to give them too colorful a critique here. VN does take a few of them and make them a bit supernatural (three guesses who and the first two don't count!), and she only inserts one completely new character (cough, mummy, cough) into the narrative.
I didn't particularly enjoy the footnote commentary; I thought they were kind of childish and ruined the Jane Austen parts of the story. However, it was a parody so I can't really complain about humor, now can I?
Overall, I enjoyed it! It was definitely a really long read. I don't know that I'll be able to put myself through reading it again, because adding length to a Jane Austen novel is no joke. But if you like this Jane Austen + monster trend and feel like giving Fanny Price a second chance, give this one a read!
3.5 out of 5 stars.