Rebecca H. Jamison
Persuasion was Jane Austen’s last novel, left untitled, and published after her death. Her brother is credited with the final title, which was chosen for two reasons—to highlight the danger individuals embrace when allowing others’ opinions to influence their choices, and because the meddling of others was a particular irritation of Ms. Austen’s—one she was guilty of having dabbled in herself, causing harm to someone she cared very much about.
Jane Austen aficionados recognize Persuasion as a shift in Ms. Austen’s work, and therefore, it has been subject to literary dissection, putting added pressure on authors who attempt remakes of the story. In the advent of the Jane Austen clone books, I’m pleased to say that in Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale, Rebecca H. Jamison has done a lovely job of creating an LDS version that’s current and fun while also maintaining a tone reminiscent of Ms. Austen’s original.
LDS convert Anne Elliot is the responsible daughter of an indulgent and financially undisciplined father who is divorced from her self-absorbed mother. While both of these parents dote on Anne’s spoiled, irresponsible sister, they rely on Anne’s level-headedness to anchor them, and their gift to her in return? Seven years earlier, each of them weighed-in on Anne’s marriage proposal from handsome LDS Neil Wentworth, persuading her to spurn the future police officer.
Jamison’s Persuasion opens as Anne is helping her father prepare to sell the family home he is too indebted to hold on to any longer. Enter Jack Wentworth—brother of Neil and the buyer of Anne’s father’s home. Now you get it. Worlds collide as Anne’s past crashes into her present. From Persuasion's back cover we read:
When Anne broke off her engagement seven years ago, she thought she’d never see Neil Wentworth again. But when Neil’s brother buys the house she grew up in, it seems fate has other plans in store. Anne is unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions that come when Neil returns and starts dating her younger friend.
Convinced that Neil could no longer have strong feelings for her, Anne pushes away all thoughts of the past. But when the handsome man she’s been dating decides he can’t live without her, Anne must come to terms with her past.
Fans of Jane Austen’s Persuasion will enjoy this modern version of her most romantic story.
Rebecca H. Jamison has defined clear characterizations for her leads. We can see these people. We care about them, and yet, they are always evolving in slow, unobtrusive ways that make us love them more the further we read. Jamison’s plot also evolves slowly, never rushed or forced. Austen readers already know how Persuasion will end, but the ride is delicious and subtle with dynamic twists and turns.
The book is written in first person, which may put some people off as it did me at first, but I must say that Jamison takes full advantage of this writing perspective, allowing us to be privy to Anne’s insecurities and dreams.
The dialogues are splendidly realistic, and while we keep holding on for a breakthrough in the stalemate between Neil and Anne, Jamison satisfies by doling bits out like little petit fours, a bite at a time.
I loved the book. It’s a light read that kept me turning pages, and the characters and pacing make it one of my favorite reads in months. LDS content runs throughout the book, but it is not overly didactic, nor does it require the reader to be LDS to enjoy the cultural situations. I would highly recommend Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale to anyone, and Jane Austen loyalists will not be disappointed.
Number of pages: 240 pages
Publisher: Bonneville Books (Cedar Fort)
Release Date: Feb 7, 2012
About the author:
Rebecca Jamison met her husband on a blind date. His first words to her were, "Do you want to get together and play spin the bottle?"(He was trying to avoid another bad blind date, but she went out with him anyway.) Rebecca grew up in Vienna, Virginia. She attended Brigham Young University, earning a BA and MA in English. In between college and grad school, she served a mission to Portugal and the Cape Verde islands. Rebecca and her husband have six children. She enjoys running, dancing, making jewelry, reading, and watching chick flicks. You can learn more about her at http://www.blogger.com/www.rebeccahjamison.com