A Little Austen over the weekend

I think my love of Jane Austen is well known. I came to her late but I certainly made up for lost time. Sadly, she only left six novels. That said, I have a shelf on Goodreads titled “austen-inspired.” It holds 93 books currently and those are simply the ones I’ve stumbled across so far. The modest miss has certainly inspired hundreds if not thousands to take up pen and paper and write their own versions of her stories. They’ve written what happened the day after “the end,” what happened years after. They’ve written alternate endings and alternate beginnings. They’ve given endings to the secondary characters that we always wondered about and then taken us on adventures with the many children of the various heroines. It seems Jane’s inspiration will never wane. Thank goodness.

Persuading Annie has been on my list for a long time. Persuasion is my favorite of Austen’s novels, Anne Elliot my favorite of her heroines. Sadly, it’s probably the novel with the fewest “austen-inspired” books on my shelf. Well, Northanger Abbey might be the last in the list (I should look for some for that one though, can you imagine what sort of offspring Henry and Catherine cooked up?!). The few I have found on Persuasion though have been good. This one also doesn’t disappoint.

Annie Markham walked away from the love of her life back in University seven years ago. Jake Mead was not her family’s idea of Prince Charming. So, Annie finished school and started working in an art gallery, volunteering, and helping out in the family business when summoned. Her father is an idiot, her elder sister a bitter party girl and her middle sister an unhappy mother of two boys and a husband who prefers to play golf. However, the family company is in trouble and the only person who can save them? Jake Mead. So, with her family going more insane by the moment, a potential boyfriend who she really doesn’t have time for, a best friend in family drama of her own and an old flame who’d like nothing better than a little revenge on the girl who broke his heart, Annie really doesn’t think it could get much worse. And then Jake Mead moves in downstairs…

Those who’ve read Persuasion will appreciate Melissa Nathan’s modernization of the story. It’s fresh and fun. Annie and Jake are a fun hero and heroine who have a lot of baggage with their relationship and have to work through that in full view of Annie’s (certifiably) insane relatives. I liked the replacement of Bath with New York City and I also appreciated Annie’s growing love affair with her new city. It always made me sad that Anne Elliot didn’t get to know Bath and come to like it (but Austen never did either so we’ll agree to disagree on that one). I also have to say kudos to Nathan for how she replaced the Lyme scene in her novel. It was still weird but I think worked better than Austen’s odd tragic scene that really makes no sense (seriously, watch one of the movie versions and tell me if you understand how that woman ends up in a coma).

In general, some Austen over the weekend is always a good idea but I have to say this is one of the better “austen-inspired” books I’ve tracked down so if you enjoy those books that keep her stories going, and also if you are an Anne Elliot fan, check this one out!

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