Kim’s Guest Review of Passionate Persuasion by Rosemary Clement-Moore

pprcmIf you’re a fan of Jane Austen’s Persuasion but prefer your romances to take place in this century, let me tell you about Rosemary Clement-Moore’s novella Passionate Persuasion.

Alex realizes he messed up hugely years ago when he broke up with his college girlfriend Kiara. When life throws the two of them back together years later he knows he has to somehow win her back. Will he be able to repair the damage he did to Kiara’s heart and claim her for his own?

For a direct link to my review, click here.

Kim’s Guest Review of For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

DarknessMy latest guest review is now up on the Austenprose blog! It’s on a YA/sci-fi/dystopic version of Jane Austen’s Persuasion entitled For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund.

The underlying themes and messages the book conveys are truly astounding.  I highly recommend the read.

You can get to my review by clicking here!

#97 A Guest Review of Persuaded by Jenni James

This guest review is extra special to me, as it celebrates my two-year anniversary writing for the Austenprose blog! It’s been an absolute pleasure having Laurel Ann as my editor.  Not only have I grown as a writer, but I’ve grown as a reader due to her guidance.  I will be forever grateful for having a teacher and friend like her.

My review is on Persuaded, a modern, youthful adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.  If you’re trying to get a teen in your life addicted to Austen, give this series a try.

My full review can be found here.

#30 A Review of Persuade Me by Juliet Archer

I was recently afforded the opportunity of working with Juliet Archer.  We were fortunate enough to collaborate on The Austen Games together and have developed a nice little friendship driven by our love for Jane Austen! Juliet is the author of the Darcy and Friends series, which currently consists of two novels and is soon to be followed by more works.  The first in the series, The Importance of Being Emma, was well received and was soon followed by Persuade Me.  Both books have received several romance novel award nominations/wins, and after reading Persuade Me it’s easy to see why!

In a modern-day retelling of Persuasion, Archer introduces us to Anna Wentworth and Rick Wentworth.  Both met in France while Anna was an Au Pair and Rick taught sailing lessons.  The two immediately fall in love and have a fairy tale summer together.  Unfortunately events beyond their control forced them apart, as Anna left to go to school in England and Rick left to work in Australia.  For ten long years they lived apart, linked by the memory of that fateful summer in France.  Fate steps in again, when the two meet in England, where Anna lives as a University lecturer and Rick is passing through on a book tour in his career as a famous marine biologist.  They have both been harboring conflicting feelings about each other, and coming back together after all these years have brought these feelings back to the surface with a vengeance.  The two must decide how to best move forward, whether it be together or as separate people.  Which one will it be?

Whenever I read a novel that pays homage to Austen’s Persuasion, there’s one thing that always stands out to me as the make or break point: Wentworth’s letter.  It is hands down the best letter written in all of literature in my eyes.  Therefore, I’m always nervous that when I read a Persuasion influenced novel that it won’t live up to the expectations that I have.  I can tell you, my fellow readers, that Archer’s version of Wentworth’s letter is 100% swoon-worthy.  I fell in love with the story, the characters, and the comedic undertones of Archer’s writing all while greatly anticipating the moment I would reach “the letter”.  Archer’s novel reads like a fine red wine that has been left out to breathe.  It becomes fuller and more complex with time, adding to the reader’s pleasure and enjoyment.

Archer’s creativity and wit are clearly evident in the way in which she modernizes Austen’s story.  Frederick (now Rick) is now a marine biologist as opposed to being a naval officer, yet still gets to spend most of his time with his love, the sea.  Anne (now Anna), who I’ve always considered the smartest of all of Austen’s heroines, gets to showcase that intelligence with a Ph.D. in Russian literature.  The inclusion of discussions on Russian literature and the similarities between the plots of these novels and the plot of Persuasion has made me want to delve more into Russian literature in the future.  Overall, the entire novel was a very interesting and engaging read.  If you love Austen modernizations like I do and are in the mood for a new and fun spin on our favorite classic, definitely check out Persuade Me.  You won’t be disappointed!

4 out of 5 Stars

Persuade Me by Juliet Archer
Choc Lit Limited (2011)
Paperback: 386 pages
ISBN: 9781906931216

Special thanks to Juliet for sending me a review copy!

Note: This book is not available for fans in the US yet.  You CAN pre-order it though for its May 15th release date.  For those of you in the UK you’ll be happy to hear it’s already available for you!

#68 A Review of Anne Elliot, A New Beginning by Mary Lydon Simonsen

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Every time I read Persuasion one thought always pops in my head,  “I wish Anne had more confidence.”  Mary Lydon Simonsen makes my dream come true in Anne Elliot, A New Beginning.  Simonsen takes our beloved Anne and breathes new life into her meek  personality that prevailed in Austen’s original work.  This new and fresh look at one of my favorite Austen characters was too good to pass up, and the pages flew by as I got to witness a new and exciting chapter in Anne’s life as a liberated woman.

Anne Elliot is an old maid.  She is a spinster.  She is 25 years old and feels oddly liberated in this new status her family has given her.  With this new-found freedom she begins running.  Yes, you read that right, running.  To her delight, this new activity makes her more confident and secure in herself than ever before, and she is ecstatic when Captain Wentworth happens upon her company eight years after their initial tumultuous courtship.  Sound to good to be true?  Of course it is, nothing in life is ever this easy!  William Elliot, the heir to Kellynch (the Elliot estate), has come back from a long separation from Anne’s father following a disagreement long ago.  Now that he is back he finds Anne just as attractive as Wentworth does, and he attempts to gain her courtship.  Not is all as it seems, as Anne senses that William may have some tricks up his sleeve.  Will she be able to unite with Wentworth or will William become an insurmountable obstacle?  How will Wentworth react to her running when he finds out?

As I said in my opening, I’ve always wished that Anne had more confidence.  She finds all of this confidence running. WHAT a change confidence makes.  Anne is unafraid to speak her mind, and frequently does so, much to the displeasure of Lady Russell.  She stands up to Mary and makes her stop being such a hypochondriac, forcing  Mary to do something positive with her life instead of wasting it away worrying.  Anne helps the characters change their ways, while also forcing them to give her the respect she has deserved all along.  (All of this is done with hints of humor along the way).

I think you can tell by now that Anne Elliot, A New Beginning is a satirical retelling of  Persuasion. I’m usually really nervous about reading satirized versions of Austen’s novels because either a novelist takes it too far and makes it borderline ridiculous (see here), or they don’t change enough of the story to make it a satire.  Simonsen found the perfect blend between the two by infusing pop cultural references into the story that actually worked.  Anne is all about running, so the references to Nike and other modern running related items makes sense in the context of the story.  Also making Mary turn from a hypochondriac into a nurse was hysterical.  She goes from being afraid of everything to suddenly making sure there are always bandages around and proper first aid techniques in use.  It was a very humorous personality switch. 

 As usual Simonsen has given us a fresh take on an Austen classic.  It was refreshing and exciting to see her new iteration of Anne as a confident and determined individual.  All in all, I truly enjoyed Simonsen’s work and was happy to root for Anne and Wentworth until the end!

4 out of 5 Stars

This is my twenty-ninth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Anne Elliot, A New Beginning by Mary Lydon Simonsen
Quail Creek Publishing LLC (2010)
Paperback 229 pages
Special thanks to Mary Lydon Simonsen for sending me my review copy!

#19 A Review of Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding

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Bridget Jones is back and better than ever in her second novel entitled Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.  Enticed by Helen Fielding’s first work in the series, Bridget Jones’ Diary, I couldn’t stand not knowing how Bridget got on (as they say in England).  Influenced by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Fielding throws us back into the world of Bridget via her hysterical diary entries for another trip as we get to see what makes this interesting woman tick.

Bridget Jones has been dating her boyfriend Mark Darcy for four weeks!  Life is great: her weight is down, she’s smoking less, and her relationship is going fantastic (at least she thinks it is).  Mark begins talking about a woman he works with more and more, dropping little “Rebecca” bombs here and there.  When Bridget meets Rebecca out at a bar one evening and finds out about a law society dinner that Mark hasn’t mentioned yet, she loses it.  Being a self-help book junkie she begins thinking the worst about her relationship.  Her worrying leads to nothing, as Mark asks her to the dinner a few days later.  The law dinner comes and goes, as does a very special Valentine’s day where Mark tells Bridget that he loves her.  The two soon find themselves invited to Rebecca’s parents country estate for a mini-break where Rebecca does everything in her power to separate Bridget and Mark.  Rebecca wants Mark as her own so bad that she tells her nephew that Bridget and Mark are breaking up and that Bridget is free for the taking.  He tries to kiss Bridget, and before she can throw him off Mark and Rebecca walk in and see everything.  The two end their weekend by breaking up which sets Bridget into a major funk.  Will Bridget ever be able to convince Mark that he’s the only one she loves?

Helen Fielding has created one of the FUNNIEST literary characters ever with Bridget Jones.  I literally could not stop laughing with this book.  Those who have read the first Bridget Jones book know that Bridget is OBSESSED with Colin Firth, especially Colin Firth as Fitzwilliam Darcy.  Fielding writes an eight page interview between Bridget and Colin Firth that is honestly one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.  The way Fielding writes Bridget’s thoughts are uncanny, making me feel as though I were reading my own thoughts at times.

I really liked the pace of the novel as well.  It moved along at a quick enough pace to make the reader enjoy the story but not feel bogged down by detail.  Fielding writes a lot of things with abbreviations and short hand, which makes The Edge of Reason a fairly fast read.  The way in which she infuses her work with the Persuasion storyline works perfectly and naturally. 

For those fans who have seen the movie version, be prepared for some major differences.  Daniel Cleaver does not have a large portrayal in the book at all.  He is limited to part of a scene here and there.  Instead, the book is filled with additional hysterical storylines, with my personal favorite being the one about the construction worker who blows a hole in Bridget’s wall and leaves it there for the course of the entire novel.

This book is chock-full of the relationship ups and downs that many women experience in life.  What’s great about Fielding’s writing is that she makes fun of the way women sometimes react, such as the obsession with self-help books and the advice our friends and parents give us.  She finds humor in the way we exaggerate every little event in life, and that’s what makes her books so enjoyable.  I highly recommend the series for people with a great sense of humor.  You won’t be left wanting with this series.

4 out of 5 Stars

This is my fifth completed review for the Page to Screen Challenge

Penguin Group (2001)
Paperback 352 pages
ISBN: 9780140298475

#18 A Guest Review of Echoes of Love by Rosie Rushton

My newest guest review is up on the Austenprose blog today!

Echoes of Love is a Persuasion influenced teen romance.  It is the fifth novel in the 21st Century Austen series by Rosie Rushton.  The series takes Jane Austen’s novels, and turns them into contemporary romances for teens. 

Anna Elliot and Felix Wentworth were the loves of each others lives.  Unfortunately Anna’s family comes between them, forcing them apart from each other.  Anna continues living her normal life while Felix, a soldier, is sent off to war in Afghanistan.  Two years later Felix is on leave and is back in town.  Anna, remorseful for their split, begins trying to figure out a way to get back with Felix and show him how much she still loves him.  Will her plans work??

For a direct link to my review, click here!

Guest Review of Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion by Regina Jeffers

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Laurel Ann, moderator of Austenprose once again made my week when she asked me to write another guest review for her blog!  My review is of a book I read earlier in the year, Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion: Jane Austen’s Classic Retold Through His Eyes by Regina Jeffers.

For a direct link to my guest review click here!

I again want to thank Laurel Ann for the opportunity and for her guidance in leading a fledgling blogger to find her writing voice!