Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: Persuasion: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

Book Details:
Persuasion: A Latter-Day Tale
By Rebecca H. Jamison
Genre: Christian Fiction
Published March 2012, Bonneville Books
Paperback, 227 pages
ISBN: 9781599559476

          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, and Anne is woefully unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions that accompanies Neil's return. Fans of Persuasion will love this fast-paced, modern retelling of Jane Austen's most romantic novel.
I said yes to reviewing this book because even though I have not yet read the Jane Austen classic that this book is based on, I was curious about the Mormon aspect of the book and how the author would modernize it. I know some about Mormon customs and traditions, but it was still interesting to read the book from the perspective of a practicing Mormon and see how this specific religious sect influenced the main character in her daily life.
I am sure other reviews will compare and contrast in detail this book with the original Persuasion, but I will write about this book from the perspective of someone who has not read Persuasion by Jane Austen, though I have read some of her other works and I am a fan.
The book as a whole was an enjoyable romantic read with a bit of suspense and drama thrown in to create conflict. While I was reading some of the situations, I did often wonder how Jane Austen would have written them were she still alive today, such as Lily's jellyfish sting or Anne's stalker. The use of modern technology, such as computers and cell phones, also contributed to the modernization quite obviously.
The characterization that Jamison employs closely resembles Austen's skill, with personality traits that translate across any era, such as the ones' whose main concern was about money and what it can buy. There were the females whose only concern was obtaining a husband, as well as the mother who had little regard for disciplining her children. Matchmakers also abounded and many of the characters were related - either by blood or marriage.
The Mormon influences are easy to pick out, such as Anne's avoidance of alcohol and caffeine, and sometimes these little changes did not blend well with the plot, likely because I did not always understand what the terminology referred to, such as references to a "Fireside." I believe the book would have benefited from more explanation of the Mormon practices woven into the background details.
Ironically, my favorite characters were not the main characters, Anne and Neil. I had more interest in the ones that seemed to have a smaller part, such as Jay, who lost his wife after only 8 months of marriage. Anne's character seemed to fall a bit flat, and even when she was supposed to be in a highly emotional state, such as when she gets angry at Will, I had a hard time believing it. I also would have liked more emotion from Neil, as he always seemed to be too cool and collected for the events that were unfolding.
I did enjoy the book, though, and any fan of Jane Austen would enjoy this modernized tale, as well.

The Cover: I like the simplicity of the cover and the font of the title -- just the cover alone reminds me a bit of Jane Austen.

First Line: "How much should I ask for the chocolate fondue fountain?"
This is one of the more unusual opening lines for a book that I have read, but it's about chocolate, so my interest is peaked!

Favorite Quote: "Romance -- it's one of those things that seems so unimportant, yet, in a way, it is at the center of everything."

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*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Author Facebook:!/RebeccaHJamison


Rebecca H. Jamison said...

Thanks for the review, Rachel. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it, and I also enjoy reading about what you think I could improve.

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