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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Book Review: Persuade Me by Juliet Archer

I have to admit that I am a huge Jane Austen fan.  I am not alone in this passion.  Otherwise we wouldn't have countless movies, miniseries and books of Jane Austen's and about Jane Austen.  I find it amazing as she didn't actually write that many books.  Still, I have to admit that I have quite a few versions of Pride and Prejudice on DVD, as well as Mansfield Park, Emma and Persuasion.  It is hard for me to say which male character is my favorite, but I can say without a doubt that Elizabeth Bennet has always been my favorite female character.  Dare I say I find something of myself in her.

My passion is not reserved solely for film adaptations.  I can't get enough of the written word either.  There is an entire Austen genre which include further adventures of our favorite characters, modern retellings of our favorite stories as well as alternate world versions.  And yes, I did pick up Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.  I just haven't finished it yet.  I think Amanda Grange might have been the first author I picked up that was a alternate version.  It was Mr Darcy's Diary I believe and just I couldn't resist reading one of my favorite stories from the male's perspective.  I have been building up quite a collection of Austen stories whether an historical or a modern retelling and perhaps I will make a list of them all and compare them.  But for today I want to talk about a book I just read on my Kindle called Persuade Me By Juliet Archer.

Book Description:
When do you let your heart rule your head?

When it comes to love, Anna Elliot is stuck in the past. No one can compare to Rick Wentworth, the man she gave up ten years ago at the insistence of her disapproving family. What if she’s missed her only chance for real happiness?

Since Anna broke his heart, Rick has moved on – or so he thinks. Out in Australia, he’s worked hard to build a successful career – and a solid wall around his feelings.

The words ‘forgive and forget’ aren’t in Rick's vocabulary. The word ‘regret’ is definitely in Anna’s. So, when they meet again on his book tour of England, it’s an opportunity for closure.

But memories intrude – the pure sensuality of what they once shared, the pain of parting … And she has to deal with another man from her past, while his celebrity status makes him the focus of unwanted attention.

With Anna’s image-obsessed family still ready to interfere and Rick poised to return to Australia, can she persuade him to risk his heart again?

This contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s last completed novel is the second book in Juliet Archer’s Darcy & Friends series, offering fresh insights into the hearts and minds of Austen’s irresistible heroes. 

My Review:
I have to tell you, I couldn't get enough of this book.  The thing is that with any retelling, you know how the story is going to end, but for me, it is how you get there.  I thought the characters were wonderful.  While the story held true to Jane's vision, Juliet Archer took a lot of liberties with the back drops and characters that made this feel shiny and new.  Anne is a professor of Russian Literature and does not live at home.  Mary has a drinking problem.  Elizabeth, well, she will always be vapid and self absorbed, but now she goes to the gym.  Rick is a marine biologist and an author who is coming home for a book tour.  Charles likes to fish to get away from the house.  One of the things I really liked about this story is that the author uses her own voice in her retelling.  In too many instances have I read a modern adaptation where the author is styling the prose in an Austenesque fashion, which usually falls short.  This retelling was full of flawed and wonderful characters that spoke with voices that made them real for today's world.  Juliet Archer brings a fresh new voice to the Austen genre and I can't wait to get started on her other book; The Importance of Being Emma.  

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