Aug 112010
 

Jane Austen Meets Saturday Night Live

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

On her twenty-fifth birthday, Anne Elliot of Kellynch Hall, realizes that her family has put her on the shelf and considers an “old maid.” Reconciling herself to the fact that she will forever be ignored and disregarded by her family, Anne finds comfort in the thought of living for herself and doing as she pleases. Unlike the Anne Elliot of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this Anne feels empowered, liberated, and has confidence in herself. So what if she is unmarried? So what if her heart is broken? She is still alive, and life is too beautiful to be wasted! At times while reading this tale I had Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” going through my head. I found the lyrics very appropriate for Anne’s new attitude!

If I have to
I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman

However, giving Anne an indomitable spirit is not the only alteration talented author Mary Simonsen made in her Persuasion variation. Ms. Simonsen decided to instill some comedy and a little bit of tomfoolery in her tale. Readers can expect to see many anachronisms, several allusions to the modern world, and a few plot discrepancies. To whet your appetite I’ll mention that Elizabeth and Sir Walter establish a now well-known business enterprise that utilizes their knowledge on cosmetics and skin care, and instead of a peevish temper and imaginary ailments Mary Musgrove’s new companions are a Physician’s Desk Reference and Florence Nightingale! In addition to comedy, Ms. Simonsen augments the drama of Persuasion by making Mr. Elliot even more of the villainous knave than he was before. In this tale Anne, Captain Wentworth, and a precocious street urchin named Swoosh work together to expose Mr. Elliot’s many sins and transgressions.

I must admit I had some reservations about reading a Jane Austen spoof. I was a little worried I wouldn’t be open-minded enough or that I would find the anachronisms and liberties taken offending. That most definitely was not the case with Anne Elliot, A New Beginning! Yes, I had to suspend disbelief a little and recognize that I was in some kind of Persuasion parallel universe, but once I did I found this delightful lark of a novel highly entertaining!

The language of this novel was very casual and there were frequent uses contemporary language and sayings. Like when Anne calls Mary a “party pooper” or when Wentworth says: “It takes one to know one,” to Mr. Elliot. Instead of being distracted by these anachronisms, I found it diverting to try and spot them as some were very subtle and cleverly inserted. For potential readers I will state that there are several suggestive comments and sexual innuendos as well as the occasional use of profanity. Because of this I would rate this novel PG-13. I wasn’t a big fan of the added suggestiveness though, it felt a little forced and unnatural.

Anne Elliot, A New Beginning was an amusing and frolicking romp! I loved how many of the characters were given a happier fate! I recommend this novel for readers who are looking to laugh and enjoy some silliness with the characters of Persuasion!

This is my sixth completed item for the “Everything Austen Challenge II” hosted by Stephanie’s Written Word.

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  8 Responses to “Anne Elliot, A New Beginning – Mary Lydon Simonsen”

  1.  

    This is a great review! I enjoyed this novel too and I agree with your review. It really is a delightful spin-off.

  2.  

    Meredith, Thank you for the review. I’m glad you liked my story and that you appreciated that it was a parody. 🙂

  3.  

    I forgot to mention in my earlier post. When I first wrote this story I called it Anne Elliot, I Am Woman! You understood where I was going with this story.

  4.  

    You express my sentiments exactly. When I began the book, I felt a bit nervous about the tone, but as I got into it, it became easy to laugh along and not feel overly judgmental. I maintain my assertion that it reminds me of Forest Gump.

  5.  

    Each time I must resist the temptation not to add to my TBR list when I pass by your site, Meredith. But this time, why resist? Persuasion is my favourite Austen and I still have to read something based on it! This one stirs my curiosity and after reading your review and the enthusiastic comments of Alexa and Irena, I must go and get a copy!

  6.  

    Each time I must resist the temptation not to add to my TBR list when I pass by your site, Meredith. But this time, why resist? Persuasion is my favourite Austen and I still have to read something based on it! This one stirs my curiosity and after reading your review and the enthusiastic comments of Alexa and Irena, I must go and get a copy!

  7.  

    Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel. This sounds like a fun modern parody of it. I definitely need to check it out!

  8.  

    Sounds interesting… I may have to give this one a try!

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