Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Gift from Mom
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Persuasion Modern-day Adaptation
SETTING: Tupelo, Mississippi present-day
SERIES: Jane Austen Takes the South
MAIN CHARACTERS: Lucy Crawford (curator at the Civil War Interpretive Center – Anne), Jeremiah Chevy (new doctor at the Free Clinic of Tupelo – Wentworth), Dr. Stroud and his wife Theresa (the Crofts), Aunt Olympia (Lady Russell)
WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS NOVEL:
- Not a native southerner, but after living here 12 years, I find my soul loves the south!
- I enjoyed the first two books of this series – Book 1 and Book 2
- I can never get enough Persuasion-inspired stories!
WHAT I LOVED:
- Wentworth: I’ll just go ahead and say it – sometimes I don’t like Wentworth characters. *gasp* Typically in the first half of the book, Wentworth is portrayed as bitter, resentful, and a little mean – like when he delivers some zingers or acts flirtatiously on purpose in front of Anne. In this adaptation, Ms. Hathaway focused more on Jeremiah’s hurt and feelings of rejection than his resentment and bitterness. In his thoughts we don’t see spite or hurt pride, we see undiminished and inescapable love although Jeremiah wishes it were otherwise.
- Inspiring Messages: I really liked how this adaptation focused on important themes like forgiveness and insecurity. While both Jeremiah and Lucy have forgiven each other over what happened in the past they seem to have a harder time with forgiving themselves. I really appreciated how Ms. Hathaway portrayed their struggle and feelings of fear, doubt, and insecurity. Both struggle in different ways and need to work more on themselves to become worthy of each other.
- Differences and Intolerance: Not only does wealth and class differences separate Jeremiah and Lucy, race and prejudice play a part in this story as well. Jeremiah grew up in a trailer home with his mother, an unwed high school dropout who worked two part-time jobs. Lucy is the daughter of a proud, wealthy, and prominent African-American family living in a fancy historic home. Lucy’s father and aunt view Jeremiah as an unsuitable match for Lucy because of his family’s inferior and humble past and their prejudice against his skin color. While we can see in many ways how the world has changed in the past two hundred years, Ms. Hathaway aptly reminds us that unfortunately there is still intolerance and prejudice.
- Fashion and Food: As with the other books in this series, one of my favorite aspects was hearing all the descriptions! I adored the mentions of Lucy’s vintage clothing and her vegetarian cooking! (Yay for vegetarians!) My mouth was watering at all the yummy dishes she was preparing! I definitely plan on trying some of the recipes in the back of the book!
- Jane Austen-Inspired Wedding: Yes! I want to go to Jane Austen-Inspired wedding! What great way to bring back some other characters from the previous books! I especially enjoyed hearing how the men dressed up in cravats, boots, and breeches!
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Not Entirely Complete: While I thought the story arc and journey for Lucy and Jeremiah were wonderfully done, I did feel that other parts of the story felt a little incomplete. Lucy’s relationship issues with her family felt a little unresolved. In addition, I really liked the inclusion of Marcus Gibbs as a rival for Jeremiah, but he seemed to disappear without a trace later on in the book. I was curious to learn if he had ulterior motives for pursuing Lucy like William Elliot did!
I love how Mary Jane Hathaway blends together Jane Austen, Civil War history, southern manners, food, and sweet romance in this series. And I greatly appreciated her beautiful and gentle portrayal of a modern-day Anne and Wentworth forgiving their past mistakes, overcoming their insecurities, and finding their ways back to each other. I’m still hoping there will be more for this series in the future!
A few months ago I found a copy of Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cracklin’ Cornbread at our library’s biannual book sale! I wasn’t entirely sure if I owned it already or not so I thought it best to buy now and ask later. 😉 Turns out I did have a copy of this book already! So I decided to save my second copy for when I posted my review to give away to one lucky reader as a way to say thank you for all the awesome support and enthusiasm! I love sharing thoughts and talking books with you all!
As you see pictured below, I have a used (pretty much like new!) copy of Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cracklin’ Cornbread that is looking for a new home.
If you are interested in winning this lovely book for yourself, just leave a comment below.
- This giveaway is open to residents worldwide because you all are awesome!
- This giveaway will end June 24th.