A Compelling and Clever Modernization of Persuasion
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Library Sale Find
When she thought she was pregnant, nineteen-year-old Annie Markham and her college sweetheart, Jake Mead, happily decided to elope to Paris. However, on the night of their intended departure Annie discovers it was just a false alarm; and when she tries telling Jake this he jumps to the wrong conclusion and assumes the worst of her, launching them both into a bitter argument. Since that fateful day Annie and Jake have not seen or heard from each other. Seven years later, when the Markham’s family business is facing dire financial difficulties they hire a management consultant, who happens to be none other than Jake Mead, to save them! Although Jake and Annie strive to hide their past relationship from everyone, they make no attempt to conceal their resentment and distrust for one another. Will Jake be able to save the extravagant Markhams from financial ruin? Will Jake and Annie finally forgive each other and find the peace and closure they have been without these past seven years?
Persuading Annie is a remarkably clever modernization of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. Practically all the characters and plot events are represented in this novel! There’s: George Markham and his eldest daughter, Katherine, who are as vainglorious as their Regency counterparts, Annie’s controlling godmother, Susannah Brooks, a fawning Davina Barker (Mrs. Clay), a slimy Edward Goddard (William Elliot), and the unhappily married Charles and Victoria Norman, who perfectly personify Jane Austen’s Charles and Mary Musgrove. In addition, fans of Persuasion will be delighted to find that scenes like Anne overhearing Louisa and Wentworth’s conversation, Louisa Musgrove’s fall from the Cobb, Wentworth’s ardent love letter are not only included in Ms. Nathan’s novel, but ingeniously and appropriately updated. I took great pleasure in spotting these clever parallels and found myself amazed with how successfully Ms. Nathan translated Jane Austen’s story to contemporary times.
The one aspect of this novel that might disappoint some readers is Ms. Nathan’s portrayal of a modern-day Anne Elliot. Besides being passive and heartbroken, Ms. Nathan’s Annie can sometimes be described as bitter and hostile. In fact, Annie sometimes resembled Elizabeth Bennet in the beginning of Pride and Prejudice – filled with contempt and very argumentative. While Annie spends a large portion of the novel in this mindset, she does go through a pleasing transformation that endears her to the reader. I sort of enjoyed the fact that Anne wasn’t a picture of perfection and complacency.
I found Persuading Annie to be an admirable modernization of Persuasion and a beautiful homage to Jane Austen. I highly recommend Persuading Annie to readers who love Persuasion and are interested in modern adaptions of Jane Austen novels. As for me, I am now most eager to read Ms. Nathan’s other modern adaption of Jane Austen novel: Pride, Prejudice, and Jasmin Field.
(Warning: This book contains some mild profanity, and therefore may suitable for mature audiences only).