Apr 232011

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).

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  9 Responses to “Persuading Annie – Melissa Nathan”


    Oh wow! I’m definitely adding this to my TBR list. In fact, the paperback is a bargain buy on Amazon right now… *ponders* *clicks buy now* Done!

    I love Persuasion almost as much as I love Pride and Prejudice. Frederick and Anne’s relationship is so heartfelt. I can easily imagine the modernization you described, Meredtih, and it works for me.

    Thanks for the review and recommendation!


    I’ll certainly try to get a hold of this book and read it sometime. I once had a bad experience reading a sequel to Pride and Prejudice and have since been wary of sequels, adaptions and such of Austen’s novels but I think I’d enjoy Persuading Annie. 🙂

    God bless and happy Easter!


    Thanks for the review, it sounds fun! I love Persuasion and am excited to see it modernized!


    Oh my goodness! ANOTHER book to add to my TBR list! 😉 LOL This sounds like a wonderful modernization of Persuasion, which is my 2nd most FAV Austen novel. Enjoyed the review 🙂


    Thank you all for the kind words! I hope you all enjoy Persauding Annie as much as I did!

    And Nancy is right, amazon has Persuading Annie listed for $5.14 right now! What a deal!


    I don’t like modernizations as much as sequels, prequels and variations per se. However, Persuasion is my favorite novel so I believe I’ll be checking this out. Thanks for the warning about the profanity. I do have a habit of whiting it out in my personal copies of books. It’s nice to be forewarned.


    I’m now convinced Amazon has pioneered transporter technology. I ordered the book on Saturday and it was on my doorstep this morning! I’ve already read the end (figured it wasn’t really a “spoiler” since I already know the story) and I can tell I’ll enjoy this one.


    Wow that was fast, Nancy! I know someone who can’t stop themselves from reading ending the story, even if they try. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts, Nancy!


    I read Nathan’s Pride,Prejudice and Jasmin Field years ago and I enjoyed it more than I expected, mainly because I tend not to like the modern retellings. I found while reading it that I enjoyed picking out the modernized incarnations of Austen’s characters and scenes, just as you mention in your review for Persuading Annie. I have been wondering how this new novel would be received, it sounds like Ms. Nathan has continued her clever tweaking of Austen, which means another to add to that bulging TBR pile.

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