Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
I must begin by expressing my gratitude to Kaitlin Saunders for penning modern adaptations to some of Jane Austen’s other novels!!! Don’t get me wrong, I love Pride and Prejudice, it is probably one of top five favorite reads, but I also adore and cherish Jane Austen’s other novels! I love traveling to Highbury and dropping in on Mr. Woodhouse, spending some time with “clever, well-informed people” like Anne Elliot and Elinor Dashwood, and going on gothic adventures with Catherine Morland! I’m so glad Kaitlin Saunders has published modern adaptations for both Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion!
In this adaptation of Persuasion, twenty-five year old Anne Elliot creates and designs greeting cards; an occupation that fulfills her creatively and artistically, but doesn’t quite enable her to move out and live independently. More than seven years have passed since she turned down Rick Wentworth – his love, his offer of marriage, his unplanned adventure of a life together – Anne still wonders if she made the right choice. Was what they felt for each other really love? Would she have been happier if she married him?
When Rick Wentworth – who is now a celebrated and wealthy author – comes back into Anne’s life, Anne holds onto the ridiculous hope that what she shared with Rick was real, and that his promises to love her forever were unbroken. But after witnessing his cold and resentful demeanor towards herself and his flirtatious and affable manner towards Louise Musgrove, Anne realizes that his feelings had indeed changed and that it is long past time for her to move on. Easier said than done...
My favorite aspect of this book was seeing Anne’s private thoughts and feelings. Since the story is from Anne’s perspective, the reader experiences what she does. We feel Anne’s pain with every uncomfortable exchange with Rick. We feel Anne’s heartache with every bit of interest and attention paid to Louise. I enjoyed this empathetic and sensitive portrayal of Anne Elliot, it deftly illustrates the inner turmoil and anguish Anne experiences throughout the story.
I also enjoyed witnessing the relationship between Anne and Carol Russell. (Confession: I’m usually not a Lady Russell fan.) I find her overly concerned with status and wealth, high-handed, and self-serving. But in this adaptation though, Ms. Saunders portrays her more as a surrogate mother who strives to see Anne happy and safe. She may, at first, have the wrong idea about what would make Anne happy, but her heart is truly in the right place. Similar to the lovely mother-daughter relationships in A Modern Day Sense and Sensibility, this relationship gave me some warm fuzzies. 🙂
One aspect of the story I would have loved to have seen explored more is Rick’s novels. After finding out that Rick is a famous novelist, Anne rushes out to a book store to purchase his three published releases, but…we don’t know if she ever reads them! I was dying to see some excerpts from Rick’s novels after hearing that one of the stories bared a strong resemblance to his relationship with Anne. I would have loved to seen how Rick resolved his characters’ conflicts in the story, perhaps it would have revealed his true feelings for Anne…
Similar to A Modern Day Sense and Sensibility, this update closely mirrors Jane Austen’s original work. I may, at times, have wished for more deviation or exploration, but overall I found myself quite charmed and engaged by this faithful rendition.