Jan 222016

SwayJane Austen’s Persuasion Infused with Melody and Lyrics

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

In her debut novel, Melanie Stanford has creatively updated Jane Austen’s Persuasion in modern-day California. The reincarnations and modernizations of these characters were very thoughtfully developed:

  • Ava Elliot is a classical pianist who is just returning home after studying music at Julliard for eight years
  • Walter Elliot is a former soap actor very concerned about maintaining his youthful good looks
  • Beth Elliot is Ava’s haughty older sister whom like her father, has bad a habit of overspending
  • The Elliots are retrenching to their Malibu home while renting Kellynch Mansion to some tenants
  • The Crofts are a semi-retired couple that is well-off due to Richard Croft’s career in music production
  • Eric Wentworth, Sophia Croft’s talented younger brother and Ava’s former fiancé, is a huge success in the music world and just recently finished a big tour

Instead of the navy, Bath, and England, Melanie Stanford sets her story in the world of musicians, Hollywood, and actors. Some other clever reincarnations I was a big fan of was Charlie Musgrove as a video game tester (perfect job choice for him!) and Gage Johnson (William Elliot) as an aspiring actor and model. I also loved that Mrs. Smith became Lexi, a single mother who was Ava’s closest friend from Julliard. My compliments to Melanie Stanford for finding so many ways to modernize and adapt these characters and situations that were not only clever but also wonderfully fitting.

One of the things I loved most about Sway was that it took place in the music world! To see characters express their emotions through songs and melodies, witness them turn to music in a times of pain, and see the selections of music that they play and listen to was a very lovely experience! I greatly enjoyed seeing references to Adele, Frank Sinatra, Chopin, and Hoobastank all mixed together! (Also, I think Melanie Stanford has great musical taste!)

Another aspect of the story I greatly enjoyed was the author’s sensitive yet strong portrayal of Ava (Anne Elliot). Since Anne is such a quiet and selfless character, she is often depicted as meek, neglected, and a person to be pitied. I couldn’t feel that with this version of Anne Elliot. Sure, she is heartbroken and mourns the loss of love between her and Eric, but she still attempts to make the best of her life and move on. I liked that she had a best friend in this story (Lexi), that she had another serious relationship post-Eric (Kaz), and that she becomes involved romantically with another man while Eric is in town. I especially enjoyed how instead of being a doormat or punching bag, she shows some backbone. When Eric openly displays his resentment with thinly veiled insults and digs, she throws him back a zinger or two. *slow clap for Ava* This makes her a character that not only earns our sympathy and understanding, but also one that readers can respect and admire as well.

Thoughtfully composed and beautifully executed, Sway is a lovely homage to Jane Austen’s masterpiece. Filled with honest emotions, insightful parallels, and heart-aching lyrics this beautiful, often-sung song of second chances is definitely worthy of listening to and often replaying! Congrats to Melanie Stanford for a fantastic debut!

Add to Cart   I   Add to Shelf



In conjunction with my review, I have ONE ebook copy of Melanie Stanford’s newly released novel, Sway, to give away to ONE lucky winner!


To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about my review!

To double your chances of winning, make sure you check out the lovely post Melanie shared on Wednesday and leave a comment there!

  • This giveaway is open worldwide.  Thank you, Melanie!
  • This giveaway ends January 27th!
Follow My Reviews!

No spam guarantee.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )

  42 Responses to “Sway – Melanie Stanford + GIVEAWAY!!!”


    Fantastic review–I felt much the same way. Excellent translation to modern scenario but still comfortably familiar. So well done! A must read in 2016!


    I will forward to reading this. I’m always interested to see how the Crofts are portrayed. Cheers!


    Great review Meredith! I like how you break it down and give us just enough. I am looking forward to reading this book. Thank you for the opportunity to win it!


    I’ve always liked Anne, perhaps for her genuinely good heart. I definitely look forward to reading this!!


    Persuasion and music together! I look forward to reading this! Thanks for the review.


    WOW! This sounds amazing. I am a fan of Persuasion. I look forward to reading Sway.
    Becky B


    I love Persuasion and this looks to be a worthy reading. I hope I win!


    Sounds like a well-thought-out adaptation—and right in my back yard, as it were, since I grew up in (and spent a good portion of my life in) Los Angeles. And fun for you to get a music-themed read!


    I love Persuasion and Anne Eliott is my favourite Austen heroine. I’ll be interested to see how this ‘Anne’ comes across. I like the thought of her standing up for herself a bit more but hope she’s not too different. Great review as always.


    Very interesting premise. Sounds like a good read. As a musician myself, I know there will be sparks between Ava and Eric. Musicians can be temperamental, and there’s all that creativity with which to contend. My husband and I met when I played for his voice lessons and recitals.


    I greatly anticipate reading a petulant Wentworth. Should be great fun!


    Thank you Meredith for such an amazing review! *hugs*


    I read this book as a loan so count me in for the raffle. I loved it and at some time would read it again. It was a 5 star book for me, also.


    I’m even more excited for this book now!


    Oh yes, this was a great modern adaption of the story. The characters with their situations fit well in a contemporary story. Music was a hit with me, too, in this one.

    I’ve already got the story so please don’t enter me, thanks Meredith!


    Oh this sounds fascinating since my favorite Austen is persuasion. Sounds like a fascinating setting. I’d love to read it.


    I love all your writing, Keep it going, please!


    thank you for this review! Persuasion is one of my favourite books, I’ve also read lots of retellings and I’m looking forward to read this one


    I can’t wait to read this story! It sounds fabulous! Great review, Meredith!


    I’m glad she’s not a pitiable character in this one!


    This story sounds simply wonderful! I love Persuasion and in a modern tale with music it will be almost as wonderful as the original I imagine 🙂


    Great review, Meredith! My favourite update of an Austen novel is actually a Persuasion update, so I’d be pleased to read another good one. I only have one question regarding this review, and that is what type of music Hoobastank make, because I have no idea 🙂


      I love Persuasion updates, I will never tire of them! LOL! Hoobastank is a band that had a popular song back in 2003 called “The Reason.” It is an interesting name, isn’t it?


    Thank you for an inspiring review. I like this modern adaption. I will be interested to see Ana as a stronger character. Thank you for the giveaway.


    Your excellently written review swayed me to give this book a chance. Thanks for describing what you love about Sway, Meredith.


    I’m so glad you enjoyed ‘Sway’, Meredith! I love that it’s a ‘Persuasion’ retelling! I’ll have to add it to my TBR list! Hopefully, I can win a copy! 😉 Thanks for the chance!


    My favourite Jane Austen novel is Pride and Prejudice; but for retellings, I love Persuasion best 🙂 . Thank you for sharing your review and for offering this giveaway!


    I’m anxious to read this book with all the variations, 5 stars, and a great review as always, Meredith. Thanks for the giveaway!!


    Wonderful review. Looking forward to a Persuasion variation!

Your conversation and participation are always welcome; please feel free to "have your share."