Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Modern-day Persuasion
SETTING: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago Present-day
– Emma Shaw (Anne): an editor for a big New York City publishing house
– Frederick Wentworth: a screenwriter who is publishing his first book through Emma’s publishing company
– Emma’s Friends and Family
– Frederick’s Friends and Family
After earning her degree from Northwestern University, Emma was faced with a big decision – marry her boyfriend of two years and follow him to LA, or break up with him and remain in NYC where her family is and her career can launch and prosper. Knowing that oftentimes relationship don’t last forever, Emma went with the more practical route and stayed in NYC. Eight years later Frederick is brought back into her life and his reappearance induces Emma to reflect upon the decision she made eight years ago. Does she regret it? Was her sacrifice worth it? Would she have found a career and happiness in LA?
WHAT I LOVED:
– Career and Family vs. Relationship: Emma’s struggle to accept Frederick’s proposal isn’t because he isn’t good enough or wealthy enough, it is more because Emma is afraid she won’t have a career or identity. Emma is persuaded a bit by her mentor, Karen Russell, who taught her that women can’t “have it all.” And while Emma enjoys some aspects of her career, she realizes that she isn’t completely satisfied with her life. I think this is definitely a conflict modern-day readers can relate to and understand. I’m sure everyone has had times where they ask themselves: “What do I want out of life?” “What is more important to me?” “What am willing to compromise?”
– Book and Movie World: I love that this story took place in the publishing industry! It was so much fun to attend PubCon, a publishing convention, and tag along on Frederick’s book tour! As an avid reader, I personally loved hearing all the details related to publishing and books! In addition, I loved that Frederick’s career was in screenwriting and that he shared some common interests with Emma.
– Digital Communications and Multimedia: I love how readers were privy to text exchanges between characters, and I thought Ms. Marks found a very clever and fun way to display these exchanges. In addition, I loved Frederick’s half agony/half hope letter (which I’ll divulge isn’t a letter!). It revealed a lot about his feelings, softened the reader’s feelings towards him, and was beautifully heartfelt.
– Fast-Paced and Focused: With short chapters and a quick moving plot this is the type of story you will want to read it one day! 🙂 I really liked how Ms. Marks was selective in her updated retelling of Persuasion. She didn’t utilize every character or event from Jane Austen’s story, she did what worked best for the story she wanted to tell. Some changes I enjoyed were seeing Emma have a little more backbone, Frederick’s gay best friend, and no Penelope Clay.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
– Some Awkward Moments: Once in awhile I think some of the dialogue felt a little awkward or out-of-character. Like Emma announcing to work colleagues “I have to pee” or her outburst in front of non-family members. I know in our modern world people are more blunt and aren’t afraid to speak their mind, but I guess it felt a little not quite right to me. Emma doesn’t seem the type that would air family drama in front of everyone.
Note: Recommended for Mature Audiences due to the use of profanity in this story.
Modern Persuasion was a wonderfully creative and thoughtful modernization of Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I love how Ms. Marks found a unique way to translate this story to our modern-day world and thoroughly enjoyed my time with her characters! I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what she writes next!