Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
Having read and utterly adored one series about Elizabeth Elliot, I was thrilled to see Melanie Stanford released a sequel novella to her clever modern adaptation of Persuasion, Sway that spotlights Elizabeth Elliot. (Side Note: Persuasion fans should definitely read Sway if they haven’t already – it is a wonderful adaptation of Jane Austen’s work that is fresh, creative, and filled with music!)
In this sequel, we meet up with Elizabeth who is running her own party planning business called Excessively Diverted (love it!), which isn’t exactly in the black quite yet. Of course, it doesn’t help that Elizabeth still goes to the spa weekly and must buy the latest designer handbag! While supervising the success of one her expertly planned parties, Elizabeth has the misfortune to overhear someone insulting her party (sounds like someone is about to make a spectacular first impression!) And being bold as brass, Elizabeth confronts this rude guest, who turns out to be Antonio Reyes, a wealthy CEO. Antonio has no problem clashing horns with Elizabeth at her party, but the next day he feels something like regret when he discovers that Elizabeth is the party planner his daughter wants him to hire for her Sweet Sixteen! Yikes! And even though Elizabeth loathes the ill-manner, arrogant jerk entirely, she might be persuaded to take him on as a client because she is in need of some funds to pay her mounting bills…
Oh boy, sounds like Elizabeth has met her match!! I loved that Melanie Stanford placed a spotlight on Elizabeth Elliot in this novella. And I appreciated seeing selfish and conceited Elizabeth learn to open her heart in a most gratifying and believable way. Yet, at the same time, she isn’t much changed in essentials. In addition, I enjoyed seeing Elizabeth’s relationships with other characters in this story. I loved seeing the heartwarming companionship between Elizabeth and her father. While these two have some personality traits in common, it was sweet to see that their relationship is more than those shared commonalities. Their reliance on and care for each other was lovely to witness.
And, of course, it was amusing to see all sorts of sparks fly when Antonio and Elizabeth were together! I loved the rapid-fire insult-matches and heated tension between these two! Elizabeth can passionately hold a grudge with the best of them, and Antonio loves pushing her uptight buttons! But their contentious relationship slowly melts into something softer, and I loved seeing some softness and vulnerability in these two strong-willed characters. In addition, I really enjoyed Elizabeth’ relationship with Vale, Antonio’s daughter, and how spending time with both Vale and Antonio made Elizabeth realize that she wanted something other than the life of an important and glamorous socialite.
I can’t believe I am about to say this…but I think I want to read more stories about Elizabeth Elliot! Or maybe I just want to read more stories by Melanie Stanford! (yeah, that’s more likely, I think!) Clash is a wonderfully entertaining and light-hearted read that once again proves that even Jane Austen’s detestable characters can become likable heroines that readers will get behind! A well-balanced and impassioned second movement to Ms. Stanford’s poignant and soulful first composition, Sway!