Persuade Me by Juliet Archer
|Persuade Me by Juliet Archer|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: An enjoyable retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. It's been cleverly and thoughtfully done and makes for a good read. Recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: September 2011|
|Publisher: Choc Lit|
|External links: Author's website|
A decade before we meet Anna Elliott she had fallen in love with Rick Wentworth when they were both working in France. Her father, Sir Walter Elliott of Kellynch and Minty, a family friend persuaded her to give up the relationship and take up her place at Oxford. She now lectures about Russian literature, but it still unmarried and largely at the bidding of her father and her two elder sisters. Rick Wentworth, meanwhile, has been in Australia, but he's now returned to the UK on a tour to promote his best-selling book. It's an academic work about sea life, but the picture of a half-naked Rick on the cover and the title Sex in the Sea means that Rick – and his book- are in demand.
If it sounds slightly familiar, let me explain that this is a modern retelling of Jane Austen's last completed work Persuasion. Juliet Archer has done this before – we enjoyed her reworking of Emma. It might sound easy to retell an established story with a modern twist – the plot's already worked out and even the characters only need tweaking rather than birth, but it takes real skill and ingenuity to bring these characters up to date. Wentworth's sister and brother in law, for instance haven't taken a lease on Kellynch, but only on the glasshouses as they're opening a garden centre. The vain Sir Walter is easily swayed by his personal masseuse, who refers to him as Sir Voltaire. Delicious.
It's the relationship between Rick and Anna which matters – and this is where the fact that this is a retelling makes life difficult for the author. There is no way that the heroine is going to go off with the wrong man – or our hero is going to end up with the wrong sister. Just occasionally I wanted to tell Rick and Anna to stand still for a moment – and think – possibly even to get into a conversation together, but of course it's a comedy of misunderstandings and that's simply not possible. I've had the same problems with reworkings of Cyrano de Bergerac which I've read, but Juliet Archer does remarkably well at keeping the tension going in difficult circumstances!
I enjoyed the book. I'm also looking forward to seeing which heroine Juliet will tackle next…
I'd like to thank the author for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For retellings you really shouldn't miss The Importance of Emma, the first in Juliet Archer's Darcy and Friends series. For a reworking of dear old Cyrano, we can recommend The Food of Love by Anthony Capella.
You can read more book reviews or buy Persuade Me by Juliet Archer at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Persuade Me by Juliet Archer at Amazon.com.
Like to comment on this review?
Just send us an email and we'll put the best up on the site.