Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Book Review: Persuasion by Rebecca H. Jamison

The writing industry goes through its phases, and Jane Austen rewrites are definitely what’s cool right now.  Some are passable, some are not—and hard to imagine for an Austen remake, but some are erotic. Authors both national and LDS are experimenting with the trend, and I’m pleased to report that author Rebecca H. Jamison has really done a nice job with her novel “Persuasion.

The story of course follows the basic outline laid for us in Austen’s classic.  Sensible Anne was engaged to handsome Wentworth years before, but chose to call it off out of uncertainty.  When she meets up with him again eight years later, she realizes that her feeling for him are just as strong as ever, and she wonders if he can forgive her for breaking his heart.

We begin our tale with the yard sale taking place at Anne’s father’s house.  His extravagant lifestyle has made it necessary for him to move so he can reduce his expenses, and most of the work has fallen to Anne.  She’s the dependable one in the family, out of necessity—the other family members are self-absorbed, and as we see her against their backdrop, we appreciate her more.  She’s in the garage negotiating the sale of a lawnmower when Neil Wentworth shows up, throwing her whole world into chaos.  We see her struggle to conceal her feelings, her desire to reach out to him and yet her shame at her actions, and of course, a satisfying conclusion as they both finally open up to each other and express everything they’ve been longing to say. 

What I enjoyed most about this novel was the author’s solid writing style.  She described settings and emotions with a deft hand, and in fact, I read some portions of the book aloud in a class I taught about writing emotion.  I did find myself a little bit distracted by the use of present tense for the narrative voice—I’m not a fan of present tense, personally, and I had to overcome that one particular pet peeve of mine as I started my read. But once I got over my pride and my prejudice, and instead exercised some sense, rather than sensibility, I was very well persuaded to enjoy this novel.

Rebecca Jamison enjoys running, dancing, making jewelry, reading, and watching chick flicks. Rebecca grew up in Vienna, Virginia. She attended Brigham Young University, earning a BA and MA in English. In between college and grad school, she served a mission to Portugal and the Cape Verde islands. Rebecca now lives with her husband and children in Utah. You can learn more about her at www.rebeccahjamison.com


Rebecca H. Jamison said...

Thanks for the review, Tristi.

Anonymous said...

I'm such a fan of the original, so I'll have to give this one a try. I must say, the puns in that last paragraph were very worth reading!

By the way, I've mentioned you in my latest blog post - you might want to go and read it.

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