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Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends) (edition 2012)

by Juliet Archer

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284389,858 (3.55)None
Member:AustenBlog
Title:Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends)
Authors:Juliet Archer
Info:Choc Lit Publishing (2012), Paperback, 368 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:paraliterature, persuasion

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Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends) by Juliet Archer

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Showing 4 of 4
  AnneHudson | Nov 11, 2012 |
Hmm. Okay, how do I say this without sounding kinda crazy? I accepted this for review, but I was really unsure of whether I was going to like it. That makes me sound like a jackass, so let me explain: it's contemporary and it has a gorgeous cover - those are 2 things that put my guard up, because contemporary (no matter how much excellent contemporary I read) translates to "fluff" in my stubborn mind, and I've been burned by the Pretty Cover Curse one to many times. But I liked Juliet's excerpt last year, and talking about her with the book, so I was willing to accept it and hope for the best (I mean...it's so pretty).  But me "hoping for the best" is kinda laughable, so I was still a little nervous when I picked this up that I was going to read it, not like it, and then have to be a jerkface to the sweet Juliet.

And Oh, me of little faith... This was so good. It's great chick lit without being fluffy or throw-away, and I was amazed at how, simultaneously, Juliet was able to be very contemporary and modern, and still very faithful to the Persuasion. There are some changes that are more of a departure than others, but in a way that both worked for the story Juliet was telling, and as a logical modern extrapolation of the original. There were so many times that I found myself thinking, 'Huh, that was a clever use of _________'. And because of this, it provided another layer of enjoyment that I wasn't expecting: It works as a modern romance, it works as a Persuasion retelling, and it works as this sort of Easter-egg-filled nod to Jane and Janeites, with all of these little bits of really well-plotted parallels to the stories Jane told.

It's not just in plot points that Juliet was faithful, though. For all their modern sensibilities, and the way their habits, interests and tendencies would have to be adapted to fit the setting, Archer's characters remained true at their core to the characters they were based on. Take Mrs. Clay, for example - in Archer's version, she has wormed her way into the lives of Sir Walter and "Lisa" (aka Elizabeth) as a fake-French masseuse who flatters the vanity of both Elliots and makes herself indespensible to them. Her grasping, social climbing, using-her-wiles ways are a bit more bold than Mrs Clay, but all the more well-suited to a modern adaptation because of that. She's still very much Mrs Clay, and everyone can see through her except those who need to - it just works! Similarly, Rick's treatment of Anna in the beginning, and his spiteful little thrill of pleasure the first time he sees her and she's looking worn-down and messy - things like this were a great interpretation of Persuasion, done in a way that makes rings true to the modern reader. Twists like this were really clever and fun to me.

Now, I've talked a lot about how faithful this is, but I want to be clear, it's not just a regurgitation of Persuasion in a modern setting; Archer did adapt some things and completely change some things, but she did so in a really sensible way that I don't think would much bother even most ardent, faithful Janeites.  This is not the chaste love story of Austen's time (nor is that necessary or even very believable, in a modern setting). This is very modern, and very relatable to today's audience (even those who haven't read or, *gasp* didn't like, Austen), but most of all, it's just really readable. I have a habit of not picking books up until late into the night, when I should be sleeping. This book had me repeatedly questioning just how much sleep I really needed...
All told, I'm definitely going to be picking up Archer's The Importance of Being Emma for next year's Jane in June. ( )
  BookRatMisty | Aug 23, 2012 |
When I bought Persuade me, I thought the story would be similar to Jane Austen's "Persuasion", but I didn't think it would be THAT similar.
Actually, the book is a complete copy of the real thing by Austen, only that instead of horses, you have sport cars and mobile phones. The same characters, the same problems, the same settings...
And for me, it didn't work because I couldn't help comparing it to Jane Austen's novel, which is of course, far much better.
So, entertaining, light read, but doesn't add anything new. A bit disappointed. ( )
  Luli81 | Aug 18, 2012 |
I love Juliet Archer's clever Austen adaptations - well, The Importance of Being Emma anyway - but neither Persuade Me or the original novel Persuasion really do it for me. Sorry, Janeites - I know the strained romance between Saint Anne Elliot and Captain 'Half agony, half hope' Wentworth is considered the pinnacle of Austen's writing, but I have yet to catch on. So I was obviously at a disadvantage before picking up Juliet Archer's modern retelling, but hoped that a twist in the tale would make the story more appealing.

The character changes work well - 'Rick' Wentworth (Archer always seems to have issues with the first names of Austen's heroes) is now a marine biologist living in Australia, who returns to England on a book promotion tour. He's blonde, tanned, ruggedly good-looking and also ripped - not my style, but this is basically a romance novel masquerading as a tribute to Austen. Anna Elliot is little changed from the original, bar a career as a university lecturer and being the daughter of a Russian princess. She doesn't get on well with either of her sisters, Elisabeth and Mona (the new, rather appropriate name for Mary), and is starting to resent the nagging interference of her godmother 'Minty' Russell. Sir Walter has a masseuse named Cleopatra in place of Mrs Clay, and Mrs Smith is now Anna's landlady and confidante, Jenny. Other than that, Persuade Me adheres rigidly to the original, including Louisa Musgrove's ridiculous accident (couldn't she have a motorcycle accident, or something - who knocks themselves unconscious after jumping six feet from a wall?) And sorry to say, I didn't feel the love between Rick and Anna, for all his harping on her special qualities, and she comes across as the type of woman who needs to feel needed - either by her family or a man. Theirs is the type of possessive, insular romance that alienates the reader rather than generating sympathy for the characters - by the end, I was thinking, 'That's great, he's written you the famous love letter, now get a room and then leave the country, I've had more than enough'.

Some Austen updates work well, but the success rate obviously depends on 'getting the joke' - I can read almost anything based on Emma, my favourite novel, but Persuade Me, though funny and cleverly written, left me cold. ( )
  AdonisGuilfoyle | Sep 23, 2011 |
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As far as men are concerned, Anna Elliot is stuck in the past. No one can compare to Rick Wentworth, the man she was persuaded to give up eight years ago. When they meet again, can she persuade him that their lost love is worth a second chance? A modern retelling of Jane Austen's 'Persuasion'.… (more)

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