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Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin'…
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Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread (2014)

by Mary Jane Hathaway

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This Jane Austen retelling of Persuasion is quite a bit different from others I've read. For one thing, it's set in Tupelo, Mississippi. For another thing, Lucy Crawford is an African American woman, and the man she loved and lost ten years earlier is white. Finally, it's Christian fiction, but not evangelical; the lost love is a Catholic. While the book sticks to the Christian romance formula, the quality of the writing is better than most. A shared love of poetry brought Lucy and Jem together the first time, and the story is sprinkled with references to and/or quotes from Thoreau, George Eliot, and Sara Teasdale. And of course there's food. It's the South, after all! The Christian element isn't heavy-handed or “preachy”. It's a book that could be enjoyed by romance fans of any or no faith. ( )
  cbl_tn | Dec 13, 2015 |
Simplified retelling of Persuasion set in the South. It was fine, just not, ya know, Austen herself! ( )
  4hounds | Sep 13, 2015 |
Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread is a modern retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion set in modern-day Tupelo, Mississippi. Lucy is an archivist who spends most of her day either thinking about the Civil War or trying to figure out how to save her family from itself. Nothing has been the same since her mother died, and now she is afraid they are about to lose the house her family has lived for 150 years to creditors. Then her meddling aunt connects her to the Tupelo Free Clinic, which is looking for a bigger facility. The back part of Lucy's family home would do nicely and more than pay off the mortgages. The only problem is that with the clinic comes its newest doctor, Jem Chevy. Eight years ago, Lucy's family made her break up with him. After all, they are from an old established black family, and he is a white boy from the trailer park.

But now that the tables are turned, will Lucy and Jem find a way to be together or are the events of the past destined to tear them apart? I think everyone knows the answer to that question, but the journey is still worth it.

A fun Austen retelling, this is quality Christian fiction, not the kind with random Bible verses, come-to-Jesus moments, and talk of "baby Christians", but the kind with characters who happen to be Christian and who attempt to follow their faith through the trials of everyday existence. In short, it's not preachy at all and perfect for Jane Austen lovers everywhere, whether Christian or not. ( )
  inge87 | Nov 25, 2014 |
Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread.

Yep, that's pretty much all I have to say---and you're hooked, right? I am totally in love with this Jane Austen Takes the South series by Mary Jane Hathaway. What an awesome idea.

This third book of the series finds Lucy Crawford, daughter of a well-respected and well-to-do Southern family fallen on hard times, struggling to find a way to keep the family from losing all they have to her father's debtors. When the local free clinic rents out a wing of the house, Lucy is shocked to find that the doctor in charge is her former love-interest, Jem.

Growing up, Jem's family was poor and redneck and Lucy's family once persuaded her to give him the boot when they found things were serious between them. Now that their paths have crossed again, well...you'll have to read it to find out!

I love this excellent retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. I may even love it more than Persuasion. At least the heroine isn't so depressed and mousy---Anne Elliott can be a real downer sometimes. The first thing I loved about the story was that the "traditional" race roles are reversed. Lucy's family is black and her family has been wealthy for generations. While this is surely a common scenario in real life, it's not one we see often in Southern fiction. I liked that. It was also fun to see the reference to the Bath festival I attended last year, as well as the BBC house tour my friend Katrina went on before our tour started.

It was refreshing to see romantic references that weren't contrived. They were touching and believable and the characters were likeable---or hateable!

Want to know something else that's awesome? The author lives not 30 minutes away from our old Oregon town! Those of you from the big city won't realize what a big deal that is, but since her town and my old town are pretty tiny, that's like finding out she lived just around the block from me! I think it's neat that she's writing about the South and living in Eastern Oregon, while I'm here living in the South and working on a manuscript set in---Eastern Oregon! Small world, this is!

I received an ARC to review on my blog. All opinions are honest and are my own. ( )
  lostinavalonOR | Aug 7, 2014 |
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"A lively Southern retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion, featuring Lucy Crawford, who is thrown back into the path of her first love while on a quest to save her beloved family home. Lucy Crawford is part of a wealthy, well-respected Southern family with a long local history. But since Lucy's mother passed away, the family home, a gorgeous antebellum mansion, has fallen into disrepair and the depth of her father's debts is only starting to be understood. Selling the family home may be the only option--until her Aunt Olympia floats the idea of using Crawford house to hold the local free medical clinic, which has just lost its space. As if turning the plantation home into a clinic isn't bad enough, Lucy is shocked and dismayed to see that the doctor who will be manning the clinic is none other than Jeremiah Chevy--her first love. Lucy and Jeremiah were high school sweethearts, but Jeremiah was from the wrong side of the tracks. His family was redneck and proud, and Lucy was persuaded to dump him. He eventually left town on a scholarship, and now, ten years later, he's returned as part of the rural physician program. And suddenly, their paths cross once again. While Lucy's family still sees Jeremiah as trash, she sees something else in him--as do several of the other eligible ladies in town. Will he be able to forgive the past? Can she be persuaded to give love a chance this time around?"--… (more)

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