Which would you pick: the person you love or your own dreams?
What would you do if given a second chance at that decision?
Eight years ago Emma Shaw picked her career and family over the man she loved, Fredrick Wentworth. Since then she has built a career in publishing and spends her free time making sure her father and sisters are taken care of. Fredrick has spent the same years building his career as a screenwriter under increasing public scrutiny as a celebrity. When the editor of Fredrick’s first book is injured, Emma is forced to travel with Fredrick on his book tour.
Tension builds for the two former lovers over the course of the tour. Emma and Fredrick must face their emotional baggage and their misunderstanding about how their break-up impacted the other. Will they be able to find their way back together for a second chance at love?
Sarah Marks’ debut novel, Modern Persuasion, a contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s final publication, Persuasion, takes readers to modern-day New York City, as Emma Shaw, the reliable daughter, and successful young editor, is in the midst of helping her spendthrift father and sister clean up the mess they’ve made of their finances. Ever since Emma’s mother passed away ten years ago, leaving her family a small fortune, her father and eldest sister have squandered most of it away on expensive art and shoes. With Emma at the helm making many of the decisions for her family, and a father and a sister unwilling to work or live within a budget, they struggle to find a way to compromise on their future lifestyle.
In the midst of this situation, Emma finds herself face-to-face with her former fiancé, Fredrick Wentworth, who reappears in her life after being absent from it for nearly a decade. Their separation has afforded him the opportunity to follow his dreams of becoming a successful screenwriter and now he’s about to go on tour to promote his first book, which happens to be a story he wrote and Emma edited when they were dating. When his editor becomes injured and is unable to handle his tour, Emma is asked to step in to handle his tour.
Forced to spend time together throughout the tour, they both come to realize that they still harbor feelings for each other, yet they hold little knowledge about the other person’s feelings. As they struggle with these newly aroused feelings, they come to realize that a book tour is no place to spend time with your former lover. Emma eventually comes to realize that even though her former reasons for breaking off her relationship with Fredrick may not be an impediment to having a future with him now, there may be a whole new list of reasons that are holding her back from hoping for a second chance with him. While Fredrick struggles to focus on promoting his book, he finds himself distracted as he tries to ascertain the true nature of his feelings for Emma. Will their relationship wind up like a set of bookends, with a clearly delineated beginning and ending, or does he have reason to hope that they will find a way to write their own happy ending together?
This book was filled with clever updates on Persuasion. Being a New Yorker myself, I loved the setting of NYC and I also enjoyed touring the various cities with Emma and Fredrick throughout his book tour. I thought it was a wonderful idea to have Emma and Fredrick reconnect with one another through their connections in the literary world because not only did it make their story interesting, it helped them both deepen their respect towards one another as they were able to witness each other’s successes in the literary world. I also felt that the way several of the supporting characters were cast in this story added interesting touches to its storyline and made the storyline feel authentic in this contemporary story. For example, Austen’s Lady Russell is cast as Emma’s boss, Karen Russell, who’s been very influential in Emma’s career, yet she may not have the best advice to offer regarding Emma’s future plans. While I enjoyed the supporting characters throughout this story, I would have liked to see a little more depth in the development of their characters and in their storylines.
I found Sara Marks’ writing style to be quite engaging. Most of the story is told from Emma’s point-of-view and is carried through a lot of dialogue, which I typically prefer in a character-driven story. Her version of Anne Elliot definitely comes across as a more confident and autonomous character than Austen’s heroine and I felt Fredrick, her version of Captain Wentworth, was a bit more self-absorbed than Austen’s beloved hero. He frequently parties as a means of coping with his current frustrations and I had mixed feelings about this part of his character, although I can’t say it felt unrealistic within this storyline.
Modern Persuasion offers readers a chance to reimagine Austen’s couple in a contemporary story that contains an entertaining storyline that will resonate with fans of Persuasion who enjoy modern variations based on Austen’s stories and who are willing to enjoy this story based on its own merits. In today’s world where many women pursue their careers before marriage, Emma’s decisions will resonate with many modern readers and allow readers to connect how Anne Elliot and Emma Shaw both mature in considerable ways due to the wisdom they gain throughout their twenties. Sara Marks is working on a few more modern Austen variations and I look forward to seeing how she makes her mark on these other stories, no pun intended! (Well, maybe just a little…)
Sara Marks is an author, knitter, Wikipedian, and librarian from Massachusetts. Born in Boston, her family moved to Miami, Florida when she was 3. There she spent the next 14 years of her life. She attended Florida State University for 3 years, but graduated with an A.A from Miami Dade College and a B.A. from Florida International University before moving back to Boston for graduate school. She hasn’t left Massachusetts since (except to visit people and places in the world). Now, over fifteen years later and over 10 years of participating in National Novel Writing Month, she is releasing her first novel, Modern Persuasion, with Royal James Publishers. Sara works with local writing group Mill Pages, which creates an annual anthology of short stories, poems, and artwork. She is a member of the Society of Independent Publishers and Authors (SIPA), a group supporting writers in the Merrimack Valley.
Connect with Sara Marks:
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- website: http://saramarks.net
- Blog- Book Club of 1
Sara has two wonderful giveaway for her readers! The first giveaway is for an eBook of Modern Persuasion. Please leave a comment on this blog by midnight, ET, on May 31st. the winner will be announced on this blog on June 1, 2017.
The second giveaway is for knick knacks from Fredrick’s book tour, which I think is a brilliant choice, and an autographed paperback copy. Since part of the story happens on Fredrick’s book tour, Sara has selected touristy knick-knacks from each of the cities they visit in this story. The winner will get the entire collection of knick knacks and an autographed paperback copy of the book.
This raffle is limited to US participants. To enter, please sign up for my Sara’s mailing list. Everyone who signs up for the mailing list is added to the raffle and also gets a short story related to Modern Persuasion: “Mary and the Anti-Feminist”. The raffle opens on May 22nd and ends on June 5th. The item for NYC has not be selected yet so it will be a surprise element. Please see the picture to the right for the contents of this giveaway.
To enter the second giveaway, please use the Rafflecopter below:
5/24 JustJane 1813
5/24 The Ardent Reader
5/27 Babblings of a Bookworm
5/29 vvb32 Reads
5/29 Austenesque Reviews
I’d like to thank Sara Marks for including Just Jane 1813 in this blog tour and for providing me with an eARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Visit Amazon to preorder this book to your bookshelf. May 29, 2017, is the release date.
This book will also be available through KindleUnlimited.
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