by Mary Jane Hathaway
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Published by: Howard Books November 11, 2014
Genres: Jane Austen Modern Retelling
Rating: Overall, 3.5 Stars
NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
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?
Although a modern version, this book followed the overall plot to Persuasion to a tee. The author, however, chose to make some bold choices when creating her characters. Instead of the typical white rich family we often read about in Southern books, Lucy and her family are an affluent African American family, while Jem was a poor white boy from a trailer park. Lucy's family looked down on Jem while the two were teenagers. It was interesting to see a race reversal from what I usually see in books. I really enjoyed this fresh perspective. Kudos to Mary Jane Hathaway for knocking stereotypes on their head in this book.
Lucy and Jem's story unfolded slowly, like Anne and Captain Wentworth's in Persuasion. Their love wasn't bold or all-consuming, but simmering underneath and built on a solid foundation. I rooted the whole way through for Jem to forgive Lucy for her past choices and pledge his love to her. You'll have to read the book to find out what happened!
Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cracklin' Cornbread (Jane Austen Takes the South)