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on 18 March 2016
PERSUADE ME by Juliet Archer - audio version

This is the second of a series written by Juliet Archer, updating the storyline of a Jane Austen novel to the modern day. Unlike the first one, this one wasn't told with the alternating POVs or narrators. If it had been, it would have been wonderful to hear Rick Wentworth voiced by an actor such as Christopher Eccleston or Richard Armitage. Yes, our Captain is now Dr. Rick Wentworth, marine biologist from the north of England, now living in Australia (complete with supermodel girlfriend) but who has returned to the UK for a book tour promoting his best-seller ”Sex in the Sea".

Ten years earlier, he met and fell in love with Anna Elliott, daughter of the 8th Baronet of Kellynch, while they were both in the south of France. On the advice and connivance of her father and Lady Araminta (Minty) Russell, Anna doesn't go to Australia with Rick. Now, he's a well-respected scientist and Anna is a lecturer in Russian Literature at a University in Bath. The Russian connection is due to her late mother having been Russian. Anna lives in a flat in Bath owned by Jenny Smith, who's husband is still alive but badly disabled.

The plot follows the original very closely so I won't go into very much detail. Sir Walter is possibly even vainer than the original, as is the eldest Elliott daughter, Lisa. Mrs Clay is the masseuse, Cleopatra Clay. The youngest Elliott daughter Mona is still married to Charles Musgrove, with sisters Lou and Henrietta. Rick's sister and brother-in-law run a garden centre near Kellynch, renting property from Sir Walter but not the Hall itself. I loved these Crofts as much as the originals. William Elliott-Dunn is the heir to Kellynch and the Baronecy and to me, comes over as even more scheming than his Regency counterpart.

Rick's resentment towards Anna is even closer to the surface here and "Never forgive, never forget" is a mantra he seems to live by. This gets put to the test when they are thrown into company and the behaviour of neither to each other could be said to be of the best. He deliberately makes a play for Lou Musgrove (after the supermodel has dumped him in absentia for a richer man) before realising, after the events at Lyme Regis, exactly how cruel he's been to both women.

One scene I was waiting for of course, was The Letter. Obviously, the language has been brought up to date but "half agony, half hope" is still there, as are the sentiments. I have to say though, that I still prefer the language style of the original.

As far as I can tell, Juliet Archer is planning on writing more in the series but there's been a gap of some years now since this part. I really hope she does write more as I've thoroughly enjoyed both so far.
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on 21 September 2011
Anna Elliot is the leading lady of the book, and a character I really liked. It's ten years after her failed relationship with Rick Wentworth, and she's still holding a torch for him, even though she doesn't really want to. Anna works as a University lecturer in Bath, and loves Russian literature, and I loved the way Archer writes Anna's passion for it, the small things like the books laying around her flat, and the way she speaks to easily of it. Anna is also very likeable, open and you find yourself wanting things to work out for her. She did annoy me a bit regarding another male character, William, that she couldn't see what everyone else could see as a reader, but it's part of the fun I suppose! You do feel sorry for her as her relationship with her father is pretty awful, and I so wanted her to break free of his hold over her, emotionally more than anything.

The Elliott family are pretty hideous if I'm honest, but they make for fun reading, and certainly make Anna look like an even better person. There's one sister, Mona, married to Charles and has 2 children, basically the sister from hell who doesn't stop moaning. Another sister Elizabeth, fun and flighty but not present much in the book. Her father is Sir Walter Elliott, a man who still thinks a title should be respected and doesn't do well with the lack of respect for his peerage. He's a funny character, made me laugh out loud and couldn't be any more different from Anna! Finally, there's Anna's lost love Rick Wentworth, a famous author who is back from Australia on a book tour, and destined to meet Anna again, and the perfect hero in the book! Rick was fantastic, smooth and charming, and I was willing for him to fall in love with Anna all over again.

Archer has brilliantly updated this novel, and from what I have gathered from reading various sources about 'Persuasion', she's really stuck perfectly to the story and just brought it into modern times, no mean feat when dealing with such a classic. For example, Frederick Wentworth has turned from a travelling naval officer to Rick the famous author, and is wealthy from his book sales. Anna (Anne in the original) has been altered from a hope-less spinster to a well educated University lecturer, an updating I really liked! I loved the fact Archer was able to throw in the modern twists of Rick having a successful TV show, yet at the same time other characters felt really old-fashioned, like Walter, he almost belongs in the original book still! My only niggle is that I did wish there was a bit more about the love story of Anna and Rick when they were younger, this is merely mentioned throughout and not really told to us in any great detail which was a shame, but I suppose added an air of mystery to the love story!
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on 27 February 2014
Persuasion is my favourite Jane Austen Book. I am glad that Juliet Archer stayed true to the novel in “Persuade me”. At its heart the book is about regret and what could have been. Would life be different for Anna if she didn’t let Rick slip threw her fingers?

Even in a modern setting, you can still feel the longing they both have for each other. Anna made the mistake when she was younger of letting her family rule her heart, and she regretted it ever since.

The book is about second chances. Juliet Archer captured all of the angst and heart-break of loss as well as the joy of being reunited. “Persuade me” leaves you with a renewed sense of hope, that you don’t often find in other novels. I highly recommend, even if you haven’t read any other Austen books. It stands out on its own merit.
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on 17 September 2011
Persuade Me is a contemporary re-telling of Jane Austen's Persuasion. If you've read Persuasion then you will know the plot and characters. Very little has been changed apart from the modern setting and some characters get a modern makeover. Of course, being a Choc Lit publication, we also get to see into the heart of our male hero and see things from his perspective.

Frederick Wentworth is known as Rick in Persuade Me. He retains his connection with the sea but as a marine biologist. He comes back into Anna's life through his book tour in England and through his sister Sophie. Sophie and husband Ed are opening a garden centre in Kellynch - the seat of Anna's father, Sir Walter Elliot.

We start the story with a prologue where Rick is still in Australia and saying goodbye to model girlfriend Shelley. Rick has shouted out `Anna' in his sleep but denies knowledge of anyone called Anna. There is an inference that Rick is not emotionally connected with Shelley.

Anna is living in Bath, renting a top floor flat from friend and work colleague Jenny. When she first met Rick she was all set for studying at Oxford for a PHD in Russian studies and now she is a lecturer of Russian Studies. Jenny has brought them both tickets to Rick's book signing, having no knowledge of Anna and Rick's past.

Next, we are introduced to Sir Walter Elliot, 8th Baronet of Kellynch who is pompous and vain. Anna has never met his expectations of her. We also get to meet Minty who is Anna's godmother and also close friend to her late mother, Irina. Minty talked Anna out of moving to Australia as she knew Irina had married too young and regretted it. The Musgrove family also play a large part in the story - Anna's sister Mona who married Charles because she fell pregnant and Charles' sisters Louisa and Henrietta. Charles' parents home is warm, open, generous and loving - the opposite of life for Charles and Mona!

Rick's first sighting of Anna is when she is walking through the village. She is looking after her two nephews and is on the way to the harvest festival at the church when one of the children drops his basket. Rick is being driven through the village after spending the night with his sister Sophie. Rick thinks the children are hers and so begins many mistaken thoughts and crossed-wires between Rick and Anna. This is the friction that keeps us on our toes!

Rick is a very frustrating man! making judgements that bear no relation to reality. Everything he does we can tell is from a centre of hurt - of the pain that he still carries. We can see clearly that he's denying his feelings and is still blaming Anna for their past. Even amidst these feelings, it is clear that he still feels protective towards her. Admired for his physique as much as for his marine expertise, he is our wounded hero.

I thought one particular scene was excruciating for Anna - when Rick and Lou are the other side of the hedgerow. Definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time! Absolute torture that she bore stoically.

Anna for me still came across as a lady of `breeding'. She is calm and centred but seems very accepting of what life throws her way... perhaps that's because of the protection and safety net of her titled family.

As in Jane Austen's Persuasion, there are sub-plots running alongside that of Rick and Anna. There is enough happening that your interest is held and with the modern spin, lots to keep you reading. The modern occupation of Mrs Clay and how this works with Sir Walter is genius!

I imagine that to undertake a writing project like this is very daunting. For it to come together in a contemporary world while keeping the basic premise the same is a skill and to do it so that it feels like a new journey to the reader is genius.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy to review.
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Anna Elliot is such a warm and gentle down to earth character unlike some of her family! From the moment we meet Anna we connect to her instantly. It is clear from the start of the book that she has had her heart broken but her story takes a while to unfold as we get to know her character.

Rick who is Anna's ex is quite a character. When we first meet him I had my guard up a little as I was unsure of his true intentions but as we see more of his character it is hard to get this man out of your head! He is the perfect male character for this book.

There were also many secondary characters in this storyline all who seemed a little quirky and I feel these characters are what manages to keep the Jane Austen connection.

I loved that alongside our Rick and Anna storyline there were also sub plots alongside which I feel worked quiet well and gave us the chance to get to know the back ground of each of the other characters. The use of the sub plots were clever in the way that although you were interested in the other characters reading them just kept you on your toes waiting for the story to return to Rick and Anna to see where their journey was going to go next.

I was surprised how much I was gripped by this book so much so I finished it in under a day! I think that speaks for itself when asking would I recommend this book.
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on 27 July 2014
I really enjoyed this modern retelling of Persuasion. The characters were wonderful and vivid. Anna was lovely. I also loved how horrible her sister and her father were. The family dynamics of the original are well transposed into a modern setting.

I hope to read the rest of the series soon.
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on 21 October 2012
I have read this book after reading the author's first book "The importance of being Emma" and, unfortunately, I had the exact same problem with it that I had with the first. The heroine of Austen's Persuasion is translated very well in early 21st century, but the hero comes off as a real jerk in his modern guise and closely resembles a Harlequin Romance hero. There was also an issue with one of the main plot points: in the original, the heroine breaks off her engagement to the hero because she caves under her family's pressure. His reaction is not the best, but it is made pretty clear that she made a mistake; she herself acknowledges this. In this version, the heroine, at age 18, refuses to abandon her studies at university to follow the hero to another continent; which any person with any sense would agree is the right decision and the hero is a jerk for being angry with her about it, if not for asking in the first place. That changes the entire base of their relationship when they meet years later. For the rest, I liked it well enough, it was ok as an undemanding diversion.
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VINE VOICEon 15 September 2011
If I tell you that Jane Austen is one of my favourite authors and has been since I was a teenager; that Persuasion is not only my favourite of all her books but one of my all-time favourite books; and that Captain Wentworth is my favourite literary hero, then you'll probably understand why I might have been slow to flick open Juliet Archer's Persuade Me, a modern retelling of Persuasion.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for modern revamps of classic books and films. When they're done well, they can give you a fresh take on the original and guide you back to revisiting an old friend or introduce you to a new one. But when they're done badly, they're a travesty and I rue the loss of valuable reading or viewing time.

Happily, Juliet Archer has done a fantastic job with Persuade Me and my love of Persuasion not only remains undimmed but it might even have been reinforced, if that's possible. The beauty of ChocLit titles is that they offer you the story not only from the heroine's perspective but also from that of the hero and, with such an appealing hero as Rick Wentworth, that's one of the main draws here. You finally get inside Wentworth's head and find out what he's thinking and feeling. Being able to do so does mean that the Will-they?, Won't-they? suspense of the original is compromised slightly but Juliet Archer handles things in such a way that she still manages to retain much of the tension, right up to the last possible moment. Besides, it was terrific fun to see just what a modern Wentworth might be like. Rick Wentworth, marine biologist, is a clever imagining of what Austen's hero could be today. He's every bit as passionate and impulsive as the Captain Frederick Wentworth of the original.

The heroine, Anna, is a character that I couldn't help liking and wouldn't mind being friends with, were she real. I also loved the Musgrove family and the Crofts every bit as much as I did the ones in Austen's novel and I definitely approved of Mrs Smith's modern-day equivalent and her situation. That was a lovely touch. It was a lot of fun to recognise each and every modern equivalent of much-loved (or hated, in some cases) characters and I enjoyed how Juliet Archer updated the key events, making it especially relevant in our seemingly celebrity-obsessed times.

You don't need to know or love Persuasion to enjoy Persuade Me. The book easily holds its own and is a great read in its own right and, if you haven't read Persuasion, you'll hopefully enjoy Persuade Me enough to want to see where the inspiration for it came from.

I read Persuade Me straight through in one sitting. I hadn't meant to but once I started I didn't want to put it down, even though I knew exactly how the story would end. I eventually finished it around 5am on Monday. That's the sign of a good read in my book.
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on 18 August 2013
Anna has spent many years being influenced by family not always well meaning. Then Rick comes back into her life and she still loves him and wants to know how he feels about her.
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on 23 February 2014
An absolutely riveting read that I thoroughly enjoyed as it followed, although in modern scenes, is a plot similar to Jane Austin's Persuation. Brilliantly written
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