“Persuasion is possibly my favorite Austen novel, and despite the abundance of Pride and Prejudice sequels, reimaginings and modern remakes (of which I own far too many), I was very excited to read this retelling of Persuasion instead.
Like all Austen-inspired works, I try to judge them on their own merits, in the context of their own bizarre little sub-genre, rather than comparing an Austen sequel to another contemporary novel, romance, etc.
Captain Wentworth's Persuasion start after the events of the original novel and then retells, in flashbacks, the story of Persuasion from the hero's perspective instead of the heroine's. There's really nothing wrong with that. However, the author tries to, from time to time, write in a Regency style that just doesn't work. Then, she'll lift a passage or conversation from the original and plop it into the middle of her own pseudo-Regency style. The result? Well, nobody really writes like Austen except for Austen. These borrowed passages stick out like a pearl among pebbles and make the reader notice the flaws in the author's style all the more.
The first three-quarters of the book are just a simple retelling of what readers already know, with a few too many PDAs tossed in to be really true-to-era. Then the final quarter is a tacked-on, saccharine fairy tale-cum-smuggler adventure. The Wentworths not only have love and his admirable fortune from the war (which seemed like a happy enough ending to me), but Frederick becomes a national hero! And then he gets praised publicly by the Prince! And then they get a better title than Anne's father, which will make him respect his son-in-law! And then they have twins! And they get a perfect estate! And then Frederick foils a plot(?) by smugglers(?) to do...something...? Exclamation point!
Honestly, I had stopped caring at this point, just wanting the book to be over. The most satisfying parts of the story were in the original plot, anyway.
The original story was satisfying enough without having the author's over-the-top additions at the end. This book is at its best right up until the new stuff makes an appearance. There's really nothing wrong with imagining new situations for characters to face, or new places for them to go, but this story takes away any tension by making all the challenges thin and the rewards too great. "You had an argument with your dad? Here, have a winning lottery ticket." It's just a little absurd.
All that being said, I did enjoy the book.
But I'd far rather read the original one more time than give this one a second glance.”