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lglorien

I dwell in possibility.

An avid reader and wannabe writer; your regular bookworm and enthusiast for words.

Anne Elliot, A New Beginning: A Persuasion Re-imagining

Anne Elliot, A New Beginning: A Persuasion Re-imagining - Mary Lydon Simonsen This is the third book by Mary Lydon Simonsen that I’ve read and I have to say, she never disappoints. I enjoyed reading this novel so much that I read it in one single day. Luckily for me, it was a Sunday, so I had the time to dedicate myself to reading the entire novel in one day.Anne Elliot is a new person and a strong, independent woman in this novel. On her 25th birthday, when she is declared to be a spinster, Anne decides to take life in her hands and free herself. I really wanted to hug Anne for her brave decision that brought such delightful changes to her character. I loved the original by Austen, Persuasion, but Anne’s resigned and quiet, sort of like a grey, quiet mouse, in the original. In Simonsen’s rewriting, she’s something else – strong, independent, with a sharp tongue and wit. I really loved it how she was able to talk back to her family. In the original novel, she swallows their humiliating remarks, but not this Anne. The main thing that strengthened Anne so much mentally, and also physically, is running. In this novel, Anne is a long-distance runner. I know, very anachronistic. But let me tell you, anachronisms really works so well in this novel. This story is meant to be a humorous take on Persuasion and a bit of a parody, and it has to be read as such. I found myself giggling several times.There are many wonderful and funny allusions to modern times. Puns, fun and funny references to modern times, humour and irony are wonderful ingredients of this novel. I don’t know why, but for some reason my favourite reference was the “Avon Calling!” one. That really got me. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, buy the novel, read it and you’ll know. Really, you won’t regret it if you like humour and Jane Austen.The novel also has serious and emotional moments. The serious moments refer primarily to William Elliot, the nasty heir to Kellynch, who is a bad man, indeed, and also to Anne and Frederick becoming forced to endure another separation due to Napoleon’s escaping from Elba. There is also romance, mostly between Frederick and Anne. It was really memorable to read about a jealous Frederick. Anne is not the only person who undergoes a great change for the better. Her sister Mary, the hypochondriac extraordinaire, also finds a new purpose in life that affects her marriage to Charles in a good way. Louisa and Captain Benwick also have their fair share of romance, but things are not easy for the melancholy Benwick. I loved it that the author concentrated on Benwick quite a bit, as well as on the family of Captain Harville. They’re sort of only by-standers in the original, but in this novel they have a clear voice. Even Elizabeth and Sir Walter change for the better. Essentially, they remain as vain as ever, but they do change for the better.I really, really loved the novel. It is so cleverly written and has many funny, as well as some less funny moments that are really enjoyable to read. As a reader, I am fond of sexual subtlety as far as Austen’s characters go because the main characters are proper ladies and gentlemen, so I had to get used to the fact that Anne and Frederick were so open with each other in private and even produced sexual innuendoes quite freely. I know, this is part of the humour as well, but what can you do, that’s just my thing, I guess. Still, I enjoyed the novel thoroughly and I wasn’t too bothered by the sexual innuendos. The novel as a whole is really well written, very clever and witty. As I’ve said, a perfect read for someone who loves humour and Jane Austen. The story, as well as the characters, are dealt with in a fresh, desirable way. This novel made me love Persuasion even more. It reminded me why Austen is such a great author. Simonsen really is an Austen connoisseur.If you ever get a chance to read this book, do read it. It’s a wonderful novel.