Saturday, December 6, 2014

Persuasion, Captain Wentworth and Cracklin' Cornbread by Mary Jane Hathaway

People who like Jane Austen books will like this retelling of Persuasion. Lucy Crawford and Jem Chevy dated in high school. But she was from a wealthy black family and he and his mom lived in a trailer on the other side of the tracks. Lucy let her aunt convince her Jem wasn't good enough and she had sent him on his way.

Now it is ten years later and Jem is back and the tables are turned. Jem is a medical doctor and Lucy is trying to keep their large home from foreclosure. Their meeting after all those years is difficult. We readers can tell each of them have strong feelings for the other. We can only hope they will overcome their past hurt to come together again.

This retelling of the classic has an additional twist in the racial aspect. I found that a little hard to get used to. I did enjoy all of the southern aspect of the novel, such as the devotion many have to Civil War reenactments. The characters in the novel are just so, well, southern. The way they dress, what they eat, and how they talk. The novel was a welcome escape to a different part of the U.S.

I'm not Jane Austen fan but I really liked this book. I'm not even sure I've ever read Persuasion. So even readers who are not Austen followers would enjoy this novel. And an added feature are the recipes at the end of the book. There's chow chow, the cracklin' cornbread and the cobbler. Bring on the bacon grease!

Mary Jane Hathaway is the pen name of an award-nominated writer who is a homeschooling mother of six. She holds degrees in religious studies and theoretical linguistics. She lives in Milton-Freewater, Oregon.

Howard Books, 305 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.

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