Rebecca Jamison met her husband on a blind date. His first words to her were, "Do you want to get together and play spin the bottle?"(He was trying to avoid another bad blind date, but she went out with him anyway.) Rebecca grew up in Vienna, Virginia. She attended Brigham Young University, earning a BA and MA in English. In between college and grad school, she served a mission to Portugal and the Cape Verde islands. Rebecca and her husband have six children. She enjoys running, dancing, making jewelry, reading, and watching chick flicks. You can learn more about her at www.rebeccahjamison.com
Jane Austen knew all about big break-ups. When Jane was twenty-six, she received a proposal from twenty-one-year-old Harris Bigg Wither, her friends’ younger brother. Although Jane accepted Harris’s proposal at first, she quickly regretted her decision and told him the next morning that she couldn’t marry him after all. It was definitely a brave move for her time.
Harris was no Captain Wentworth. He was probably more of a Mr. Collins or worse. Jane described him as having a “bad habit of body.” Others wrote that he stuttered and was uncouth. Though he was wealthier than Jane, he was no match for her intellect.
Jane Austen’s broken engagement was an embarrassing memory for her. Still, she was bold enough to write Persuasion, a book that revolves around a broken engagement—an engagement that’s strikingly similar to her own. Perhaps Jane was comfortable telling the story because Anne Elliot’s feelings were so different. Anne refused Captain Wentworth because her family disapproved of his economic situation, not because she didn’t love him. While Jane Austen refused to marry for security without love, Anne Elliot refused to marry for love without security.
I’m a huge fan of Persuasion. After the first time I read it, I went right back to Chapter One and read the whole thing again. Then I read it two more times. I loved the strong emotions, moments of misunderstanding and beautiful descriptions. At the same time, I realized that many modern readers wouldn’t have the patience for Persuasion because it’s not as lively as Pride and Prejudice. Modernizing Persuasion was a fun way for me to relive my favorite novel over and over again.
When I started writing, I thought so many of Persuasion’s themes jived with Mormon or Latter-day Saint culture, so I made the characters members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—hence the subtitle, “A Latter-day Tale.” Latter-day Saints place a lot of emphasis on the importance of marriage and tend to marry at younger ages than the general population. This helped explain why the modern Captain Wentworth would be so anxious to propose.
People are still afraid of committing to marriage today, even though the reasons are a little different than they were for Jane Austen. Why is the modern Anne afraid of getting married? For one thing, she has a lot conflict within her family. Her parents are divorced, and like many children of divorced parents, Anne wonders if she’ll be able to have a successful marriage herself. Another thing that worries Anne is Captain Wentworth’s choice of profession. He wants to be a police officer, and Anne worries she won’t be able to withstand the stress. As in the original story, Anne’s parents persuade her to refuse Captain Wentworth’s proposal.
Anne lives to regret her decision. We’ll probably always wonder whether Jane Austen ever regretted hers. I’m guessing she didn’t. What do you think?
Rebecca H . Jamison
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When Anne broke off her engagement seven years ago, she thought she’d never see Neil Wentworth again. But when Neil’s brother buys the house she grew up in, it seems fate has other plans in store. Anne is unprepared for the roller coaster of emotions that come when Neil returns and starts dating her younger friend.
Convinced that Neil could no longer have strong feelings for her, Anne pushes away all thoughts of the past. But when the handsome man she’s been dating decides he can’t live without her, Anne must come to terms with her past.
Fans of Jane Austen’s Persuasion will enjoy this modern version of her most romantic story.
Number of pages: 240 pages
Publisher: Bonneville Books (Cedar Fort)
Release Date: Feb 7, 2012