Author: Emily Ann Benedict
Major Themes: Depression Era, Historical Fiction, Classic Retellings
Synopsis: A retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this is the delightful story of a girl trying to do her best by everyone she knows, and struggling to overcome sorrow from the past.
A few weeks ago, I got an email from author Emily Ann Benedict, asking if I’d still be interested in reading and reviewing her newest release, Perception. I had asked previously for review copies of the books in the Vintage Jane Austen collection, so I was delighted to be given the chance to read another book in the series. Over the next few days, I listened to Persuasion by Jane Austen, and loved the story. So knowing that, I was really looking forward to seeing what the retelling would offer as far as staying true to the original storyline, or adding creative new twists to it. I wasn’t disappointed; this was an expertly crafted novel, and it held my attention from nearly the first page!
Abbey, always trying to help other people even when it severely inconveniences her, is saddened when she finds out she must give up her childhood home because of failing finances. Her father and sister move to Boston, and a couple from Europe take over the once-beautiful home the Evans family have owned for years. With failing stocks, though, what can one do? Abbey goes to visit her sister and brother-in-law for a while, but is unprepared for the shock of seeing someone she had hoped never to see again.
Freddy Williams has been running from his memories for years. Having lost the girl of his dreams, he enlisted to fight in the Great War and later became a popular newspaper column writer. Will he ever find peace again? What happens when another war begins to seem inevitable?
I thoroughly enjoyed Perception. Not only was the story fun and well written, but the struggles Abbey faced as she was forced to learn to have patience with different people was very relatable. Whether it was her father and sister, who could only care about what other people thought of them, or another sister who was very needy and could get depressed or sick on a whim, or a love interest from years ago that she had to be around again, each presented their own struggles and although she didn’t always handle them properly, I felt like I connected with her fairly well. Overall, although she wasn’t perfect, she did have a genuine heart to care for other people, and I appreciated that.
In all, the book was an easy, fast read. I was somewhat sad when I finished it—because, after all, even though everything was resolved it would have been fun to see what happened to the characters down the road! Even though this doesn’t have much “Christian” content in it, I was okay with that because Persuasion didn’t, either. I’d recommend this story if you’re looking for a light, easy read—you might not learn a whole lot from it in the knowledge sense of the term, but it does make for good entertainment when you just want a good story.
Note: I received this book for free from the author, in exchange for my honest review.
WARNING: Several words are used that I don’t appreciate: Gosh in chapter 8, and God’s name is taken in vain twice, once in chapter 17 and again in chapter 21. Chapter 9 mentions people swimming, and a girl being caught with just her bathing dress on. Chapter 10 mentions a boy that was killed while at war and “he died a noble death, fighting for our country.” A guy carries a girl back home after an accident in chapter 12. A man and woman argue and then fight in chapter 37, and he tries to strangle her after she accuses him of killing his wife (slightly graphic). There’s a kiss (not described, just mentioned) at the end of chapter 38.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults