Title: A Perpetual Estrangement
Author: Alice B. Ryder
Publication Date: November 2016
My Grade: C
I’m once again am reading Jane Austin adaptations. I really enjoy the ones based on Persuasion, which is my favorite of her novels. This particular novel takes place in Modern England. Anne Elliot is still Anne, but this time she’s moved away from her family. She owns a bookshop she bought with her mother’s inheritance, and hangs out a lot with her mother’s side of the family (which takes place of the Musgroves.) She is estranged from her father and sister Roberta, which only gets worse as the book continues.
Frederick is replaced with Freddie, a young writer instead of soldier. Roberta and Anne’s father talk Anne out of going on a world trip with him and they end up breaking up. She regrets it, he’s trying to show he’s moved on, just like their literary counterparts.
I enjoyed this book to a point. At times it seemed to drag on, and some of the related points seemed mixed up which isn’t too much of a problem. The main problem seems to be that there isn’t much for me to say about it. It’s not bad, but it’s not spectacular either. The Author makes a point of reminding you throughout the book that this is a reimagined story, not just another modern version of the same story. Some of the elements remain the same, but others have changed completely. The book Persuasion (and other Jane Austen novels) are mentioned through out.
I think my problem was mostly I found it hard to connect with some of the characters. Anne’s story has perhaps a bit too much sorrow. The version of Cousin Elliot is a bit too far away from the original. Most of his motivations are stripped away, and he’s after her Uncle who’s a literary agent. There are also a few scenes with Jane whose age I couldn’t really figure out. She seems like she’s in her preteens but at the same time seems to be referred to as much younger. Freddie and Anne’s relationship is strained, like the original, but it seems the sudden Happily Ever After is, well, Sudden. There isn’t so much the anticipation that he’s changed his mind. Most of the time you are as confused as Anne as to what is going on.
Still, it was enjoyable and I wouldn’t avoid it. If someone asked me if it was worth reading, I would say sure. it’s a good rainy day read. If you like Austen, this story is enjoyable if a bit awkward in parts. I wouldn’t put it on my greatest reads list, but its alright.