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Mary Jane Hathaway’s Persuasion, Captain Wentworth, and Cracklin Bread

A lively Southern retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, featuring Lucy Crawford, who is thrown back into the path of her first love while on a quest to save her beloved family home.

Lucy Crawford is part of a wealthy, well-respected Southern family with a long local history. But since Lucy’s mother passed away, the family home, a gorgeous antebellum mansion, has fallen into disrepair and the depth of her father’s debts is only starting to be understood. Selling the family home may be the only option—until her Aunt Olympia floats the idea of using Crawford house to hold the local free medical clinic, which has just lost its space. As if turning the plantation home into a clinic isn’t bad enough, Lucy is shocked and dismayed to see that the doctor who will be manning the clinic is none other than Jeremiah Chevy—her first love.

Lucy and Jeremiah were high school sweethearts, but Jeremiah was from the wrong side of the tracks. His family was redneck and proud, and Lucy was persuaded to dump him. He eventually left town on a scholarship, and now, ten years later, he’s returned as part of the rural physician program. And suddenly, their paths cross once again. While Lucy’s family still sees Jeremiah as trash, she sees something else in him—as do several of the other eligible ladies in town. Will he be able to forgive the past? Can she be persuaded to give love a chance this time around?


Once again, even though I liked the other books in this series, I was nervous about reading another retelling of an Austen book….and I didn’t have to be. Here’s why:

What I liked:

The racial makeup of the book. It’s very interesting to me that Ms. Hathaway chose to add race as another hurdle for Lucy and Jem’s high school romance. I was particularly impressed that Lucy, the beautiful, wealthy, debutante-like girl, is black. To me it really added to the novel, making it creative and unique.

The elements of Persuasion. As with her other retellings, this is not an exact retelling of the Jane Austen novel, but there are enough hints and elements that it still feels like Persuasion. There is still that “thing” that came between Lucy and Jem, and Lucy is still doing everything she can to please a family that ignores her, and there is still that slow burn of a romance between Lucy and Jem all throughout the novel.

The romance. It was Persuasion, the only difference being that in Austen’s novel you are not in Captain Wentworth’s head. I really enjoyed it and I just couldn’t wait for them to be together in the end.

The setting. Once again we’re in the south (a bit of the glorified south) with Civil War reenactments and whatnot. I still find it a bit strange, but the historian in me loves it.

Spiritually, there is a great theme on forgiveness and trusting God.

What I didn’t like:

To me, this kind of lines up with the novel Persuasion, but from Lucy’s point of view, I could see how she just wasn’t sure about what Jem wanted due to his side flirtation. But, anyone who has read Persuasion, is familiar with this part of that novel.

Romantic Scale: 8.7

Overall, a very good book. A sweet romance that pulled me and I didn’t want to put the book down!


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