The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen: A Novel, by Shannon Winslow – A Review 

The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, by Shannon Winslow (2014)From the desk of Kimberly Denny-Ryder:

It seems to be a great injustice indeed that we, as lovers of all things Jane Austen, spend such a small percentage of our time thinking about Jane’s own love life, as we are instead wrapped up in the lives of her amazingly-created characters. With that in mind, I was excited to hear that one of my favorite Austen authors, Shannon Winslow, was dedicating a book to Ms. Austen herself and the potential influences she had in writing one of her two posthumously published works, Persuasion. It is aptly named The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen. I couldn’t wait to read this once it came out, given how much I admired Winslow’s previous works, The Darcy’s of Pemberley and Return to Longbourn. So, without any more fanfare, I eagerly began reading.

The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen is based on the premise that Austen had her own object of affection: a sea captain by the name of Philippe Devereaux. Introduced to the Captain by her cousin Eliza at her wedding to Jane’s brother, Henry, we see Jane thrown into a whirlwind of emotion upon meeting Philippe. In fact, she behaves not unlike her own characters when they find themselves in much the same predicament. Winslow tells us of Jane’s personal love story with Captain Devereaux via entries of Jane’s own personal journal, penned alongside the pages of Persuasion itself. Winslow slowly begins to intertwine these two tales, and we get to see Jane go through the emotions of loss, love, and finally (what she really deserves) a happy ending.

This is definitely Winslow’s best work to date. The writing is emotional, moving, and my heart was stirred for Jane and her tribulations. Winslow is one of the few authors who can channel Austen’s style of prose so well that I could not tell the two apart if I tried (the only other who comes to mind is Meg Kerr and her novel Experience.) The style of the book (in a journal format which weaves in Persuasion) was a perfect choice, because Winslow’s prose is so like Jane’s that it is incredibly believable that you could be reading actual diary pages written by Jane years ago. It’s obvious that Winslow put a lot of research into where Jane was at certain points of her life to make this story so believable.

I’m glad that Winslow chose to write about Persuasion instead of Pride and Prejudice, for although P&P only slightly edges out Persuasion as my favorite book, Persuasion is often relegated to second fiddle in the fan fiction world, with less work devoted to it. I’m glad such a prolific author in the Jane Austen Fan Fiction world was able to introduce the love and beauty of Anne and Frederick’s story to a new generation. My challenge to you, dear readers, is to download a sample of the first chapter of this book, in which Jane begins writing Persuasion, and not be moved by the frail humanity Jane expresses:

“To begin is to risk everything – crushing defeat, utter failure or, worse still, mediocrity. However, not taking the risk is unthinkable. I have come through successfully before, but that hardly signifies. With each new work the familiar doubts and niggling questions resurface, chiefly these. Do I really possess whatever genius it takes to do it again? And if so, what is the best way to go about it?” (9-10)

The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen is one of the most moving, soul-filling, and beautiful stories I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. The wait for this book was totally worth it, and I’m already eager to see what beauty Winslow will create next.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen: A Novel, by Shannon Winslow
Heather Ridge Arts (2014)
Trade paperback (266) pages
ISBN: 978-1500624736

Cover image courtesy of Heather Ridge Arts © 2014; text Kimberly Denny-Ryder © 2014, Austenprose.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: We received one review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. We only review or recommend products we have read or used and believe will be a good match for our readers. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

17 thoughts on “The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen: A Novel, by Shannon Winslow – A Review 

  1. I’m in the middle of reading this at the moment – I was lucky enough to win an ebook copy in a giveaway. So far, I agree with everything Kimberley says in her review. The writing is beautiful and interweaves Jane’s story and Persuasion very well. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out – I’m only up to the end of Chapter 13 so far.

    Well done, Shannon!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I give this book and this review 5 stars. I too won this ebook and I was not disappointed. I could not put it down. The writing style is genius and kept me riveted. I had a few late nights :). The happiest of endings for our Jane. Thank you Shannon I will be re reading this story many, many times.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. This review caught my attention! I adore Persuasion. I need to get this book. I bet it finds it’s way right up near the top of my to-be-read pile. Thank you, Austenprose, for keeping this busy lady aware and pointed in the right direction of reading treasure.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I too have won my copy and am now the proud owner of the e book – cannot wait to get started.
    I have promised myself I can read it on my next trip away with my husband which will be to Denmark to visit our son. This review with 5 stars has got me longing to get reading. Thank you to Austen prose Laurel Ann, Kimberly, Shannon Winslow and of course to Jane Austen

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I can never decide which Jane Austen novel is my favorite, but Persuasion is always near the top. This book sounds fantastic–thanks to the reviewer and early readers. I’ll have to go on the hunt for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My sincere appreciation to Austenprose for featuring my book, and to Ms Denny-Ryder for such a glowing review! I’m thrilled beyond words that TPMJA moved and satisfied you. I expect to live in the afterglow of your high praise for at least a week. :)

    Like

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  8. Wow. I need to read this book immediately! “Persuasion” is my favorite of all of Jane Austen’s novels, and I love the idea of her personal life being woven throughout this story. Lovely review!

    Like

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