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Persuading Annie    by Melissa Nathan order for
Persuading Annie
by Melissa Nathan
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2004 (2004)

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* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Annie Markham made the biggest mistake of her life seven years before. Thinking she was pregnant, she agreed to marry Jake Mead. At the last minute she discovered she wasn't pregnant, and allowed her godmother Susannah to talk her out of the marriage. The break-up was hurtful and Annie hasn't been able to find another love that measures up to what she and Jake experienced.

Now she works for her family's PR business. Annie, her sisters, and their father find out that the company is failing. Susannah, the company's financial director, has hired a consulting firm (owned by Jake) in an attempt to make cut-backs to salvage the business. Annie and Jake must discover if they can remain civil to one another. At the same time they try to deny that there might still be feelings between them. Can they find common ground, or are they doomed to repeat past mistakes?

This is a modern-day version of Jane Austen's Persuasion. It is a delightful update on a fantastic story, which will have readers hooked from the start. Readers will relate to Annie in many ways. Still looking back wistfully at the love she lost, Annie is trying to find out what she wants in a man and a relationship. Her journey to self-discovery comes slowly, but Annie eventually finds her inner strength.

There is a great deal of head hopping going on in the story. Though distracting at first, once you get into the flow, it contributes positively to the tone. The humor created from knowing what each character is thinking during certain situations reminds me of a comic, where you see the incongruous thoughts floating around - for example, a wife is worrying about the state of her marriage when her husband doesn't try to kiss her, all the while he's analyzing his golf game.

The romance and family issues blend well with the business portions, which never get heavy handed or dry. Readers will enjoy Persuading Annie as a light, funny romance with a contemplative side. It goes to show that chick lit isn't a new genre; Jane Austen was writing it long before it had a modern name.

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