Avon, Aug 2004, 12.95, 339 pp.
For someone more accurate than a Swiss watch, when she missed her monthly period, Annie Markham assumes she is pregnant. She tells her boyfriend of two months nineteen years old Jake Mead, who reacts by asking her who the father is before collapsing at her feet. Annie and Jake argue even after she learns she is not pregnant over his reaction. They end their relationship although neither truly wants too. Annie figures that her wise godmother Susannah was right about the fickleness and unreliability of men.
Seven years later, the family business is in trouble. Jake, considered the best consultant in London, is hired to save the firm from bankruptcy. He never got over Annie and how she dumped him; she never got over Jake and how he walked out on her. Annie hides their past from her parents and two sisters, but worries that Jake will use the teetering business to enact revenge. As each parades a potential significant other in front of the other, their love of seven years ago remains strong, but neither wants to risk admitting the truth.
This fine contemporary chick lit romance moves Jane Austen's PERSUASION into a modern relationship. The story line is character driven as Annie and Jake, supported by a strong secondary cast, battle for “supremacy” the second time around even as denial is their weapon of choice. Jake acts like two people as he conveniently fits Susannah's worthless human male stereotype too easily, but also at other times shows he is a responsible person. PERSUADING ANNIE is a wonderful tribute to Ms. Austen as is Melissa Nathan's previous homage to the great author (see PRIDE, PREJUDICE AND JASMIN FIELD).
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner