Thursday, March 14, 2024

Book Review: Once Persuaded, Twice Shy by Melodie Edwards

Pages: 352
Genre: Adult Fiction/Romance
Pub. Date: February 27, 2024
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars
Goodreads says, "This modern reimagining of Persuasion is full of witty banter, romantic angst, and compelling characters as it captures the heart of the classic Jane Austen novel.

When Anne Elliott broke up with Ben Wentworth, it seemed like the right thing to do . . . but now, eight years later, she’s not so sure.

In her scenic hometown of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Anne is comfortable focusing on her successful filling her late mother’s shoes as town councilor and executive director of her theater company. She certainly keeps busy as the all-around wrangler of eccentric locals, self-centered family members, elaborate festivals, and the occasional attacking goose. But the more she tries to convince herself that her life is fine as is, the more it all feels like a show—and not nearly as good as the ones put on by her theater company. She’s the always responsible Anne, always taken for granted and cleaning up after other people, and the memories of happier times with Ben Wentworth still haunt her.

So when the nearby Kellynch Winery is bought by Ben’s aunt and uncle, Anne’s world is set ablaze as her old flame crashes back into her life—and it’s clear he hasn’t forgiven her for breaking his heart. A joint project between the winery and Anne’s theater forces both Ben and Anne to confront their complicated history, and as they spend more time together, Anne can’t help but wonder if there might be hope for their future after all."


Anne Elliott runs the theater company in the idyllic town of Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada. She has taken it over after her mother's death and all was going well until the new owners of the winery want to partner with her. This sounds like a great opportunity, but upon further inspection she realizes that the newcomers have appointed Ben Wentworth, their nephew, to broker the deal. Cue the drama! Ben Wentworth is Anne's long-lost college boyfriend, essentially the one who got away. Can Anne get past their misunderstandings and make this professional relationship work or will all the old feelings come back? Once Persuaded, Twice Shy by Melodie Edwards is a delightful modern retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion.


Anne Elliott is my favorite of Austen's heroines and Edwards captures her very well without making it feel old-fashioned. Anne has more than the theater to worry about, she also has to deal with her demanding sister and unhinged father, so just like Persuasion, this retelling also captures themes of family expectation and the pressure that Anne feels to do for others, even over her own needs at times. 


I also thought the romance between Ben and Anne was done very well and if you like a story about the one who got away, you'll appreciate Once Persuaded, Twice Shy. Also, my absolute favorite part of the novel was the gorgeous Canadian setting of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Edwards did a wonderful job bringing it to life with all of its autumnal details that made me want to plan a trip there immediately. It reminded me a bit of Stars Hollow in the best way possible as it's also a small town filled with quirky characters. In fact, Once Persuaded, Twice Shy felt a lot like a small-town rom-com.


If you have a fondness for Austen retellings and charming small-town romances, then Once Persuaded, Twice Shy is a book that you shouldn't miss. Please share with me in the comments if you have already read it or intend to do so and I am eager to hear if you are a fan of Austen inspired novels.




  1. I really liked her first book, so I am excited for this one! Glad to hear you enjoyed it so much, Christina!

    1. I love a retelling of a classic, so I will have to check out her first book! I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it. Thanks for visiting, Angela.


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