I always get so hopeful for Jane Austen adaptations and then I am almost inevitably disappointed. And yet, I know that I will still get suckered into reading the next one--because I can't help hoping.
Diana Peterfreund's adaptation of Persuasion is better than most: she's created an interesting new post-apocalyptic world that feels like a return to Victorian England (similar strict social hierarchies). In this world, Elliot North and her family own an estate worked by Reductionists (the somewhat simple-minded products of a genetic experiment gone horribly wrong). And as with Anne Elliot, Elliot is almost single-handedly keeping the family estate intact as her father and older sister are more concerned with keeping up appearances than with making sure their workers are fed. Years ago, Elliot fell in love with a post-Reductionist boy on the estate, and though Kai has since disappeared to make his fortune, she still loves him. When he shows up as part of a company who are renting a portion of the estate, Elliot is ecstatic--until she realizes that he hasn't forgiven her apparent rejection of him years earlier.
Persuasion is possibly my favorite Austen novel, and it's hard to recreate the subtlety of that original romance. Peterfreund's romance almost, but not quite, works for me. For one thing, I found Kai too hard to like. Initially, he seems like an outright jerk, and I never quite got over that initial impression.
But the story was still worth reading for the interesting world Peterfreund has created, and I may just have to read the companion to this, Across a Star-swept Sea, as I'm curious to see how she pulls of a Scarlet Pimpernell adaptation in this world.