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Passion and Persuasion; A Review of Brenda Joyce's Novel Persuasion

Updated on July 23, 2015

Brenda Joyce's The Masquerade was the first Romance novel I have ever read. Since then, I've been hooked. Romances give readers a chance to escape from the real world and imagine they are in an exciting universe in which people are blinded with passion and cannot help but give in to desire.

The latest book I have read by Joyce, Persuasion, takes readers to the time period she generally writes in, the 18th century. Simon Grenville, Earl of St. Just, is caught up in the war in Europe and becomes a double agent fighting for his life and the lives of his family. Amelia Greystone, helplessly in love with Simon, is concerned for his children's welfare after their mother dies in childbirth and so becomes their housekeeper. The story follows the hurdles Simon must leap in order to keep his family safe in difficult times and it puts strain on his complicated relationship with Amelia and his children.

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The title, like the plot, refers to Jane Austen's Persuasion, in that both novels are about a man going off to the war and then returning after some years. The majority of Joyce's plot is different, however, because of various different series of events, such as Simon having married during the time of his absence, which Austen's hero, Wentworth, did not.

Amelia is an admirable character, ever loyal and determined. She continuously trusts Simon though he keeps doing things to test that faith. At the same time, however, she is a bit over zealous in her pursuit of the truth. She constantly claims she trusts Simon, yet she cannot trust him when he says she would be better off not knowing the truth. She is told to stay out of it, which only pushes her to dig deeper by going to her family and telling them of her concerns and asking their advice. I could not help disliking Amelia a bit when she did not heed the warnings Simon and Warlock, Simon's "spymaster," gave her when she finally discovered the truth.

Simon is the typical Romance novel hero, as I talk about in my article "The Formula of Romance Novels," in that he constantly thinks he's not good enough for Amelia and that there is an immovable obstacle preventing him from doing what is right and marrying her. That obstacle was only his own paranoid mind telling him that if he married her she would be in even more danger than she already was. Once it got down to it though, the minute she said "Marry me!" he did so no questions asked.

Persuasion was a bit different from Joyce's other novels in that it had more focus on the entire plot of the novel than the love between the two main characters. It is always refreshing to read Joyce's novels as they are generally more substantial than other romance novels without giving up the rush of excitement as readers are transported to an exciting world of desire and danger.

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