Michelle's Reviews > The Family Fortune

The Family Fortune by Laurie Horowitz
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Oct 03, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011, contemp, janeish, own, retelling
Read in August, 2011

Oh Jane Fortune! How do I love thee!!

Just so you know I did go into this retelling of Persuasion , my all time favorite Jane Austen novel, with a hefty does of wariness. I mean, nothing could come close to imitating the original on this one, right?

Truth be told, Laurie Horowitz did a fabulous job of updating my beloved Persuasion for the modern world in The Family Fortune . The Fortunes are decidedly Boston Old Money with connections and oodles of spare time to devote to their favorite pastime: themselves. Of course when financial disaster strikes, the family must retrench* and a whole new world is opened up for Jane. Morphing Anne Elliot into Jane Fortune, an almost-forty year old trustafarian who spends her days editing the Euphemia Review, was pure genius in my book. And once again my heart broke over and over for Jane as I watched the world pass her by. Truly I don't know how such a passive character could ever win me over, but she does. Perhaps it's her eventual determination to take control of her life little by little in order to carve out her own bit of happiness away from her rotten family.

My only complaint with The Family Fortune happens to be a somewhat large sticking point: Max Wellman (the reinvention of Cpt. Wentworth). Throughout most of the book, I ached with Jane as she silently pined for her lost love and then as she was 'reunited' with him only to watch him date other women. To say I was building up their eventual reunion would be a complete understatement -- I was expecting true fireworks people. Sadly, there was no grand moment of love rekindled. Not even an impassioned letter from Max! **cue extreme sobbing** Just simple, no nonsense decisions. Which does go along with Jane's character but I was just hoping for something a teeny bit more swoon-worthy. But honestly? I still love this book for Jane's transformation alone, even if her happily ever after wasn't as blissful as Anne Elliot's. I'm thinking any true lover of Persuasion will think so too.

*I always thought the 'reduced circumstances' bit in Persuasion was hilarious because yes, the Elliots have to retrench, but they still are gentry and have means -- albeit reduced. I mean, they are spending the winter in BATH (a resort town) for goodness sakes! Anyways, Horowitz does a nice job of calling Ms. Austen on this in The Family Fortune. 

"From what I hear, he is really crazy about you, Jane."
"That's ridiculous. Does he know about our 'reduced circumstances'?" I asked.
"Honey, the Fortunes in reduced circumstances live better than ninety-nine percent of the population -- but that's not it. He has money. He's not interested in your money."

HA! My thoughts exactly.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Persuasion is my favorite too. That letter! I'll have to check this one out.


Michelle Oh yes! If you like Persuasion, I think you'd enjoy this one immensely.


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