A huge thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
The story of Rico and Ash was a slice of perfection in an imperfect, chaotic world.
Persuasion by Jane Austen is my favorite book of all time. And I am an obsessive bibliophile who devours books like others inhale chocolate or cupcakes. So I had high hopes and high expectations. I was not disappointed.
One of the reasons I love Persuasion so much is its unflinching portrayal of familial obligation and manipulation. The force of those same undercurrents is masterfully portrayed in this new adaptation. The weight of these unspoken expectations is what separated Rico and Ash as teenagers, and the trajectory of their adult lives has been shaped by them.
Ash has done everything in her power to ensure her father’s legacy is a golden one. The restaurant that has consumed all of her sweat and tears for over a decade is drowning, and Ash is grasping at straws in the hope of finding a miracle. When her two best friends concoct a plan and offer her a spot on a reality tv cooking show, she immediately dismisses the idea as ludicrous.
It’s been over a decade since he saw her. He’s resisted the urge to google her, and be confronted with all of the shiny, happy pictures of choices she made that did not include him. What Rico finds when he finally does google her is an announcement that Ash will be one of the contestants on a reality tv cooking show that pairs chefs with celebrities. And he calls his agent.
They have a decade of regret between them. They have animosity and tension sharp enough to sever limbs. But they also still have an aching awareness the exact space in a room occupied by each other. And like his namesake, Rico is half agony and half hope.
For them to have a second chance, Ash will have to confront the demons that are crippling her. For them to stand a chance this time, all of her secrets and misperceptions must be laid bare.
This was a glorious interpretation of my favorite novel, and unforgettable in true Austenesque form.