Melanie Stanford’s first book, a modern retelling of Persuasion, called SWAY will be released in the end of this year (29. Dec. 2015.) , but I was lucky enough to win a copy at a giveaway. They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but when the cover is so beautiful, it’s hard not to. I love blue, I love the piano, the lights and I love the fusion of the instrument with the girl and the boy (he looks like Zac Efron). I think after the editor (from the last review), I have found the artist who should design a cover for me if I ever write a book.
The fact that it was a free copy, doesn’t mean I’m not going to tell if I don’t like something.
Reading Sway, the first thing I noticed, it is written in first person singular. The narrator is the main character Ava Elliot. I’ve read lots of JAFF books (my first one which is not a Pride and Prejudice variation), but this is the first one which uses first person narration and it’s not a diary. The first time I could sort of see why did the author pick this narrative perspective was at around page 70. Normally this is the point (if I’m bored) when I jump right into the end of the book (last 10-20 pages) where the big get together scene usually happens (then go back and continue reading with satisfaction). Well, it didn’t happen here. I mean, I haven’t skipped any pages, paragraphs or even sentences. I didn’t know what’s happening next, which drove me crazy so I kept reading. The disadvantage (and -it seems in this book- at the same time the advantage) of this type of narration is that the narrator can only show one person’s point of view and we can only see what she sees. We are not aware of the other person’s thoughts. Austen’s novels were written from third person omniscient perspective. That means the narrator and with the narrator we can see everything, we know everything, we know what the other characters think, see, do etc. In Sway we can only see and know what Ava does. All in all, in the beginning of the book I thought it was a bad idea to tell the story in first person, but actually because it was written very well, it was actually a smart idea. I thought the narration part will be a criticism, but it seems I have to find something else. Well, I hated one name or nickname, Gage. I think Stephen King had a character called Gage, but… My dislike of this name is not reasoned, so I suppose it’s not a criticism after all.
I love the intertextuality in the story. There are lots of classical and pop song references, movies, quotes from movies and lyrics. It makes the book fresh and modern. By the way, I have watched the Pillow Talk because of the book. J There is a song for every mood, thought, action, just like I have a song for everything. I also love that playing the piano was the answer or solution for everything. It’s a shame that as much as I want, I can’t play, however “There are few people in England, I suppose, who have more true enjoyment of music than myself, or a better natural taste. If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.”
The story is great. It’s not an unlikely, forced imitation of the original novel. You can see, the writer made sure that the plot is real, modern and coherent.
The only spoiler I give you is about the letter. THE LETTER ***SPOILER*** has been transformed into a lyrics called Sway. Perfection! I would copy it here, but I don’t want to kill the joy before you read it. I think Ms Stanford should sell it to a record company, preferably to Bon Jovi.
I have to say, I loved the story, the characters, actions and that lyrics…Swoon… Must read!