This is an updated version of Jane Austen's Persuasion, which if you don't know, is a second chance love story. In Persuasion, Anne Elliot is persuaded to give up her imprudent engagement to a naval captain and comes to regret her decision deeply. This can be a hard one to update, I think, as Anne's decision was easier to excuse and understand, given the historical context. In the early 1800s she would have been completely dependent on her husband in the way that a modern woman wouldn't, so if he'd have been unsuccessful in his career not only could she have faced penury but could well have had a clutch of children dependent on her.
Fast forward another 8 or so years and Laurel's life is pretty lonely whereas James has become a huge success, having invented some software that has made him a millionaire. He's never had another relationship that he could commit to after Laurel and living in the middle of nowhere Laurel hasn't exactly had many chances of finding love. She wishes that she hadn't let James out of her life all those years ago, but doesn't believe that he'd be interested in trying again.
Although this book works as a romance in its own right I think having read Persuasion gives an extra dimension, as you have the added enjoyment of spotting people and events from Miss Austen's masterpiece and on the whole they were well-represented, although I wanted to give James a bit of a wake up shake a few times! Some of the updates were pretty ingenious, such as the fall and head injury from the original becoming a water skiing accident. I liked the update of the letter but felt it was delivered too publicly. Having said that, I can't see anybody managing to equal that letter from Persuasion, it was perfection!
I really enjoyed this book and I'd definitely recommend it. Karen M Cox has also written an updated version of Pride and Prejudice, '1932', set in the US depression which is also well worth reading in my opinion.