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HFC Editorial Review of "Celestial Persuasion" by Mirta Trupp

Updated: Jan 14

Author Bio:

Mirta is a second generation Argentine; she was born in Buenos Aires in 1962 and immigrated to the United States that same year. Because of the unique fringe benefits provided by her father’s employer- Pan American Airlines- she returned to her native country frequently- growing up with "un pie acá y un pie allá" (with one foot here and one foot there).

Mirta's fascination with Jewish history and genealogy, coupled with an obsession for historical period drama, has inspired her to create unique and enlightening novels. She has been a guest speaker for book clubs, sisterhood events, genealogy societies and philanthropic organizations. Sharing her knowledge of Jewish Argentina has become her passion.

Besides being an avid novel reader, she has had a lifelong love for choral music and is a devoted Beatles fan. Follow Mirta on Amazon, Goodreads, WordPress, Pinterest and Instagram for interesting tidbits and photos.

Book Blurb:

Abigail Isaacs fears ever again falling under the power of love and dedicates her life to studying the heavens. However, upon her father’s demise she finds herself in reduced circumstances and must write to her brother, who has long been away at sea. When instead Captain Wentworth of the HMS Laconia sends a tragic reply, Abigail is asked to set aside her own ambitions and fulfill her brother’s dreams in the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata.

In his relentless pursuit for justice, Lieutenant Raphael Gabay lends his sword to the Spanish American cause. But as he prepares to set sail with the others, he is entrusted with the care of a young woman. She is quite unlike anyone he has ever known, and Raphael begins to wonder whether the brilliant astronomer will see beyond his frivolous façade and recognize his true nature.

Their destinies have been plotted beyond the celestial veil; their charts foretell of adventure. Can these two troubled souls be persuaded to heed the stars and find love—and their purpose—in this fledgling nation?

Editorial Review

Though we may be persuaded by their guidance, we may freely choose to rise above their prescribed limitations. Follow the dictates of the stars, Captain, but blaze your own trail.”

This delightfully written story is a prequel to Jane Austen’s Persuasion and done in such a lovely way that you sometimes wonder if Miss Austen, herself, penned the words. Ms Trupp’s Abigail Isaacs is a brave young woman dedicated to studying the stars, forever looking up to the heavens and steering away from looking inside her own heart, especially after she is left alone in the world with only the stars to guide her.

After receiving a tragic letter from Captain Wentworth (of Austen’s Persuasion), Abigail is thrust into a whirlwind of fulfilling her brother’s dreams in the far away Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata in Buenos Aires. This is a wonderful departure from the English scenery of Miss Austen’s books and gives the reader another view of Regency life on the seas and across the world, and is done splendidly!

Along the voyage to this new country, Abigail encounters her own Mr Darcy in the personage of Mr Raphael Gabay, a Lieutenant who has offered his services to the Spanish American cause AND who has lent his arm to care for the passage of Abigail and her companion, Mrs Frankel. Mr Gabay embodies a true Austenesque man and holds his own, shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Mr Darcy and Mr Knightley of Pride and Prejudice and Emma fame. Abigail finds herself drawn to him and exasperated by him at the same instance... and Raphael wonders whether Abigail will ever look past her star-gazing and her own prideful assumptions about him to see his true heart.

Like a eloquent constellation, this novel is so perfectly planned out and executed – a vast sparkling tribute to Miss Austen’s Regency world, even including some of her characters such as Captain Wentworth, aforementioned, Mrs Dashwood, and Mrs Jennings from Sense and Sensibility. I adored how Mrs Jennings was still ‘winkling a way’ into finding out information about Abigail’s situation.

Shakespeare himself could not have conceived of a tale so replete with discord and misunderstandings.”

Another clever insinuation into the storyline is Ms Trupp’s presentation of the Jewish experience in Regency England and in Rio de la Plata. So much history about the displaced Jewish people during that time, as well as insightful information about how holidays are performed, as well as the strict observance of the moon instead of the sun in the religious calendar. And not only that, but she infused Abigail’s love for astronomy into this beautifully written story, as well as the historical facts of the birth of this new nation which becomes Argentina. The struggle, the fight for independence, is masterfully woven into Abigail’s story without feeling overtly heavy. We are provided with enough information to clearly see the history which is captivating and illuminating much like the first vision Abigail sees of the Milky Way as the ship crosses the equator.

What sort of woman leaves her home and crosses an ocean to start anew? A brave woman. A strong woman!”

With Austen’s Regency books we are used to being presented with a flurry of stories, nowadays, still stuck in England or in the European landscape, so this take on a Regency novel was quite refreshing and, without a doubt, would receive a nod of approval from Jane Austen. As with most of Miss Austen’s main female characters, Abigail represents a woman of her time stuck between a desire for independence and a world where woman cannot make her own fortune and must marry a man of means to ensure her future; and yet, she is desperate to find her own way. The adventure across the ocean to Rio de la Plata is a daring (and sometimes dangerous) breakaway which reminds me of Marianne’s racing across the hills to find blue sky, her abandonment of sensibility which brings her tumbling into reality. I was truly amazed how Ms Trupp seemed to take elements of all of Miss Austen’s female characters and mold them into the character of Abigail Isaacs.

That a woman – of age, well-read, and well-educated – could not be expected to comprehend the stirrings of the heart when men grew passionate for a cause, or grew restless for change, was a grave affront indeed. That her beloved father, who carefully nurtured her every curiosity, and her brother, who lovingly shared every lesson learned, would believe her to be insensible or incapable of aspiring to better the world tore at her heart. She strove to maintain some sort of equanimity but the nature of the events was far too implausible to allow.”

It is obvious that the author has studied Miss Austen’s style of writing very well, for the book flows with exceptional quality and an easiness which reflects well the verbiage, customs, and traditions of the Regency world. Even at some points when the storyline slows a bit, this too is a reflection of Miss Austen’s books which, to my mind, have been referred to by many as too many words to read, too superfluous, which I think is necessary in a genuine Austen-like spin-off. There is no doubt that readers who are die-hard Austen fans will find a new author to love when reading Celestial Persuasion for in every way this book enlightens, satisfies, and gives us a new way of looking at the Regency world while clarifying her own voice apart from Jane Austen.

Bravo, Ms Trupp, bravo! Austen-esque fans will certainly look forward to this book and to ones to follow.

Celestial Persuasion is awarded five stars and the “Highly Recommended” award by The Historical Fiction Company.


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