12 March 2024

Book Club Treats: Jane Austen Edition

As you know, I almost exclusively read KidLit. But every once in a while, someone hands me a book written for grown-ups that I thoroughly enjoy. ONCE PERSUADED, TWICE SHY by Melodie Edwards is a modern retelling of Jane Austen's PERSUASION, and it's every bit as fun as the original (which will always hold a special place in my heart as my first Austen novel). It follows the original plot almost beat-for-beat, in the most fun ways, and I felt like I was revisiting an old friend. Now we've both grown up a bit, so the relationship is not exactly like it used to be, but all of the best parts are still there. This is my favorite kind of retelling!

From the publisher:

This modern reimagining of Persuasion is full of witty banter, romantic angst, and compelling characters as it captures the heart of the classic Jane Austen novel.

 When Anne Elliott broke up with Ben Wentworth, it seemed like the right thing to do . . . but now, eight years later, she’s not so sure.

In her scenic hometown of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Anne is comfortable focusing on her successful career: filling her late mother’s shoes as town councilor and executive director of her theater company. She certainly keeps busy as the all-around wrangler of eccentric locals, self-centered family members, elaborate festivals, and the occasional attacking goose. But the more she tries to convince herself that her life is fine as is, the more it all feels like a show—and not nearly as good as the ones put on by her theater company. She’s the always responsible Anne, always taken for granted and cleaning up after other people, and the memories of happier times with Ben Wentworth still haunt her.

So when the nearby Kellynch Winery is bought by Ben’s aunt and uncle, Anne’s world is set ablaze as her old flame crashes back into her life—and it’s clear he hasn’t forgiven her for breaking his heart. A joint project between the winery and Anne’s theater forces both Ben and Anne to confront their complicated history, and as they spend more time together, Anne can’t help but wonder if there might be hope for their future after all.


I read this book in one sitting, and immediately thought of a cookie to go with it! It's not exactly a #KidLitConfections recipe, because this isn't KidLit... but grown-ups need treats for their book clubs too, right? So how about #BookClubTreats for this (and any possible future grown-up books I may want to share)? 

Anne Elliott doesn't drink (something we have in common), but she does have one exception: on occasion when it's cold outside, she likes a hot, buttered rum. (This is not something we have in common, as I've never tried real rum. Or any alcohol.) However, I do love the taste of buttered rum candies, and I sometimes (often) sneak rum flavoring into some of my desserts. I think Anne would love my Buttered Rum Snowball Cookies!

Buttered Rum Snowball Cookies

close-up of Buttered Rum Snowball Cookies: small, round cookies coated in powdered sugar

2 c. butter

1 ½ c. powdered sugar, divided

1 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. rum flavoring

5 c. gluten-free all-purpose flour blend (I like Bob's Red Mill 1 to 1)

Cream butter and 3/4 c. powdered sugar together. Add salt and flavoring. Beat until light and fluffy. 

illustration of Veronica Bartles, wearing a purple top and green skirt, stepping up onto a pile of books held up by a frog, while carrying a cake and an open book in her outstretched hands. Text above her head reads "Book Club Treats"
Stir in flour, just until mixed. 

Chill 20 minutes to an hour (not too long, or the cookie dough will be difficult to scoop). 

Scoop dough into 1/2-inch balls, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then chill again 2-4 hours in the fridge or at least 30 minutes in the freezer. (Don't skip this step, or your cookies will be flat!) 

Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 8-10 minutes, until bottoms are just lightly golden brown. 

Cool slightly, then transfer to a large ziploc bag with remaining powdered sugar. Seal, and shake gently to coat.

p.s. I had the privilege of reading this book in advance, and I had this blog post planned months in advance of its February 27th release ... and then I forgot to schedule it to actually post on the release date! Oops! I'm late to the party, but hopefully the cookies will be bribe enough to forgive my lapse?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and insights through this incredible blog.