James Marshall and Laurel Elliot are out of sync.
After a whirlwind summer romance during their youth, he is ready to zoom ahead to Happily Ever After, but she is persuaded, by family pressures and her own doubts and uncertainties, to remain behind. Years later, Laurel has carved out a quiet, self-sufficient existence in the Appalachian foothills of Kentucky, while James has taken a more illustrious road, filled with extraordinary accomplishments and success neither of them could have imagined.
Now, their paths cross once again, but it appears both have moved on with their lives. Could a spark from the past still ignite between them? Can they find their way back to each other or has too much time passed? Will their timing ever be right for a happy ending?
Find Wonder in All Things is a new modern romance from award-winning author Karen M. Cox, inspired by the classic Jane Austen story, Persuasion.
Available in print, and Kindle versions. Find Wonder in All Things received the gold medal award for Romance at the 2012 Independent Publishers Book Awards…
…and was recognized as a Finalist in the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards – Romance Category.
About the Story:
The creation of Find Wonder in All Things really began on a beautiful, summer morning. I was in the middle of re-reading Persuasion and mulling over the idea of writing a 20th century variation of my second favorite Jane Austen novel. My husband and I were out on our back deck, and I was pontificating about Wentworth and Anne’s story. I can’t remember for sure who asked whom, but one of us said, ‘You know, you and I married young, but what would have happened if we had broken up?’ What followed was a lively “What-if?” discussion that had us smiling, remembering and speculating.
Fast forward to October 2010, when my son asked me if I was going to do NaNoWriMo (the ‘write a novel in a month’ challenge from the Office of Letters and Light.) The Persuasion -based plot was still in my brain, and with it, the conversation I’d had with my husband. I was sitting in my kitchen, trying to conjure up a modern-day Anne Eliot – and she began to appear out of the mist of my mind’s eye: tall, slender, reserved and … sporting a head full of striking red hair! I asked her name, and she looked down, sort of embarrassed, and said, “Laurel – Mountain Laurel, actually. My dad named me after a wild flower.”
“Really?” I said, giggling to myself. “I can just imagine what he’s like.”
And I was off.
I wrote a character sketch of her, and of James Marshall (the Wentworth counterpart), and I drafted an outline of possible events in preparation for the NaNoWriMo challenge. On November 1st I began writing, and by the end of the month, I had 50k words. That novel, after adding another 28k words and many, many edits eventually became FWIAT.
From the first time I read it almost 20 years ago, I loved Persuasion. It is my second favorite Jane Austen book, right behind Pride & Prejudice. In many ways, I think it is an even deeper and more meaningful story, but a part of me has always believed this tale started in the middle. The book begins with these descriptions of Anne Eliot as a plain, ‘over the hill’, spinster (at age 27 – which boggles my 21st century mind!) that has lost her bloom, although she was quite pretty ‘in her day’, had a pleasing personality, etc.
What did Wentworth see in her? I mean really – there must have been something about her that attracted a brash young man, hellbent on making a name for himself. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have fallen in love with her in the first place, and he wouldn’t have fallen for her again eight years later. Along those same lines – What made him come back to Somerset? And what happened to him during those eight years they spent apart?
Find Wonder in All Things is my take on Wentworth and Anne from the beginning of their history together and through the Persuasion story arc. It’s set in the late 20th century, and trust me, it was not always easy to translate Anne Eliot into a modern setting and still have some respect for her. At several points, I just wanted to thump her on the head!
As I worked through Persuasion once again to prepare for writing FWIAT, I saw masterful character development that I missed before. Such is the genius of Jane Austen. Her characters’ growth and the optimism she conveyed reinforced my belief that, with time and patience, we will see how the people and events in our lives worked together to make us who we are, and that it’s never too late for a new start.
Because James was a musician, music was important to me when I wrote Find Wonder in All Things. I made myself a playlist of various genres of music: rock, country, popular, alternative, classical, classic rock – to inspire me while I wrote. I was trying to get inside James’ head a bit, I think it was somewhere around Chapter 9, so I sat down at the piano (which I play a little and very ill) and noodled out the Mountain Laurel Theme.