PERSONAL: Born in Hertfordshire, England; married.
ADDRESSES: Home—North London, England. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Avon Books, 10 East 53rd St., 7th Floor, New York, NY 10022.
CAREER: Novelist. Former journalist and deputy editor of Woman's Weekly.
Persuading Annie, Piatkus (London, England), 2001.
Pride, Prejudice, and Jasmin Field, Avon (New York, NY), 2001.
The Nanny, Avon (New York, NY), 2003.
The Waitress, Avon (New York, NY), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Melissa Nathan is a devoted fan of English Regency novelist Jane Austen, author of such well-known works as Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. In fact, several of Nathan's works are contemporary updates on Austen's novels. Persuading Annie, an update of Austen's Persuasion, follows Annie Markham from being a nineteen year old who loses her beloved boyfriend Jake after a pregnancy scare through seven years to the time when Annie and Jake's paths cross once again. Neither character has forgiven the other for the heartbreaking end of their relationship, but lingering romantic feelings complicate matters.
Patty Engelmann, reviewing Persuading Annie for Booklist, wrote that "fun and interesting multidimensional characters populate this very charming story," while Allreaders.com reviewer Harriet Klausner deemed Nathan's "fine contemporary chick lit romance" is "a wonderful tribute to Ms. Austen." In a review for the Heartstrings Reviews Web site, Cheryl Jeffries remarked: "A lively ensemble piece, the storyline is subtly farcical and has a very eccentric cast of characters whose quirks readers will grow to tolerate, and perhaps even appreciate, as the plot progresses."
Pride, Prejudice, and Jasmin Field is also based on an Austen novel. The protagonist is Jasmin Field, a magazine columnist who wins the lead role in a charity stage dramatization of Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The private lives of the various cast members soon begin to parallel those of Austen's characters. Booklist reviewer Patty Engelmann called Nathan's story "a modern and witty retelling of Pride and Prejudice…. Nathan succeeds admirably in paying homage to a classic with her delightful tale."
The Nanny tells the story of twentysomething Jo Green, a small-town English girl who leaves behind a monotonous life and a safe yet boring boyfriend to go to London and become a nanny. She is soon faced with balancing the care of her three charges with navigating the parents' dysfunctional marriage and a potential love interest that comes to live with the family. In a review for Bookreporter.com, Maggie Harding commented that The Nanny is "totally engaging; especially welcome is the author's delightful way with words and her easy knack for humor." Clarissa Cruz wrote in Entertainment Weekly that the "laugh-out-loud prose balances the twisty plot," while Heartstrings Reviews online critic Jeffries dubbed the novel "a lively, entertaining read."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2001, Patty Engelmann, review of Pride, Prejudice, and Jasmin Field, p. 1668; July, 2004, Patty Engelmann, review of Persuading Annie, p. 1827.
Entertainment Weekly, September 26, 2003, Clarissa Cruz, review of The Nanny, p. 98.
Allreaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (April 18, 2005), Harriet Klausner, review of Persuading Annie.
BookReporter.com, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (April 18, 2005), Maggie Harding, review of The Nanny.
Heartstrings Reviews Web site, http://romanticfiction.tripod.com/ (April 18, 2005), Cheryl Jeffries, reviews of The Nanny and Persuading Annie.