Guest review by Kimberly Denny-Ryder of Reflections of a Book Addict
There are few readers of Jane Austen’s Persuasion who have finished the novel and not been more than a little in love with the dashing Captain Frederick Wentworth. His famous “you pierce my soul” letter to heroine Anne Elliot is one of the most moving love letters in literary history. Happily, author Regina Jeffers has given his fans another opportunity to relive the story in Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion. Entirely retold through his eyes via flashbacks and expanded sequences in the present, we are offered the same classic love story, but from an entirely new perspective.
Frederick Wentworth and Anne Elliot were engaged once upon a time. Anne was persuaded not to marry him due to his low standing in society and his lack of fortune. Being the daughter of a baronet she was expected to marry someone of good fortune and high social standing. Eight years later their paths cross again, but with reversed financial circumstances. He is now a wealthy Captain returned from the war, and the Elliot family is so far in debt they must retrench and rent out their family estate of Kellynch Hall to Frederick’s sister Sophy and her husband Admiral Croft. When Frederick and Anne are reunited, they must discover if they still love each other, or if they are lost to each other forever.
“I created a quagmire. When I first went to Uppercross, I purposely entertained the attention of Miss Musgrove. I needed Anne to see how others wanted me, even though she did not. I played games for which I now must pay. Lately, I decided I still wanted Anne, but I knew I had to distance myself from Louisa Musgrove, before I could plead my case with Miss Anne.”
With Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion, the entire story is infused with new life due to the strong characterizations that Ms. Jeffers writes. In the original Persuasion you know that Frederick stayed with his brother for a period of time that is not discussed in the novel. In Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion Jeffers creates the whole time period of their stay, essentially writing the character of Frederick’s brother Edward. She created a rich relationship that unlocked another portion of Frederick which was previously undiscovered.
My biggest disappointment in the novel was what Ms. Jeffers did to the character of Louisa Musgrove. She made her out to be a grudging, jealous, and immature character that just did not seem to fit with the character Austen originally created. Austen had Louisa become engaged to Captain Benwick due to a change in her personality from her fall at the Cobb at Lyme. In Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion I saw no change from the frivolous girl she was prior to her serious injury and recovery.
I absolutely loved this novel. Most Jane Austen inspired retellings that I’ve read just give the same story that Austen wrote without much of the author’s own creativity. Ms. Jeffers takes Austen’s story and gives it back to the reader in a new way, taking the events we know to have happened, but expanding on them. She takes what happens after the wedding and tells their past, present and future all at the same time. It made the book fly by. I was done with it before I even realized it.
Previously published in 2009 as Wayward Love: Captain Wentworth’s Story, I highly recommend this book to any Persuasion fan. I can safely say that you will not be disappointed with it. The scenes and events that Ms. Jeffers creates for the unwritten scenes in Persuasion really do shed new light on the characters that we know and love.
5 out of 5 Regency Stars
Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion: Jane Austen’s Classic Retold Through His Eyes, by Regina Jeffers
Ulysses Press (2010)
Trade paperback (236) pages
© 2007 – 2010 Kimberly Denny-Ryder Austenprose