Sunday, September 14, 2014

Review - Captain Wentworth's Persuasion by Regina Jeffers

Captain Wentworth's Persuasion: Jane Austen's Classic Retold Through His Eyes
Genre:  Historical Fiction/Regency Era                 
             Retelling of Persuasion 
Paperback: 385 pgs. 
Published: March 2010
Rating 3/5 
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Readers hear Captain Wentworth’s side of this tangled story in the revelation of his thoughts and emotions. Wentworth initially suffers rejection and frustration because the titled Elliots do not consider him good enough for their daughter Anne. Despite her feelings for Wentworth, Anne allows others to persuade her to break off their engagement. Eight years later, when Wentworth returns from fighting against Napoleon’s army, the difficult years of war have reversed fortunes. Now it is he who is rich, having won many prizes in battle, while the Elliots are deeply in debt and in danger of losing their good name. Will Wentworth seek revenge by choosing another woman over his former love? Can he walk away from Anne, or will the memory of her lips and her touch capture his love once again?

It is difficult to find adaptations of Persuasion. It is not adapted as often as Pride and Prejudice. Maybe because Captain Wentworth and Anne's story isn't as easily translated to today's audiences, or because Wentworth isn't as popular as Mr. Darcy. I think the most likely reason is because there aren't as many obvious title variations available for adaptations or continuations since it has a one word title. Whatever the reason, there are far fewer books that explore my favorite Austen work and I hunt them with fervor. 

This was actually one of the first Persuasion adaptations I had heard of, but it took a while to find a copy in good condition. When I finally picked this up and started reading, I was surprised. The story is advertised as Wentworth's side of the story. I was expecting something along the lines of Amanda Grange's books (Mr. Darcy's Diary, Captain Wentworth's Diary etc.) which follow the original story closely, but through the hero's eyes. Instead Jeffers presents us with a before, during and after view of Wentworth.

My overall feeling is meh. There were moments within the book that I really enjoyed. However, I wasn't impressed with Jeffer's description of Anne and Wentworth's relationship. During the parts of the book that were set before and during Persuasion, their interactions were pretty much in character and believable.

The section of the story that was set after their marriage was not as enjoyable for me. The number one thing that bothered me was Wentworth's use of endearments for Anne. They were over used and ended up interrupting my reading so many times. If I read "sweetling" one more time I was going to throw the book across the room. Their characters are just a little off and the longer the book went on, the more it bothered me.

After the Persuasion part of the book, the story took such a weird turn too. A lot happens during this section which I think Jeffers could have made an entirely separate book. Honestly, I think it would have been more interesting to have a continuation of Persuasion for this part of the story instead of a book that tried to span so much time. The book simply goes on too long. Jeffers tries to cover too much and lost my interest. 

Happy Reading! 

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