Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
In her delightful and engaging Persuasion variation, accomplished Austenesque author Mary Simonsen takes up her pen and asks: What if Captain Wentworth had no memory of his previous relationship and dealings with the Elliot family when he renewed his acquaintance with them in 1814? With Captain Wentworth’s serious head injury during the Napoleonic Wars serve as her impetus, Ms. Simonsen steers the characters of Persuasion down an alternate and untraveled course; one that filled with less resentment, bitterness, and wounded pride than the original…
Since he has temporarily lost his memory, Captain Wentworth remembers neither his anger nor his love for Anne Elliot. But Anne does, she vividly recalls their falling in love, their blissful plans for the future, her breaking of his heart, and Frederick’s bitter adieu. And now she is in the difficult position of having to conceal it all or else she will destroy the amicable friendship they have established.
Frederick finds himself drawn to Anne’s kind nature, agreeable company, and steady character. And it seems he has started to think about his future… How long will Anne be able to keep up this charade? Is she risking her heart for a taste of happiness? Will Frederick forgive her?
I dearly loved reading this variation novella for Persuasion! Don’t get me wrong, I adore Pride and Prejudice variations…but Jane Austen did write some other brilliant novels! My favorite aspect about this novella (and every novel I’ve read by Mary Simonsen) is her accurate renderings and illustrative augmentations of Jane Austen’s characters. I adored Ms. Simonsen’s depiction of Anne, she was so patient and compassionate, and I enjoyed seeing her tender nature with Frederick. In addition, Ms. Simonsen’s Frederick had me bursting out with laughter with his bluntness and overly candid conversations! Not only was Captain Wentworth’s memory effected by his injury, but it seems his social skills were too. Lastly, I was so elated to see Sophia Croft and Mrs. Jane Harville, two of the most sensible and admirable women in Persuasion, receive more attention and bigger parts in this plot!
My one quibble for this novella is that I wish there was a tad more resolution – truth be told, I would have loved fifty more pages! Nonetheless, I found Captain Wentworth Home from the Sea to be an originative, spirited, and well-crafted variation of Persuasion. I can only hope this is the first of many! Please, Ms. Simonsen, write some more!
Note: Due to some slightly intimate scenes (very brief and mild), I would recommend this novella for Mature Audiences.
Novels by Mary Simonsen reviewed on Austenesque Reviews: