Persuasion Like You Never Read it Before
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Author Susan Kaye makes a wonderful contribution to the plethora of Jane Austen sequels and fan-fiction with her series “Frederick Wentworth, Captain.” This series recounts the poignant and moving tale of Persuasion through the eyes of Captain Frederick Wentworth. In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, the reader is introduced to Captain Wentworth, a naval officer who eight years prior had no wealth or prospects to recommend himself to the illustrious and status-obsessed Elliot family. He is depicted as unforgiving and bitter, as well as honorable, romantic, and constant. He is one of Jane Austen’s most desirable and popular heroes. Ms. Kaye successfully fleshes out the character of Captain Wentworth and reverently creates a story full of hope and romance.
The first book in this series, None But You, opens with Captain Wentworth aboard his ship, the Laconia. The year is1814 and with the Napoleonic Wars coming to an end, Captain Wentworth is waiting to be discharged. Although part of him desires to remain in command of a ship and crew, he accepts his fate and anticipates devoting his months off to visiting his sister and brother. But before he joins Admiral and Mrs. Croft at Kellynch Hall, Captain Wentworth has the undesirable task of informing the recently promoted Captain Benwick of some very unfortunate news…
When he finally does arrive at Kellynch Hall, Captain Wentworth is introduced the to the lighthearted and spirited Louisa and Henrietta Musgrove, who are equally enthralled with him and as they are his profession. Wentworth finds both girls attractive and entertaining and there is much speculation of whether he will settle down and marry one of them. Did Captain Wentworth have serious intentions of marriage regarding the Misses Musgroves, or was his wounded pride taking pleasure in their flattery and preference?
In addition to spending time with the Musgroves and the Crofts, Captain Wentworth frequents the Harville’s residence in Lyme. The Harvilles are forced to live on half-pay because of Captain Harville’s injury and they are struggling to make ends meet. Captain Wentworth may not envy Captain Harville’s injury and lack of wealth, but he does envy that Harville has a caring and compassionate wife. He is inspired by the warmth, understanding, and companionship he observes in the Harvilles’ marriage.
In None But You Ms. Kaye effectively completes and develops the character and personality of Captain Wentworth. The flashbacks in the novel provide details about Wentworth’s childhood, parents, and courtship with Anne in the summer of 1806. I took great pleasure in reading this enlightening tale of Captain Frederick, it was refreshing to read about Frederick Wentworth instead of Mr. Darcy for a change (not that I don’t love Mr. Darcy!) I have read Amanda Grange’s Captain Wentworth’s Diary and while I enjoyed that story very much, of the two Ms. Kaye’s story embodies a more mature style and creative approach.
I loved Susan Kaye’s embellishments and attention to detail. I look forward to reading the second book in this series For You Alone (Frederick Wentworth, Captain; Book 2) and any others she may publish in the future. Potential readers should be made aware that the first book in this series None But You ends with the trip to Lyme and Louisa’s terrible fall. It is necessary to read both books in this series in order to conclude the parallel with Persuasion.