Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
If you haven’t already heard, Jane Odiwe has written three sensational time-slip novels about Jane Austen, the people in her life, and her writing:
In Searching for Captain Wentworth, readers travel back to 1802 to learn more about Jane Austen’s “silent” Bath years and perhaps fall in love with one of her brothers!
In Project Darcy, Ms. Odiwe takes readers to Steventon in 1796, where readers encounter Tom Lefroy and observe a beautifully plausible romance!
And in her latest time-slip tale, Searching for Mr. Tilney, Ms. Odiwe transports readers back to 1788-1789, where we witness both Cassandra and Jane Austen experience their first tastes of love!
NOTE: Each novel is standalone, and does not need to be read in any particular order.
Our main heroine in this tale, Caroline Heath, is a fashion student with an affinity for Jane Austen. And her story begins in the winter of 1975, when she travels to Bath with family friends and finds an old journal that she concludes must have belonged to Jane Austen! The journal dates from 1788 and tells the important events and exchanges between Jane and Cassandra and their cousins while traveling to Kent and Bath. But in addition to reading this illuminating journal, Caroline experiences moments where she feels herself transported to Jane Austen’s world and in the body of Cassandra Austen! How is this possible?!?
Combined with visits to Jane Austen’s world and reading entries from her journal, Caroline makes two other exciting discoveries while in Bath. One is that she may have found her very own Mr. Tilney in the form of Harry Tate (a charming and teasing theology student studying in Bath). And the second has to do with the history behind the Rice Portrait of Jane Austen. There are plenty of adventures befalling our young heroine in this tale!!
Travels, time-slip phenomena, discoveries about Jane Austen’s life – there is so much to love about Searching for Mr. Tilney! As always, I love how Jane Odiwe thoughtfully blends history and fiction, her clever nods to Jane Austen novels (particularly Northanger Abbey), and how her narration is infused with such descriptive and expressive language. Ms. Odiwe’s artistic eye comes into play often as many scenes, characters, rooms, etc. are described with such tangible and vibrant detail. I just love all the visuals that continuously pop in my head while reading! One of the aspects I loved most about this story was the unique focus on Cassandra Austen and an earlier time period of Jane Austen’s life. It was fun to explore Cassandra’s love life and see Jane’s first feelings on love and marriage!
Another element I adored were the multiple, distinctive story-lines that effortless entwined with one another. Instead of one heroine, it felt as if there were three. I found Cassandra’s story to be the most riveting and would look forward to when chapters would switch to her! But I also greatly enjoyed sweet Caroline – she is such a kind and gentle soul (very Jane Bennet!), and I loved her developing romance with Harry (and all his intense and impassioned looks! *sigh*). Though part of me wishes we heard a little more from the heroes at the end. Some of their actions were a little distant and changeable. And since we don’t spend any time in their heads, some things didn’t feel as satisfyingly resolved. But with three lovely heroines to follow and emotionally develop, perhaps there wasn’t enough page time to explore more with the heroes.
Searching for Mr. Tilney is a thoroughly diverting journey to Bath filled with fantasy, romance, and intriguing discoveries about Jane Austen! I’m so thankful Jane Odiwe has penned another whimsical and imaginative adventure for us to enjoy! A perfect choice for Janeites!!