The premise of the book is that it is the story of Jane Austen’s Persuasion told from Captain Wentworth’s point of view. It starts eight years before Persuasion, and takes us back to when the Wentworth first meets and falls in love with Anne Eliot, before picking up again when Wentworth returns from his naval duties in the Napoleonic Wars to find his sister and her husband have rented Kellynch Hall from Anne’s father, and the couple meet again.
Although I have set myself a challenge to read some of the contemporary novelists that have been inspired by Austen, I have to admit, I never expected to find any that would captivate me as much as this. I loved that in addition to reading the story from a fresh pair of eyes, it was delightful to have such a convincing episode covering the period when Anne and Frederick first fall in love and how their engagement faltered.
The author makes a very clever decision to write in the form of a diary, which allows her to write in the first person and therefore makes a distinction between Austen’s style and her own interpretation. I think she captures the period wonderfully, and really grasps the essence of Persuasion while giving an alternate view of the whole story.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book from start to finish, and I will definitely be reading more of her books, and there is one for each of the male heroes in Jane Austen’s novels, and even one for the villain in Pride and Prejudice!