Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
When I was invited to review this historical novel I accepted with alacrity because it fits into my favourite genre "dual time" narrative fiction so well.
When I received it I firstly admired the lovely cover. Then I wondered if I'd done the right thing agreeing to read it, when I realised just how passionate the author is about Jane Austen and her works. This book is based very firmly around Janes life and although I've enjoyed several movies based on books by Jane Austen I've never actually read any of her books and I wondered if this was going to make any sense without an in depth knowledge of her work and in particular Persuasion on which this book leans heavily for inspiration.
I needn't have worried it stands alone as a dual time romance and is a lovely flowing story. It begins in the present day when young Sophie Elliott, reeling from a broken romance, longing to be a writer, having lost her mojo somewhat is out of the blue offered the keys to an apartment in Bath and an invitation to occupy the formerly empty apartment for as long as she needs to get back on her feet. Who could resists an offer like that? When she arrives to find it full of dust from years of disuse only the fact that it is situated next door to the house where one of her favourite authors used to live makes her want to stay.
When young and handsome neighbour Josh drops a glove, Sophie picks it up intending to return it and is mysteriously transported back in time to the Regency era, where she happens to meet and befriend Jane Austen herself.
Travelling back and forth between past and present is always a difficult concept to grasp and one has to suspend disbelief somewhat, however it is done with such charm and ease I found it quite easy to accept. As present day offers her friendship with the likeable Josh, the past offers a different friendship with Jane herself and the possibility of love looms with Janes brother Charles.
Whilst Sophie investigates a secret romance she suspects existed between Jane and a mystery man, discovers a chain of coincidences linking her family history to the Austens and struggles with travelling back and forth in time taking its toll on her health.
The setting of Bath is exquisitely described and the authors knowledge of and love for Jane Austen shines through like a beacon.
I enjoyed both the modern day story and the past regressions Sophie experiences and although there are one heck of a lot of coincidences to accept, the whole story is captivating, fun, very romantic and very cleverly constructed. A delight for romance lovers and an absolute must for Austen enthusiasts.
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