Book Review: Searching For Captain Wentworth By Jane Odiwe

   It’s no secret I love Jane Austen. I began to read her books at a very young age. Pride and Prejudice was my first. I developed a relationship with Lizzie Bennet almost immediately – I think every young girl did. I identified with her- out of the box but within the realm of what is accepted – thinking. She was like Jo March – in Little Women – whom I also loved. Then, there was  Darcy. The perfect and um, not so perfect man, for her. Many years later, as I watched not one but two versions of Pride and Prejudice, a very young Colin Firth, took my breath way. I had imagined Darcy one way, and here he was, changing that whole image. Er, well, you all know how I feel about Colin Firth. Lest you forget, however, there will be no other who will portray Darcy quite like our Mr Firth. Just my humble opinion. Moving along, there is a point somewhere to this preamble of course.

Persuasion became my obsession in my twenties. It surpassed Pride and Prejudice for I felt that Jane Austen left quite a bit of herself in the story, particularly because it was her last novel. I imagine she did so with all her books. Yet, I feel that Persuasion has a bit more pulse beneath its words. Captain Wentworth would never be Darcy, but he was always right there. With no film to truly satisfy the extension of my love for the book, I went on for many years, reading and re-reading it. Then, Rupert Penry Jones and Sally Hawkins came along in 2007 with a version of the film I loved. I must confess… a part of me has always wanted Jane’s stories to go on, but who would write more? No one could ever match up to her, no matter how hard they tried. I’m not sure If I’m a true ‘Jane-ite,’ I like to think I am. I do however like to search for authors who have written books on Jane Austen or her characters. On one such search, I found Jane Odiwe’s ‘Searching For Captain Wentworth.’

This particular story is sweet, light, slightly predictable at the end, but clearly written out of love for Jane Austen and who can resist that? I love the premise of traveling back from modern-day Bath, to regency era Bath. Who doesn’t want a glimpse of how simple and elegant life was back then? who doesn’t want to see what Austen saw? she seemed to have a sixth sense of the workings of the human heart, and of love. Who could resist the chance to meet Jane Austen herself? It is this concept that drew me to the story. I often wonder what it would be like to travel back in time…Sadly, the lack of good plumbing, body odor and dental floss would make me return to my time after about a day, I would think.  Reading about it, however, is altogether a different thing.

We meet Sophie Elliot when she is in desperate need to get away from all her memories in London.  Her heart is broken, she is not herself and her writing has hit a wall. Sophie hails from a family of strong, opinionated Elliot women. Sophia, her ancestor, is one of three sisters with a self-centered and pretentious father, Sound familiar? it is, the author is drawing parallels to Anne Elliot( in Persuasion) and her family. But, Odiwe adds her own little twist to the story which is slightly more intriguing.  When Sophie receives the keys to her family home in Bath, she discovers the home is perched right next door to Jane Austen’s own home.  Along with it, she finds a handsome neighbor, an old white glove, a tiny box with a portrait and hears gentle whispers and light as a feather, pitter patter on her wooden floors. She is constantly but comfortingly alerted to the fact that she is watched by her ancestors.  Sophia Elliot is closest to Sophie’s heart, naturally. She travels back in time via the glove and inhabits Sophia’s body. It isn’t the usual, strange, modern-day girl going back in modern-day clothing, sort of tale. The time travel aspect is written-in seamlessly, it doesn’t alter much of the story because there is a magical element to it. We are meeting Jane Austen after all. Sophie is transported to the house next door, in regency garb and as Sophia, she finds and befriends Jane Austen, her sister Cassandra and Jane’s interesting brother Charles Austen, all at the same time. It is a delightful, yet captivating glimpse into Jane Austen’s life. It left me wondering if Jane’s true love could have swept her off her feet and how it is that Jane was never bitter about her circumstances?  Instead, she chose to write about love, and enduring love at that. She chose to laugh at society, perhaps the same society that did her wrong through expectations of propriety and perfectly ridiculous rules. This lovely story by Jane Odiwe  serves as a reminder of Austen’s ability to introduce characters that were timeless, strong, sometimes willful, independent and genuine. It is a nice change from books that try to re-capture Austen’s legacy.

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8 thoughts on “Book Review: Searching For Captain Wentworth By Jane Odiwe

  1. Goof lord woman how precious you are and how you have the ability to be so descriptive. I would ramble (pardon the pun) on. Good luck with the book from Hong Kong btw 🙂 Get your name out there girl you would do marvellously well having this as your occupation! xxx

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    • Oh Mumsy, many thousands of hugs coming your way. You are so lovely and complimentary. I just appreciate your encouragement and sweetness. Thank you!!!!
      My wish for this year is to move forward in this area and hope many more authors find me, so I can enjoy my passion and maybe get paid for it 😉 If I am lucky…
      xoxo

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  2. MM, this sounds delightfully delicious. I so love Jane Austen, too. My favorite still being Pride and Prejudice.

    Frankly, I enjoy most British period pieces and am a big fan of watching them on Masterpiece. My daughter’s been home and this week we watched both seasons of The Forsyte Saga. Just finished last night. I’d seen it before but she didn’t. We both loved it so. Other favorites include Little Dorrit and Tess of d’Urbervilles. Hard to find engrossing stories like those.

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    • I don’t know what I would do without Masterpiece, Monica. How lovely that you and your daughter can enjoy it together. I can’t wait for my girls to get there. Little Dorrit is fabulous isn’t it? so well done. Give me a British period drama any day. I will never be able to resist. Have you ever seen a series by the name of Larkrise to Candleford? I think I got the name right.
      Pride and Prejudice will always be my favorite Austen novel, Persuasion and Emma a close second. I have even more feeling for P&P now that Colin has spoilt me for all others who will follow him in the role of Darcy. No one can match up, yet 🙂

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    • Jane, I’m so glad you liked my review. Thank you. It was a gem of a book. I can’t get enough of Jane Austen. I will be reading all your books. The titles alone have drawn me in.

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  3. Oh, wow. You got Ms. Odiwe herself thanking you! How can she not? This is another one of your wonderfully-worded (and very *persuasive*) book reviews that make me want to buy another book again, darn it. 😀
    So I just did, it’s now downloaded to my Kindle. (‘Mr. Darcy’s Secret’ looks pretty interesting, too.)
    Anyway, as for the film version, I have the one with Amanda Root / Ciaran Hinds. Have you seen it? I didn’t like it at first but for some reason, it grew on me by the second viewing. Ciaran Hinds was kinda sexy there, heh, and the storyline was faithful enough to the novel.

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    • Oh Tita, you got it? I am so glad you did. It is such a cute book and who doesn’t want Jane Austen to go on and on, also you get to meet her. I am just about to order Mr Darcy’s Secret – yay! I was so surprised when Jane Odiwe said such a lovely thing about my review. You know I live for books and reviewing them is part of the fun. I wish someone would pay me to do it 🙂
      I’ve never seen the Amanda Root/Ciaran Hinds version. The one I have mentioned is quite romantic, I love the kiss at the end… I am so cheesy 🙂 🙂 Rupert Penry Jones has the most amazing blue eyes.

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