|The City of Bath|
My Thoughts on Searching for Captain Wentworth
Jane Odiwe has been a favorite Jane Austen-inspired author of mine for some time and she earns a special distinction due to her Lydia Bennet’s Story being the first Austen sequel/prequel that I read and starting me down the road of various Austen variations. I loved Lydia Bennet’s Story, as well as her other sequels/reimaginings Mr. Darcy’s Secret and Willoughy’s Return in which she vividly brought beloved Jane’s original characters back to life. Searching for Captain Wentworth is different from Ms. Odiwe’s previous work because while it does center on one of beloved Jane’s work (this time, Persuasion), it’s a modern take with time travel back to the Regency period of Jane Austen. And oh yes, beloved Jane herself plays a very central role.
I loved how Ms. Odiwe took Jane Austen’s actual history of the time she spent in Bath and wove a wonderfully romantic tale of how Persuasion was conceived and birthed. Jane is presented here as a feisty and charming woman, a loyal sister. And yes, a writer at heart. In addition to Jane, Cassandra Austen and Charles Austen were both represented and it was a delight to have them included as both were vital in Jane’s life.
I loved our heroine, Sophie, an aspiring writer who desperately wants to follow in Jane Austen’s footsteps. She was utterly loveable and it was easy to root for her.
The set up for the story is seamless and I was entranced by both Sophie’s present day conflicts and historical issues. I adored both the modern day story as well as the story unfolding in Regency Bath. When I was reading about Regency Bath, I didn’t want it to end and by the same token, present day Bath held me captivated. I am a big fan of time travel pieces and never before have I experienced equal passion for both eras being represented. It created a torn feeling in me as I fell in love with both Charles and Josh, Charles’ present day counterpart. Both men have standout qualities, both are incredible fantasy literature men so who should Sophie choose?
Ms. Odiwe’s knowledge of artwork and art history shines through solidly in the passages with Josh at work in the museum and as someone with very limited knowledge on art and art history, I was fascinated with it. I also appreciated Ms. Odiwe’s insider knowledge of Bath. Austen fans will recognize and rejoice over the Pump Rooms, Lyme Regis and assembly rooms. The city comes alive in glorious detail and for an Austen addict and Anglophile like myself, only furthers to whet my appetite to walk in Jane Austen’s footsteps myself.
I must give Searching for Captain Wentworth my highest recommendation. Reading it was equivalent to enjoying one of Jane Austen’s own works - - romantic, clever, entertaining and ultimately satisfying. Ms. Odiwe’s affection for Jane Austen allows the reader to escape into a land in which disbelief is suspended and all things are possible and isn’t that what a good book is supposed to do?
Searching for Captain Wentworth may well be my favorite of Ms. Odiwe's novels. Every character is so real, so vivid, every scene so perfectly handled I desperately wanted to live within the pages of this achingly romantic book for more than the few short days I did.