Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Reviews!

I've just found a couple of lovely reviews for Searching for Captain Wentworth. It always gladdens an author's heart to find her books are read and enjoyed!

From Leatherbound Reviews, Jakki Leatherberry writes:


It is often expressed that Jane Austen was quite the observer of human nature and folly, and her characters are portrayals of people she has met or observed. What if her fodder for Persuasion came from her neighbors while living in Bath as well as her own relationships? It is not uncommon for authors to leave parts of themselves in their novels. In Searching for Captain Wentworth, Jane Odiwe give readers a glimpse into Austen’s life that makes one wonder if these similarities are snapshots of the real Jane. Were Anne Elliot’s despondent feelings regarding leaving Kellynch Hall a sketch of Austen’s feeling upon having to give up Steventon? Was Captain Wentworth inspired by Jane’s love that got away? Embark on a journey highlighting a uniquely told love story connecting two eras.

After receiving an antique rosewood box and a key to her family place in Bath from her Great Aunt Elizabeth, and with nothing holding her back, Sophie Elliot decides to take a holiday. She can think of no better place for an Austen lover to begin writing her first novel than living next door to where Jane and Cassandra Austen resided.

Upon arriving at Sydney Place, Sophie feels as if she is in a time warp. The flat bespeaks a much simpler time with its cheval mirrors, heavy, damask curtains, gilt candlesticks, and a dressing table draped with muslin and ribbon. Between the Regency feel of the flat and the white kid glove, reminiscent of Captain Wentworth, that was dropped by her mysterious neighbor Josh Strafford, Sophie decides it’s time to seek the adventure her ancestors are calling her to embrace.

On this journey, Sophie treasures her friendship with the Miss Austens, and struggles with Society’s strictures that stifle women’s independence. In the end, Sophie finds herself torn between her feelings for Lieutenant Charles Austen, Jane’s younger brother, and those for her neighbor, Josh Strafford. Can one truly be in love with two different people from two different centuries? Will Sophie findher Captain Wentworth?

I am always a little skeptical at the outset of reading a time-travel novel. My mind is filled with questions: How is the author going to deliver on the premise? Is it going to be well executed and believable or far-fetched, prohibiting my disbelief from being suspended? Ms. Odiwe seamlessly melds together the two periods. Whether the descriptions were Regency or present-day Bath, I was easily transported to those scenes alongside Sophie. I quite love it when a novel takes me places I dream of visiting free of charge.

Searching for Captain Wentworth is an enchanting novel that gives readers a glimpse of what Jane Austen’s life possibly was like, Regency Bath and the hope that maybe our very own Captain Wentworth is out there somewhere if we just embrace the journey to find him. With so much to offer, Searching for Captain Wentworth is sure to capture the heart of any Janeite, Captain Wentworth fangirl, or anglophile. 

And from Meditating Mummy:


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.

2 comments:

Jakki Leatherberry said...

Thanks for posting my review here, Jane! :) Searching for Captain Wentworth was such a pleasure to read!
Have a wonderful weekend!! =)

Jane Odiwe said...

Thank you Jakki, I LOVE your review!