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Searching for Mr Tilney

Searching for Mr. Tilney is a compelling combination of a retelling of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey and a time travel novel. In 1975, fashion design student Caroline Heath goes to Bath to recover from an illness. She stays in a Georgian house that had once belonged to relatives of Jane Austen. Soon she meets Harry Tate, a young man who bears a close resemblance to Henry Tilney, hero of Northanger Abbey, Caroline’s favorite novel. She believes she might have found the man of her dreams, but complications ensue. Caroline discovers the teenage diary of Jane Austen and is increasingly drawn to it. Eventually she finds herself inhabiting the body of Jane’s sister, Cassandra. Caroline, both in her experiences as Cassandra Austen and back in her own time, reading Jane’s diary, learns of the Austen sisters’ lives in 1788-89, while they stay with their relatives in Kent and, later, in Bath. Cassandra falls in love with Tom Fowle, a penniless clergyman, but her mother wishes her to marry her wealthy cousin Lucius. Meanwhile, Jane feels the first stirrings of love for Lucius’s younger brother Thomas.
Jane Odiwe’s love for Austen shines through on every page. The novel is a treat for Austen fans, especially lovers of Northanger Abbey, as Caroline’s romance with Harry parallels that of Catherine Morland and Henry Tilney, complete with a spooky old castle. The reader learns details about Jane Austen’s early life that are not widely known, and Odiwe makes a strong argument that the so-called Rice Portrait of Jane Austen actually does represent the teenage Austen. In the diary, we learn how the portrait came to be painted, and Odiwe speculates on what happened to it later on. Odiwe keeps you turning the pages, both in Caroline’s story and in that of the Austen sisters. Historical Novel Society

Our main heroine in this tale, Caroline Heath, is a fashion student with an affinity for Jane Austen. And her story begins in the winter of 1975, when she travels to Bath with family friends and finds an old journal that she concludes must have belonged to Jane Austen! The journal dates from 1788 and tells the important events and exchanges between Jane and Cassandra and their cousins while traveling to Kent and Bath. But in addition to reading this illuminating journal, Caroline experiences moments where she feels herself transported to Jane Austen’s world and in the body of Cassandra Austen! How is this possible?!?
Combined with visits to Jane Austen’s world and reading entries from her journal, Caroline makes two other exciting discoveries while in Bath. One is that she may have found her very own Mr. Tilney in the form of Harry Tate (a charming and teasing theology student studying in Bath). And the second has to do with the history behind the Rice Portrait of Jane Austen. There are plenty of adventures befalling our young heroine in this tale!!
Travels, time-slip phenomena, discoveries about Jane Austen’s life – there is so much to love about Searching for Mr. Tilney! As always, I love how Jane Odiwe thoughtfully blends history and fiction, her clever nods to Jane Austen novels (particularly Northanger Abbey), and how her narration is infused with such descriptive and expressive language. Ms. Odiwe’s artistic eye comes into play often as many scenes, characters, rooms, etc. are described with such tangible and vibrant detail. I just love all the visuals that continuously pop in my head while reading! One of the aspects I loved most about this story was the unique focus on Cassandra Austen and an earlier time period of Jane Austen’s life. It was fun to explore Cassandra’s love life and see Jane’s first feelings on love and marriage!
Another element I adored were the multiple, distinctive story-lines that effortless entwined with one another. Instead of one heroine, it felt as if there were three. I found Cassandra’s story to be the most riveting and would look forward to when chapters would switch to her! But I also greatly enjoyed sweet Caroline – she is such a kind and gentle soul (very Jane Bennet!), and I loved her developing romance with Harry (and all his intense and impassioned looks! *sigh*). Though part of me wishes we heard a little more from the heroes at the end. Some of their actions were a little distant and changeable. And since we don’t spend any time in their heads, some things didn’t feel as satisfyingly resolved. But with three lovely heroines to follow and emotionally develop, perhaps there wasn’t enough page time to explore more with the heroes.
Searching for Mr. Tilney is a thoroughly diverting journey to Bath filled with fantasy, romance, and intriguing discoveries about Jane Austen! I’m so thankful Jane Odiwe has penned another whimsical and imaginative adventure for us to enjoy! A perfect choice for Janeites!! - Austenesque Reviews
Time travel, Mr Tilney, and Austen--a perfect way to spend curled up with a book. Odiwe's focus on Mr Tilney and "Northanger Abbey" themes will appeal to many Austen fans. The author has great command of Austen-like style and her understanding of the times. I'm glad I found time to read this latest and can easily recommend. - Christina Boyd

Jane Austen Lives Again - Reviews

Review- Historical Novel Society

This is a thoroughly delightful read. Jane Austen re-awakens in the 1920s, 110 years after her death, and faces the new industrial world with her usual aplomb. Trains and motorised cars, along with shorter skirts, must be accepted.
In reduced circumstances, she has to work as a governess. Noting the changes in environment, manners and appearance, but never succumbing to depression or undue anxiety, Miss Austen deals with the same daily social tasks and complications that her characters did. She has young women to encourage and chasten into suitable romances – while not remaining immune herself.
The author has convincingly captured Jane Austen’s tone and personality. The 1920s come to life in the way that they affected a rural, once rich, family. The characters are true to Austen’s own novels and I am sure, were she defrosted into life for real, she would be amused and pleased to read this novel.

A review from Laura Boyle - Jane Austen Centre Online Magazine reviews

Imagine a world where Jane Austen and her favorite characters exist in a Downton Abbey atmosphere—Impossible, you say, and yet, apart from the passage of years, they are all gentlemen and gentlemen’s daughters, as Elizabeth Bennet so succinctly puts it. In Jane Odiwe’s latest novel, Jane Austen Lives Again, our favorite author does not die at 42 in Winchester, but is kept, somehow in stasis, until Dr. Lyford can not only cure her last lingering illness, but revive her again in the prime of her life. The scientific details are not spelled out, and honestly, it doesn’t matter, as Ms. Odiwe’s book will captivate you from the first. Finally we are able to see Jane “live again” sans vampires and magic, and enjoy her introduction to modern life in the 1920’s. 
Ms. Odiwe is unabashedly nostalgic about paying tribute to her favorite novels and stories of the period, from Cold Comfort Farm and I Capture the Castle, to Downton Abbey, all the while painting a lovely, if complicated plot involving recognizable characters from Austen’s own novels. A “novel” concept, indeed! 
The story begins with Jane awaking in a new century, shortly after the close of the Great War, her recovery is glossed over, but her shock at having become a “famous” novelist is of course delightful. Unfortunately, the copyrights have expired and who would believe the truth, anyway. She is forced to take a position as companion to five young ladies living at Manberley Castle (shades of Rebecca, anyone?) a rather decrepit country estate in Devon. Her surprise at finding grown women rather than the children she was expecting is soon overcome by her realization that the entire family could use some help in realizing their full potential. In true Flora Poste style, she sets out, with just the right nudge here and opportune word there, to bring the family into some semblance of decorum. 
Populating the castle, are Lord and Lady Milton, Lord Milton’s oldest children, Alice (a winning combination of Elinor Dashwood and Anne Elliot), Will (could there be any doubt?) and Mae (the personification of Marianne Dashwood with just a hint of Lousia Musgrove) along with three more daughters from his second marriage, Beth (Elizabeth Bennet), Emily (Emma Woodhouse) and Cora (Jane Bennet). The rest of the neighborhood is peopled with various other characters recognizable from Jane Austen’s novels while the downstairs staff has a distinct propensity towards Downton. 
Throughout the novel, Jane takes her young charges in hand managing their personal trials and love lives with an author’s deftness, all the while failing to take into consideration the love story happening in her own life. Her own difficulties in finding her place in this brave new world, in making room for her writing and in giving her heart a second chance can only be all-absorbing to the reader with the same literary taste as Ms. Odiwe. 
Throughout the novel you will find delightful surprises and references to Austen’s works as well as the others listed. Julius’ home, Salcombe Magna is just such a one and gives a glimpse of who he is and what is in store for Mae (but is he truly as wicked as Willoughby, or only a selfish Frank Churchill?) So many characters are given facets of others that it will keep you guessing to the very end—and who could ever complain about a novel with two Mr. Darcys!
Fleshing out the novel are delightful descriptions of castle life, walks about the countryside, trips to the seaside and even a climactic scene in a London nightclub, so reminiscent of Lady Rose MacClare’s Jazz club adventures in Downton Abbey. In fact, the pervasive popularity of that show is a wonderful thing for the reader trying to picture just how life might have played out, upstairs and down, and how the vividly detailed gowns and ensembles would have looked. Jane is, as she ever was, pleased to be looking fashionable once again. A treat to the imaginative reader, the novel also provides ample scenes from Austen’s previous life, introducing her family to us as well as providing a plausible backstory for her turquoise “engagement” ring. Later rings feature towards the end of the book, including a suspiciously familiar sapphire and diamond (could any proposal be more perfect?) 

All in all, Jane Austen Lives Again will be a treasured addition to any sequels library. The winning combination of old and new will have you guessing to the very end just what is in store for our heroines (of which there are many). The final scene, in the hall, decorating the Christmas tree strikes just the right note of closure, though one could wish the book to go on forever—would a sequel even be possible? I, for one, certainly think so, and would be glad to spend more hours in such amiable company. Kudos again to Ms. Odiwe for continually testing her creative limits, bringing Jane Austen to life (again) in such a fresh and imaginative way.

A review from Joceline Bury at Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine

Travelling to Devonshire aboard a steam train, Jane Austen remarks to her companion and physician: ‘Dr Lyford, if I can survive embalming, the subsequent resurrection and the effects of transdifferentiation, I will live to tell the tale …’

So begins Jane Odiwe’s ‘fairy story for grown-ups’, in which Austen is brought back from the dead - scientifically, rather than miraculously - and transported to the west of England in 1925. Penniless (her royalties don’t go far in the Jazz Age) and - naturally - alone, she takes the traditional route for single women of no fortune and becomes governess to a clutch of sparky girls in a romantically crumbling castle by the sea.

She finds the bohemian Milton family quite enchanting, and is sure that she can bring some old-fashioned order to their somewhat chaotic existence - but to her initial dismay finds herself falling for the dark-eyed, curly-haired, and handsome son of the house. What follows is pure romance, but with the twists of humour and intrigue that Odiwe’s readers have come to expect. This is such an enjoyable tale - Odiwe handles the 1920s setting with the same assurance that she has brought to her Regency-set novels, and her rendering of a 20th century Jane is a delight.

A review for Jane Austen Lives Again from Meredith Esparza of Austenesque Reviews.

Jane Austen is Alive in 1925!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
While suffering greatly from the disease that would take her life, Jane Austen learns that her doctor, Dr. Lyford, is conducting some pioneer studies on immortal jellyfish and transdifferentiation. In a secret attempt to cheat death, Jane and Cassandra consult with Dr. Lyford about using his knowledge to cure Jane Austen’s illness or possibly extend her life a little. The study unfortunately took a bit longer than expected, and several generations later in the year 1925,  Jane Austen is finally able to resume life among the living! (Our dream come true, right?)
In order to support herself, Jane Austen takes a position as a governess to five young girls in a crumbling estate in Devon. The only thing is, this isn’t a typical governess position, and Jane Austen’s young charges are a good deal older than expected. But our dear Jane is made of stern stuff and has courage that rises with every attempt of intimidation. Jane takes on the discordant and troubled Milton family and tries to be the friend, supporter, and guide they all need. With such a large task on her hands, Jane is fearful her time to write more novels may be in short supply. But that may be the least of her worries as an unexpected suitor comes onto the scene and tries to win her heart…
Oh my! What a sensational and supremely original story! Jane Odiwe, who we’ve seen play with time-slipping and magical phenomena before, has taken her creativity to a new level with this brilliant original tale about Jane Austen as a governess and alive in the 1920s. Not only do readers have the special treat of seeing dear Jane as a main character, but the young people in this story all bear some resemblance to characters from Jane Austen’s novels. While none of them share the same name or exactly the same personality and situations, it is quite a diversion for the reader to spot characters who remind them of Colonel Brandon, Anne Elliot, Mr. Knightley, and Elizabeth Bennet. Some characters are pretty easy to figure out, but others, especially those who might be a mix of two characters, took some time and pondering. It was quite a lovely to see so many Jane Austen personalities in one setting!
I can’t really pinpoint what I loved most about the story, because I loved it all! I loved the large cast of characters and seeing their interactions, I loved seeing Jane Austen adapt to a new time period, way of life, and job, and I loved observing how through her little ideas and nudges Jane made the lives better of all those around her. I felt that this was just like her. That it would be her way to be so instrumental and have such an impact on all those around her.
In addition, I thought Jane Odiwe executed this clever and complex premise masterfully. With so many characters to juggle, crisscrossing storylines, and the scientific breakthrough of immortal life, this story could have felt a little fantastical and overwhelming. I commend Ms. Odiwe for taking all these elements and skillfully finding a way to make them come together so harmoniously. Readers who are familiar with this author’s previous works, will know that she writes with a very artistic eye and her novels usually include lush descriptions and vibrant details. So many scenes in this book effortlessly popped into my mind – the dresses, the estates, the dances – all in vivid color and detail. Such visually stimulating prose!

With Jane Austen being alive in the 1920’s and earning her keep as a governess, Jane Austen Lives Again sometimes felt like Downton Abbey meets Mary Poppins/Sound of Music (which are some of my favorite things!)It was a wonderful blend of history, fiction, and fairy tale! Absorbing, ingenious, and immensely satisfying – you definitely don’t want to miss Jane Austen Lives Again!

Meredith Esparza - Austenesque Reviews

Jane Austen Lives Again
I'm absolutely thrilled with the fabulous reviews I'm getting for Jane Austen Lives Again - I'd like to thank Serena Augusto-Cox from Savvy, Verse and Wit, and Katie Patchell writing for Austenprose, for taking the time to review my book. Thank you also to Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose for selecting Jane Austen Lives Again for Best Austenesque Paranormal/Fantasy Novel 2015

From the desk of Serena Augusto-Cox

Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe requires readers to suspend disbelief, and those fans of Jane Austen who wish she had written more than her 6 novels will surely have no problem doing that.  Her death is averted by her physician, who has discovered the secret to immortal life with the help of the Turritopsis dohrnii in 1817.  When Austen awakens she is in 1925, just after The Great War.  Many families, included rich families, have fallen on hard times and experienced great loss as many lost sons, brothers, and husbands in the war.  Times have changed for women, and Austen is able to get work outside the home to support herself, and although her family has passed on and she’s effectively alone in the world, she pulls up her hem and gets to work as a governess to five girls at Manberley Castle near the sea in Stoke Pomeroy.
“Having lived cautiously, and under strict rules and regulations for so long, Miss Austen felt the winds of change blowing across the Devon landscape.”
Cora, Emily, Alice, Mae, and Beth are a bit more to handle than Austen expects, especially as she is a little younger than she had been before the procedure.  Upon her arrival, Austen is faced with staff who are eager to gossip, which rubs her the wrong way because she prefers to make up her own mind about people.  The heir to the castle, William Milton, is one person who keeps her on her toes, and as Austen gets caught up in the drama of others, she begins to realize that her life would be empty without the Miltons in it.
Odiwe is one of the best writers of Jane Austen-related fiction, and it shows as she weaves in Austen’s own novels into her own novel.  EmmaSense & SensibilityPride & Prejudice, and more are illustrated in a variety of situations here, and Austen is at the center of them all.  However, readers should be warned that Odiwe is not rehashing these plots point for point.  Jane Austen Lives Again by Jane Odiwe is her best novel yet, and if there were something to complain about, it would be that it could have been longer.

From the desk of Katie Patchell for Austenprose:
What would Jane Austen say and do if she lived in the 1920s instead of the late 1700s/early 1800s? Would she wear a drop-waist dress that showed her ankles and bob her auburn hair? Would she dance the Charleston or listen to Jazz music? How would she react to being called ‘baby doll’? And would being handed into the front seat of a car by a young, eligible man just as romantic as being handed into a Regency carriage? These fascinating questions and more are imaginatively answered in Jane Odiwe’s latest novel, Jane Austen Lives Again, where readers—and Jane Austen herself—are transported to the chaotic, electrifying Jazz Age.
1817: After days of sickness, Jane Austen closes her eyes on this world for the last time. Or so she thinks. When she opens them again—to her, only a few moments later—her doctor informs her that he found the secret to immortal life, and the year is…
1925: Post re-birth and after months reading modern newspapers, watching Hollywood films, and listening to Jazz music, Jane convinces Dr. Lyford that it’s time she takes her first steps to becoming an independent woman of the 20th century. A post as a governess for the five young daughters of Lord and Lady Milton seems just the thing.
I’ve never felt better. I feel as if I am about to start a new adventure, even if the thought of five little girls is a disquieting one. More than anything, I will have the time to write all the novels I thought were to be denied to me, and I will endure anything to that end.” (Chapter 1, Location 104)
On her arrival at the beautiful but crumbling Manberley Castle, Jane discovers that the adventure that awaits her is of an entirely different sort. Rather than having to take care of five young children, she’s been given the time-consuming and hectic job of being a governess to five young adult women, some a few years older than her (seemingly) 21 year old self!
But Jane has always loved a challenge, whatever the century. She soon gets swept up in the daily life of a quirky bohemian family and the romantic entanglements of five heroines—not to mention the attentions of William Milton, their irrepressibly charming, teasing, and oh-so-frustrating elder brother. Can Jane give her not-so-young charges the happy endings they deserve, even if they can’t see it themselves? Will she ever be able to find the time to pick up her pen (or typewriter) to write again? And in the midst of the Milton chaos and “modern” 1920s world, will she find love and happiness in her second chance at life?
Two major things were done in Jane Austen Lives Again that made it marvelous: Jane as the novel’s protagonist, and character similarities with Austen’s originals. Because of her supernatural awakening a century after Jane’s supposed death, she is given the chance to be the heroine of her own story. While I’ve loved other books starring Jane Austen that are set in her own time (such as Carolyn V. Murray’s beautiful 2015 debut, Jane by the Sea), getting the chance to see Jane in a different time period was a rare treat—especially in 1920s Devon, England. Transplanting her—the inimitable, fearless, sparkling Jane Austen we all know and love—to a different setting was a genius move. Odiwe skillfully kept Jane’s personality (and history through moments of back story) but enabled her to grow as a heroine.
At the same time, Jane Austen Lives Again is also a reimagining of most of the main love stories in Jane Austen’s novels. The five Milton women were reimaginings of Anne Elliot, Marianne Dashwood, Emma Woodhouse, Elizabeth Bennet, and Jane Bennet. While these main characters followed their original plotlines closely, sometimes they (and the men I thought they’d end up with) varied from their original characters or merged with others (such as the “Frank Churchill” character combining with “Willoughby”). This was handled with ease on Odiwe’s part, and kept me guessing—and highlighting my Kindle copy because of new character insights—until the final pages.
In its humor, family shenanigans, and determined heroine, Jane Austen Lives Again is reminiscent of Cold Comfort Farm, a hilarious, dazzling classic by Stella Gibbons. Yet at the same time, it stays true to Jane Austen and her novels in spirit—and still more, manages to stand apart from these as a unique novel of love, family, and laughter.
With a remarkable setting and gorgeous descriptions, memorable characters and a message of happy endings and new beginnings, Jane Austen Lives Again is a perfect read for Christmas and New Year’s.
5 out of 5 Stars

Searching for Captain Wentworth - Reviews

Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine - Joceline Bury

I love a time travel romance, especially one involving Jane Austen characters, and Jane Odiwe has pulled a great story out of the hat in her latest novel.
The writer Sophie Elliot (whose favourite novel is, unsurprisingly, Persuasion) is invited to use her great-aunt's Bath town house as a writing retreat and is delighted to find that she is living next door to where the Austen family spent some of their time during their stay in the spa city. She's initially less than delighted by what appears to be a haunting presence in the house - although that could just be the mice in the wainscot.
But past and present are set to collide when she finds that an antique glove belonging to her present-day neighbour has the power to transport her back in time to the days of the Regency.
Sophie is a beguiling heroine, and her time-slipping adventures involve historical figures alongside fictional creations to great effect.
Odiwe certainly writes a page-turning romantic mystery - her characters are intriguing and her narrative full of surprises and suspense. She blends historical fact and fiction with great style, and the settings are spot on in what the writer describes as her "love letter to Bath."

NUT Press - Kathryn Eastman

One of the fun things about being a reader today is sometimes getting the opportunity to meet a favourite author at a book event or getting to chat to them on their blog or through social networking sites. But if they’ve been dead for almost 200 years, this is sadly  - and clearly! – no longer an option. You can only imagine what such a meeting or conversation would have been like… OR you can let someone else do that for you. Someone like Jane Odiwe, for example, as she’s now done for Jane Austen admirers everywhere in the excellent Searching for Captain WentworthHere’s a little about what happens in the book:
When aspiring writer, Sophie Elliot, receives the keys to the family townhouse in Bath, it’s an invitation she can’t turn down, especially when she learns that she will be living next door to the house Jane Austen lived in. On discovering that an ancient glove belonging to her mysterious neighbour, Josh Strafford, will transport her back in time to Regency Bath, she questions her sanity, but Sophie is soon caught up in two dimensions, each reality as certain as the other. Torn between her life in the modern world, and that of her ancestor who befriends Jane Austen and her fascinating brother Charles, Sophie’s story travels two hundred years across time, and back again, to unite this modern heroine with her own Captain Wentworth. Blending fact and fiction together, the tale of Jane Austen’s own quest for happiness weaves alongside, creating a believable world of new possibilities for the inspiration behind the beloved novel, Persuasion.
The prospect of an encounter with Captain Wentworth was enough to make me want to read Searching for Captain Wentworth. (I think I might have mentioned before that Persuasion is my favourite of all Jane Austen’s novels and the passionate sea-faring Captain Wentworth my favourite hero of hers.) However, there was even more to recommend this particular book to me: it has an aspiring writer as the heroine, and not only does she get to live in Bath (one of my favourite cities, even if it wasn’t ever one of Jane Austen’s) but this is also a time slip novel. Which means that Sophie, the aspiring writer, gets to visit not one, but TWO versions of Bath, and travels back from the modern-day city to that of Jane Austen’s time. Oh, and once there, she promptly meets one of its most famous residents – Jane Austen herself! And if it that wasn’t enough there was also a hint that the book would contain some real romance between Jane Austen and the man who might have provided the inspiration for Captain Wentworth. And let’s face it, who doesn’t sometimes want the hero of a book to actually come alive or to have been a real person? So, with all of this in the mix, Searching for Captain Wentworth could have been written with me in mind as its ideal reader.
That didn’t mean that I wasn’t also a little bit anxious before opening itAfter all, not only did I have my own ideas about what Jane Austen might have been like, but I also felt the same way about her creation, Captain Frederick Wentworth, and any real-life inspiration I might meet between the pages of the book. AndPersuasion is a book I know well. Incredibly well. I re-read it every couple of years and am word-perfect on certain sections.
Happily, I needn’t have worried. Jane Odiwe is every bit as much of a Jane Austen fan as I am and ‘my’ Captain Wentworth and Jane Austen’s original novel, Persuasion, and the author herself were in safe hands and treated with the care, love and respect they deserve. I didn’t have to read much of the book before I was completely hooked and wishing I were Sophie! There are some lovely details in the book about Bath and the flat where Sophie is staying, and Jane Odiwe brings both modern-day Bath and its period relation to life extremely well. She does the same when the action takes us – as it has to for any fan of the source novel – to Lyme Regis. My only quibble, and it is a very small one, is that everything is tied up a little too neatly at the end of the book.
I would happily recommend Searching for Captain Wentworth to anyone who has read and enjoys Jane Austen’s novels, Persuasion, in particular, for obvious reasons; to anyone who enjoys playing literary detective and finding clues pointing them towards the possible inspiration behind a novel and its characters; to anyone who enjoys time slips, especially between the modern day and the Regency period; or to any reader who gets a kick out of books about other books, and books within books, and ones in which real-life people and existing characters from books play their imagined parts alongside wholly new fictional characters. Searching for Captain Wentworth is a rewarding read on each of these levels. I enjoyed it immensely and, even if it won’t be quite as often as with the source material, I know that I’ll want to re-read this again in future.

Random Jottings - Elaine Simpson-Long

Now I know that everyone loves Mr Darcy, or rather Colin Firth in THAT shirt, but my most favourite hero in Jane Austen is Captain Wentworth. I just love him, he is steadfast and true and strikes me as the kind of bloke who could get a taxi in the rain, find a perfect table at a restaurant, never forget your birthday and be able to give you a foot rub, as well as being gorgeous and brilliant at writing stunning love letters.
Sophie Elliot comes to Bath to stay in the family townhouse. She also has an ex-boyfriend who she discovered in bed with another woman, this time one of her best friends.   Yes I know you must be thinking by now that all these women are terrible pickers and yes you would be right, but as one who also had this happen to her, I tell you it comes as a shock that you could be so taken in. After the upset you feel a right idiot I can tell you.
Sophie is trying to write a book but not really getting on with it at all.  She feels there is a presence in the house and catches glimpses of young girls in muslins in the mirror and hears giggles and laughter. The Cwdiscovery of a mysterious glove which, when put on transports her back to the Bath of the time of Jane Austen, results in her meeting both Jane and Cassandra and also their brother, home from the sea on leave, Charles Austen.   She finds herself falling in love with him while back in the modern world, she is immensely attracted to her neighbour Josh, totally gorgeous and sexy.
Sophie's favourite Jane is Persuasion as is mine so I felt sympathetic to her straight away and empathised with her longing to find her Captain Wentworth.   Not giving anything away when I tell you that she does, that the past and present fuse together perfectly and all ends happily ever after.
I really loved this book and I can be a bit sniffy about books using Jane Austen characters and settings, but this is done in great style and is a delightful read.   As soon as I finished reading this I pulled down my copy of Persuasion to read once again, the wonderful letter Captain Wentworth sent to Anne Eliot:
"'I can listen no longer in pierce my soul.  I am half agony, half hope. Tell me that I am not too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever.  I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it eight and a half years ago.   Dare not say that a man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death.  I have loved none but you.............'

Laura's Reviews - Laura Gerold

Is there a literary hero that shines brighter than Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice? To me, the answer is yes – Captain Wentworth is to me the sexiest Austen hero and among my favorite literary romantic leads. Besides the fact that Captain Wentworth is a navy man that has made his fame and fortune at sea, he is also a man with strong feelings and passion. Who can forget his letter to Anne Elliot at the end of Persuasion where he admits to never forgetting her and harboring a love for her for eight years after her rejection of him? That letter is the most romantic letter in the history of literature!

In Searching for Captain Wentworth, one of my favorite Austen Authors, Jane Odiwe combines many of my favorite elements; romance, Jane Austen, Bath, time travel, and Persuasion to create a very romantic tale of love across the spans of time. Sophie Elliot is taking time in Bath to get over her cheating boyfriend and to see if she can finally write the novel she has always dreamed of writing. Her Great-aunt has given her the keys to the family’s old home in Bath to use during her stay. Part of the home has been split up for others to live in including her attractive new neighbor, Josh Strafford. 

Sophie soon discovers that through the use of a mysterious glove, she is able to travel back through time to Regency Bath and live the life of her ancestor and namesake Sophia Elliot. Sophia is friends with her neighbors, Cassandra and Jane Austen. The Austen’s brother, Charles, is on leave from the navy and Sophia soon finds herself falling in love with Charles. Will their love last and how will they make it work through space and time? You will need to read this novel to find out for yourself!

I love Odiwe’s characterizations in this novel. Jane was a lively young woman in the spirit of Elizabeth Bennet and I could easily see her writing her witty novels. Jane had a secret passion of her own, which was intriguing to read about. I loved how Sophia’s Elliot family strongly mirrored the Elliots from Persuasion with herself as Anne and Charles as Captain Wentworth. It was a great story and oh so romantic. I liked the surprise ending. I didn’t see it coming and it was the perfect ending.

Psychotic State Blog 
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.

Lori Hedgpeth

Layered Pages Blogspot

I’ve just finished a really good book that I was asked to review: Searching For Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe. I have to say, I felt very lucky to have been given the opportunity to read the book. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

The baseline of the story revolves around a young woman named Sophie Elliot who is adrift in life and in her career and hoping to restart her writing career by staying in Bath, England in the townhome owned by her family. She is fascinated with Jane Austen and when she learns that the townhome is next door do the one that the Austen's lived in when they were staying in Bath, her decision is finalized.

What follows is an interesting journey backwards and forwards through time as Sophie mysteriously passes back into time in the body of her cousin who is living next door to the Austen's and has befriended the young Austen ladies. Sophie becomes more and more entwined with the story of her cousin and her friendship with Jane and her sister – and brother, Charles.

In modern times, she befriends her neighbor, Josh Strafford, who happens to be working on an exhibit about Regency Bath, including displays on the Austen's. As Sophie bounces back and forth between time, she begins to have feelings for both Josh and Charles, which she fears will lead her to heartbreak on both fronts.

The story is cleverly woven between the past and present and quickly draws you into both times. You hope that Sophie finds love with Charles Austen in the past AND with Josh Strafford in the present. You wonder how the events in the past have shaped the current and what changes may occur based on Sophie’s actions in the past. Will she affect the future? What will happen with Charles? What does Josh feel about her? Is she just a friend or more to him?

Odiwe does an excellent job of portraying Regency England and the customs and challenges young women of that era faced. I was enchanted by her portrayal of Jane Austen as a spunky, creative young woman bound by duty and honor – and most women of that age were. I’ve visited Bath before and the descriptions she used in the book were true to my memories and took me back to the visits, wandering the streets and walking through the Pump Room.

She handles the time-travel relatively well, and I think, does a good job of portraying Sophie as someone who tries to sort out whether what is happening is a dream or if it is real – and which reality is really real?

I would most definitely suggest you read the book, even if you are not a Jane Austen fan, you’ll enjoy the story line and be enchanted by the characters.
Lois Houston
Review Team Member

Review: Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe

‘I think every woman has that within her which would set her free, if only she could act on her inner feelings and be true to herself.’

(from Searching for Captain Wentworth, page 272)
Have you ever wished you could meet a long-dead favorite author and maybe even see firsthand the people and events that inspired your favorite novel?  In Searching for Captain Wentworth, Jane Odiwe’s heroine, Sophie Elliot, gets the opportunity to meet and even befriend Jane Austen through her ancestor, Sophia.
Needing time away to mend her broken heart and determined to begin the novel she’s always wanted to write, Sophie heads to her great-aunt’s house in Bath, which has been in the family for generations.  When she observes her dashing and mysterious downstairs neighbor, Josh, drop an old glove, Sophie has good intentions of returning it to him.  But this is no ordinary glove; Sophie soon determines that it allows her to travel back to 1802 and see Regency Bath through the eyes of Sophia.
Sophie, unsure each time she travels through time when or whether she’ll return to the present day, finds life in the Elliot home unbearable at times.  Sophia’s father seems only to care about the family’s connections, and her arrogant sister, Emma, rests all her hopes on marrying Mr. Glanville and is none too happy about Sophia getting in the way.  If you love Jane Austen’s Persuasion as much as I do, you won’t have any problem identifying the similarities to Anne, Sir Walter, and Elizabeth Elliot.
The one thing that makes life tolerable for Sophie/Sophia is hanging out with the Elliot’s neighbors, the Austens, particularly the sisters Jane and Cassandra.  Sophie is a fan of Austen’s novels and getting to know the real Jane and especially learning whether or not she had a true love make the temptation of the time-traveling glove too hard for her to resist.  And of course, there is Jane’s charming brother, Charles, who is home from the Navy and touches Sophie’s heart in a way no other man ever has.  Meanwhile, in the present, Sophie and Josh navigate a flirtation that is both sweet and awkward…and complicated by the fact that Sophie can’t bring herself to give back the glove.
Given my love for Persuasion, it’s not surprising that I adored Searching for Captain Wentworth.  I certainly could understand how Sophie was torn between two worlds.  Who wouldn’t want to be friends with Jane Austen?  Odiwe’s Jane is as feisty, witty, and funny as we expect her to be.  And because Sophie is so likeable and so real, especially her desire to start a new life and get over her past disappointments in romance and her career, I couldn’t help but root for her to find happiness in whatever century she chose.
But Searching for Captain Wentworth isn’t just about time travel and romance.  Odiwe does a great job  showing what women in the Regency era had to endure, from being pushed into marriage and constantly reminded of their familial obligations to a feeling of being trapped by society and how their time was never their own.  It made me feel sorry for Sophia, who wasn’t as lucky as Sophie in being able to escape her world with a magical glove.
Odiwe makes Jane Austen come to life, and her love for Austen and her novels shines on every page.  Searching for Captain Wentworth is a believable imagining of who and what could have inspired Austen to pen Persuasion, and I was impressed by Odiwe’s ability to persuade me to believe the unbelievable.  I turned the last page thinking how much fun it would be to get my hands on that glove, even if I’d never be able to fake my way through a Regency dance despite having watched the movie adaptations of Austen’s novels countless times.  You don’t need to have read Persuasion to enjoy this novel, and since Odiwe is one of my favorite authors in the Austenesque genre, I think it’s the perfect book for a day curled up with a blanket and a hot cup of tea.

Searching for Captain Wentworth: A Review - Laura Boyle for the Jane Austen Centre
For those who love, time does not exist
Searching for Captain Wentworth is unlike any Jane Austen inspired novel I’ve ever read. I suspect it’s unlike any Jane Austen novel ever written! Part love story, part time travel fantasy, part Austen biography, it’s all about the author’s (Jane Odiwe) love for Jane Austen and the city of Bath, her ‘Fairyland’ city.
Reading it (in 24 hours! I couldn’t put it down!) was like taking a walk with friends through old, familiar places. Jane’s use of Bath (both in the present and during the Regency) and Lyme, coupled with her deft weaving of historical fact and Austen lore, Austen novels  (especiallyNorthanger AbbeySense and Sensibility andPersuasion) and films made for a book that felt like there was a cameo appearance on every page. It is truly a book written by someone who knows Austen’s life, novels and films inside out, and though any and all might enjoy the wonderful story she has crafted, for those in the “know”, Easter eggs abound, almost like the many inside jokes, shared by the Austen family, that made their way into Jane Austen’s writing.
Jane Odiwe’s descriptions of Bath, both past and present, make the city come alive, reviving happy memories for those who have visited the beautiful white limestone city, and painting a vivid tour of city highlights and must visit stops for anyone contemplating a visit. Equally compelling are the settings in Lyme Regis, from Cobb to country house to assembly room.
In the story, heroine Sophie Elliot moves into her great-aunt’s flat in Bath, while she recovers from a broken heart, determined to put the past behind her and move on with her life and writing. The house, adjacent to the home occupied by the Austen family in 1802, proves to be full of secrets and surprises, and once her adventure begins, she transports between present day Bath and a hopeful friendship with her new neighbor (and perhaps something more?) and 1802, where she slips into the life of her ancestor Sophie Elliot, and a friendship with Jane and Cassandra Austen.

Charles Austen’s portrait, the “Rice” Portrait of Jane Austen and a Regency Era inlaid rosewood box all feature prominently in the story.
When Charles Austen, a young Naval officer, enters the scene, Sophie’s life becomes decidedly complicated. Persuasion may be the initial inspiration for the story, a novel many feel was Jane Austen’s attempt to rewrite history in her own life, however, questions remain, “Can the past be changed? Should the past be changed? Are happy endings only to be found in fiction?” A rosewood box and pair of gloves may hold the key to all the secrets of the novel, and in finding them, Sophie discovers the truth about herself and her heart.
It is known that Jane Austen drew her characters from the traits she noticed in those around her, and recognizable characterizations abound including the snobbish Elliot family themselves…oh-so like their “fictional” counterparts. Conversations and scenes from Austen’s novels are woven together in new and unexpected ways, providing a canvas that the “real” Jane Austen might later use in her writing. Additional portrayals of Cassandra Austen, Charles Austen and even Henry and Eliza Austen ring true and offer glimpses of family life that are not only faithful to the recorded history we have, but also all any “ardent admirer” of Jane Austen’s works and life could hope for.

The magically beckoning gate in Sydney Gardens that transports Sophie into 1802.
Moving along at a brisk pace, the story jumps quickly from the present to the past and back again, and readers will visit the amusements, pleasure gardens and assembly rooms of Bath and Lyme and the countryside beyond in both 2012 and 1802. Odiwe cleverly ties up her threads by the end of her story, though readers are left to wonder if Sophie is the only one of her family to have enjoyed the company of L’amiable Jane…leaving room, perhaps, for future stories.
I, for one, certainly hope so!
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Paintbox Publishing (7 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 095457222X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0954572228

Despite the appearance of grey cloud, briefly overhead, the sun decided to challenge the densest vapour, evaporating all into whipped confections like floating meringues in the cobalt sky. The sisters returned. Jane's mood was bright, but if anything she was overly talkative and I wasn't completely convinced that she was as happy as she appeared. She sat down a little way in front, looking out a the view across Bath. I watched Cassandra reach inside her basket producing a pocket sketchbook, a pencil, a bottle of water and a small box of paints.

"Do not move, Jane," she called. "I shall picture you for posterity ... a portrait of unwearied contemplation."

"Just as long as you do not paint my face!" Jane called, turning her back to us, arranging her dress and striking a pose.

"I would not dare ... I know how much you dislike sitting for me. No, I shall not ask you to turn. I shall capture the folds in the back of your gown instead and paint your elegant bonnet."

With swift strokes of her pencil, Jane's figure was outlined. Dressed in turquoise blue with her bonnet strings undone, she sat upon the grass, one neat little foot poking out from under her gown, her hand resting upon her knee. Only the most tantalizing curve of her cheek was displayed so it was impossible to guess her expression or sense any emotion. After a few minutes, she protested at sitting still for so long. Ignoring her sister's request to sit for five minutes longer, she was on her feet in a second and came over to my side. Ever restless, Jane held out her hand to me.

Cassandra Austen's portrait of her sister, Jane.

I begin my review of Jane Odiwe's newest book, Searching for Captain Wentworth, with this quote from the beginning of Chapter 23 because it is the kind of stuff to make a Janeite weep. I was already entranced by this novel when I came to this scene, having stayed up way past the time I ought to have already been asleep in order to read it, but this moment overwhelmed me. To be a fly on the wall when Cassandra Austen painted her enigmatic portrait of Jane! This book is as close as one will ever get.

I've read fictionalized accounts of Jane Austen before, but usually I find such portrayals disappointing. The best I came across prior to this book was Janet Mullaney's Jane and the Damned, but as Austen is a vampire in that novel, though a very engaging one, all sense of the historical figure gets submerged by fantasy. Not so here. Ms. Odiwe has brought my favorite writer to life in a way I have seen no one else accomplish, endowing her with nervous energy, a rebellious tongue, and infinite charm. She is just as I like to imagine her, and it was an absolute joy to spend three hundred pages in her presence.

But this book isn't about Jane Austen. The main character, Sophie Elliot, is a modern woman and an aspiring writer. After a bad breakup, she seeks refuge in the house her family has owned in Bath since the 18th century. Quickly discovering how she can pass from her own time into the Regency Era, she inhabits the body of her ancestor and namesake, who just so happens to live next door to the Austen family. At first her experiences terrify her, but Sophie finds the desire to return to the past irresistible, and even when she tries to remain in one time or the next, happenstance intervenes to send her hurtling back. One of the biggest lures of the 19th century is her growing friendship with Charles Austen, who is visiting his family while on leave from the Navy, but how can she allow herself to fall in love with a man who has been dead for two hundred years?

Ms. Odiwe's version of Cassandra's portrait

As I have read other novels featuring Austen as a character, so have I read Austenesque books involving time travel. Ms. Odiwe's stab at the genre is as good as the best of these, beautifully depicting a historical time and place. My husband and I (both confirmed food geeks) have an ongoing discussion regarding the value of sauces, and so I particularly got a kick out of this passage: 
I chanced to look up from the plate of food that I wasn't entirely certain about. Everything had arrived on the table at once. Arranged symmetrically on white gilded Wedgewood with a laurel motif, the mahogany table gleamed under candlelight, bearing plates of salmon with bulging, glassy eyes, jellied tongue glistening with gelatine, Florentine rabbits complete with heads and furry ears, oily mackerel that stared at me balefully from my plate. Was it my imagination or was the green gooseberry preserve that covered it doing more to disguise the fact that the fish had not seen the sea for quite some time?
Though the food be rancid, there is so much to relish in this book! Truly something for everyone, Searching for Captain Wentworth beautifully combines echoes of Persuasion with paranormal fantasy and history. Reality interposes as well. Ms. Odiwe has been championing The Rice Portrait of Jane Austen (featured on the book's cover) on her blog for some time now, and the painting itself plays a role in her plot. Her depiction of Jane Austen also seems inspired by it, as in this first description of the authoress: "The girl whose broad smile reached her twinkling eyes had round rosy cheeks like a painted doll and unruly chestnut curls dancing under the brim of her bonnet in the breeze." Ms. Odiwe's novels usually feature artwork and very appropriately, as Ms. Odiwe is the artist behind some of the most touching Austen inspired renderings I have seen. One of my favorites is her version of Cassandra's portrait, in which she shows Jane glancing back at us. This book is like that painting, provinding a tantalizing glimpse of Jane. Paintings like Cassandra's watercolor and The Rice Portrait provide a foundation for Ms. Odiwe's story, bridging the distance between past and present.

Cassandra & Jane Austen, imagined by Ms. Odiwe

If you have not had the pleasure of reading Ms. Odiwe's books, let me recommend them to you with enthusiasm. I have loved each of her novels, from Lydia Bennet's Story (one of the first Austenesque books I ever read, which is why I never reviewed it on this blog, even though it is amongst my favorites) and Willoughby's Return (which was one of my first reviews) to Mr. Darcy's Secret. Each is an entirely different undertaking from the next, and  is a remarkable addition to an already diverse body of work. I cannot wait to find out in what manner Ms. Odiwe will delight us next! 


Persuasion is quite possibly my favorite of all Austen’s books, and Captain Wentworth is in a dead heat with Darcy for favorite literary hero of all time. With that background, it would be easy to think that any novel based on Persuasion would automatically win my good opinion, but the opposite is rather true. With something so beloved, I will only be swayed by a treatment that is truly superlative. I’m happy to say I was not disappointed in Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe.
There is so much to love about this book, it’s hard for me to express it clearly–so if I jump around a bit, please forgive me.
First, I love parallel story lines when they are woven together in such a way that they support each other. As Sophie jumps back and forth between the past and present, the things that have just happened to her in the other time inform her decisions where she is now. The two stories are really one story–Sophie’s story.
Second, one of the fun things about reading fiction is figuring out what the author’s other passions might be. When you read Searching for Captain Wentworth, it quickly becomes obvious that Jane Odiwe loves and knows art. She uses various paintings throughout the story as props to guide us into a deeper understanding of Jane, her times, and the story at hand.
Third, it is apparent right from the start of Searching for Captain Wentworth that she is intimately familiar with both Bath and Jane Austen. There is a vibrancy to her descriptions of the city that could not come from someone who did not love it dearly. Amazingly, her picture of Regency Bath is just as clear as the vision of modern Bath–and yes, there have been some changes over the last 200 years.
As for Austen… Ah, and here is where this book really grabbed my heart, reader. Since Jane Austen is actually a character in Searching for Captain Wentworth, one of the more delightful things in the novel was the way Jane Odiwe sprinkled names, situations, and quotes that one could easily see later went on to inspire our Jane in her works. If you are an author, you know that some of your best scenes are the ones you have either witnessed or experienced. Why wouldn’t the same be true for Austen?
Yes, yes. So the writing is fabulous, but what of the story? The story, at its heart, is a classic story of a young lady dissatisfied with her own life who manages to escape to a fantasy. The fact that her fantasy is actually history merely adds flavor. Will she allow herself to be sucked into the fantasy, leaving behind those who love her at home, or will she use the lessons she learns in the past to grow in the present?
loved the heroes in this book, both of them. The historical Wentworth was so very dashing and handsome, and the modern Frederick (Okay, Josh…) was gallant and chivalrous. I have to say, I’m really a little envious of Sophie, having the love of two such men!
In short, if you love Bath, art, romantic heroes, or Jane Austen, you will love this book.
Five Stars
Searching for Captain Wentworth, by Jane Odiwe (2012)We can only imagine what life would have been like in the great Georgian resort town of Bath, England circa 1800. There are vintage illustrations of buildings, maps of the winding streets, and descriptions from travelers and writers of the time to help us visualize. And then there is the Bath that we know of from Jane Austen’s two novels: Persuasion andNorthanger Abbey. Her characters visit the famous pump-room, dance at the Lower Assembly Rooms, climb that noble hill Beechen Cliff, and propose on the gravel walk. We can visit this enchanting town today and still see much of what Austen experienced, but what if there was a way to be magically transported back in time to discover that Jane Austen is your next door neighbor and her dashing younger brother, Lieutenant Charles Austen, is home on leave from his duties with the Royal Naval? Would you take that journey through time no matter what the unknown risk?
Sophie Elliot, the heroine of Jane Odiwe’s new Austen-inspired novel Searching for Captain Wentworth, unknowingly faces this dilemma the first time she is transported two hundred years into the past through a magical glove once owned by Lt. Austen. Sound fantastical? Well, yes it would to any skeptic, including myself. Recent movies such as Lost in Austen and the Austen Addict book series: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict have softened my resolve. I enjoyed both the mini-series and the novels so much that “suspending my disbelief” and considering that anything is possible (in fiction and in life) opened up a whole new genre to me. Odiwe has created a clever combination of the past and present that took me on a journey through Jane Austen’s world, both familiar and fantastical.
Inspired by Austen’s Persuasion, we encounter many thematic elements inSearching for Captain Wentworth that Austen wanted us to experience in her own novel: love, heartbreak, friendship, snobbery and renewal; all through the eyes of young Sophie who is staying in the upper floor of a Bath townhouse owned by her family since the early 1800’s. She has aspirations to be a writer and hopes that by walking in Austen’s footsteps she will discover her talent and get over the painful loss of her boyfriend. Downstairs is occupied by the mysterious and handsome Josh Strafford who is working at the Holburne Museum on their next Regency exhibit. When Sophie sees him drop a white glove on the pavement outside their townhouse, she picks it up and follows him attempting to return it. When she passes through a white gate in Sydney Gardens she is transported back in time; a timeslip into another era, and her ancestor Sophia’s life.
I have long enjoyed Jane Odiwe’s Austen-inspired novels: Lydia Bennet’s Story,Willoughby’s Return and Mr. Darcy’s Secret. Her in-depth knowledge of Regency history and culture combined with her understanding of Jane Austen’s plots and characters results in a sensitive, engaging and romantic narrative that never disappoints. This time I was especially impressed with her character descriptions:
“All my feelings of self-doubt and of being an absolute failure at everything were returning. I just kept thinking how he’d probably tell the lovely Alison at the museum all about his narrow escape from the lecherous clutches of his neighbor who had delusions of becoming a writer.” – Sophie Elliot (p. 71)
“Every detail of his appearance sharpened into focus. Dark curls fell on the high collar of his black coat, cut to display a flash of white silk waistcoat with buttons faced in pearl, that led the eye to the swell of satin where breeches began…He looked beautiful if I can use that word to describe a man, I only knew I was not the only woman in the room who glanced his way or sat up in their chair.” – Sophia Elliot’s reaction to Lt. Austen, p. 91
As Sophie/Sophia’s romance with Lt. Austen parallel’s the romance in Persuasion, we are even treated to a letter that rivals the famous “You pierce my soul” love letter that Captain Wentworth gives to Anne Elliot. *swoon*
“I read it again and again committing to memory the words that thrilled every sense and awakened every feeling. How would I ever recover from such a letter?” – Sophia Elliot (p. 237)
Indeed! Odiwe has created the perfect reason to never want to recover from such feelings. Searching for Captain Wentworth will send you on a magical journey through time, and your heart, that you will not soon forget.
5 out of 5 Regency Stars
5 Stars! 

Review: Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe 

Vic Sanborn Jane Austen's World

Searching for Captain Wentworth, by Jane Odiwe.
Time travel has always presented a logical difficulty for authors: How to make such a romantic notion seem plausible? I have a way of dealing with time travel stories – suspend disbelief and enjoy the ride. Jane Odiwe’s new book speaks directly to one of my fantasies – to meet Jane Austen and to get to know her as a friend. Oh, if that were only possible!
I’ll admit that I have a fondness for Ms. Odiwe’s books. In this new endeavor she has outdone herself. After finishing Searching for Captain Wentworth I felt as if I had taken a trip to Bath and Lyme Regis, met Jane Austen, and been treated to a wonderful romance.
Not everything about the book is perfect. While the love affair between Charles and Sophia had me engrossed, the one twixt Josh and Sophie left me somewhat cold. The ending seemed rushed, and although loose ends were tied, much of the details didn’t make sense, as with all time travel stories. But logic is not the point of a time travel book: it is fantasy and wish-fulfillment.
This book has fantasy aplenty, backed up by history and Ms. Odiwe’s intimate knowledge of Jane Austen’s life and the environs of Bath. I had the privilege of visiting Bath and staying in a hotel near Sydney Gardens just off Great Pulteney Street, and the book kept conjuring up memories that I thought I had forgotten. Vividly described is the arduous but ultimately rewarding climb up Beechen Cliff. Ms. Odiwe uses this walk as a marvelous plot device while taking us on a guided tour of that famous J.A. landmark. She takes her characters to Lyme Regis as well, and has a knack for writing an original story while admirably following Persuasion’s plot.
I could write a longer review, but I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot. Well done, Ms. Odiwe. This is one of the few review books that I read from start to finish. I give Searching for Captain Wentworth five out of five regency tea cups with this caution: If you are not a fan of romance novels, Austen sequels, or time travel tales, then you will wonder at my gushes.

Maria Grazia - My Jane Austen Book Club  
Synopsis: When aspiring writer, Sophie Elliot, receives the keys to the family townhouse in Bath, it’s an invitation she can’t turn down, especially when she learns that she will be living next door to the house that Jane Austen lived in. But, Sophie’s neglected ancestral home is harbouring more than the antiquated furniture and nesting mice, though initially Sophie tries to dismiss the haunting visions of a young girl. On discovering that an ancient glove belonging to her mysterious neighbour, Josh Strafford, will transport her back in time to Regency Bath, she questions her sanity, but Sophie is soon caught up in two dimensions, each reality as certain as the other. Torn between her life in the modern world, and that of her ancestor who befriends Jane Austen and her fascinating brother Charles, Sophie’s story travels two hundred years across time, and back again, to unite this modern heroine with her own Captain Wentworth. Blending fact and fiction together the tale of Jane Austen’s own quest for happiness weaves alongside, creating a believable world of new possibilities for the inspiration behind the beloved novel, Persuasion (from the author’s site)

Searching for Captain Wentworth is different from Jane Odiwe’s previous Austen-inspired novels, Willoughby’s Return and Mr Darcy’s Secret. Not only  because it deals mainly with characters and events connected with Austen’s last novel, Persuasion - while the others continued the stories of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice  respectively - but especially because the author adds a spicy ingredient to her narrative to avoid writing the usual sequel.  She adds time travelling and creates two parallel narrative levels between which the protagonist, Sophie Elliot, unexpectedly and inexplicably  moves. She   gets  involved in a series of different adventures and is torn between two men. Is it possible to fall in love with two differently  handsome,  kind, extraordinary  gentlemen, one living in Jane Austen’s time and one in the modern world? Make your acquaintance with Charles and Josh in Jane Odiwe’s new book and you will find yourself sympathizing  with the heroine.
The story takes place mostly in  Bath but an exciting trip to Dorset will take the protagonists and the readers to  Lyme Regis, too.  Jane Odiwe seems at home in both places and leads us  all around the beloved landmarks and sites as an expert Austen tour guide would do. The historical details are accurately researched with special  attention to clothing, accessories and furniture.
Using my favourite metaphor of writing/cooking, I couldn’t recognize any new original ingredient  but I greatly appreciated the very creative recipe in which Jane Odiwe blends  adventure and romance, modern and regency characters, facts and fiction.  Gifted writing  makes the blend a  successful, entertaining whole. You’ll find yourself smiling in recognition at this lovely tale with lots of familiar quotes and characters, events from Jane Austen’s life and hints to her letters.   Searching for Captain Wentworth  is a new  delightful, unmissable read for anybody loving Austen-inspired fiction.

Project Darcy - Reviews

CARDS ON THE TABLE: I'm a sucker for time-travel fiction - from H. G. Wells to, well, to Jane Odiwe in this instance. Her latest Austen-inspired romance takes Ellie Bentley, a modern-day student, to Hampshire, where her best friend has arranged for them to take part in an archaeological dig. Not particularly interested in either digging or Jane Austen, Ellie does have a gift for 'seeing' things - and on the girls' first night at Ashe Rectory she encounters a very handsome ghost. So the scene is set for Ellie to be spirited back to Steventon during the winter of 1796 to witness just what happened when Jane Austen met Tom Lefroy and to - perhaps - unravel the real love story behind the romance at the heart of Pride and Prejudice. Odiwe writes with great charm and assurance: her contemporary characters are engaging, her historical protagonists convincing. In Project Darcy she takes a slice of literary history and turns it into a thoroughly entertaining, often very funny, and frequently touching piece of modern romantic fiction.

Laura Boyle - Jane Austen Centre Online Magazine

Jane Odiwe writes from the heart. This is evident to anyone who has ever read one of her novels, but particularly so in her newest work, Project Darcy. Published just in time for Christmas, it is surely her gift to Austen fans everywhere.

The story centers on a group of friends who join an archeological expedition at the site of Steventon Rectory. The five girls mirror the Bennet sisters in personality and even name choices, and just as in Pride and Prejudice, Ellie (our heroine) and Jess share a special bond.

The purpose of the dig is to discover the actual layout of the Austen’s home, and it is clear from the writing that Ms. Odiwe is intimately familiar with the Austen haunts mentioned throughout the book, from Steventon to Ashe and Deane, Bath and London. Relationships among the other workers and staff form the backdrop of a fairly straightforward retelling of Pride and Prejudice, cleverly repackaged though, in order to drop twists and turns throughout, and laugh out loud moments at just the right time.

This is, however, a time travel story, as well. Like her previous book, Searching for Captain Wentworth, Ellie has the ability to travel between the 21st century and Regency England. Unlike the other book, however, these time jumps are uncontrolled by temporal items, and are brought on by the proximity of so many Austen locations. In Ellie’s jumps, she literally becomes Jane Austen, creating a story within a story, as she relives many of the poignant memories of Austen’s past, and seeks to shed light on her oh-so-mysterious relationship with Tom Lefroy.

Although the archeological dig takes place in summer, Ellie’s jumps, for the most part, return her to the winter of 1795/96 when we know, from Jane Austen’s own letters, that she met Tom while he was visiting his aunt. The descriptions of Christmas at Steventon and the Manydown  ball are delightful, and it is fun to fill in the gaps in what we do know, fleshing out a story of love won and lost. Traces of Austen’s “later” works are visible and it is clear that Ms. Odiwe let her imagination have full reign in giving Jane the romantic past that we all might wish for her. While many scenes are reminiscent of Jon Spence’s Becoming Jane, we are also treated to the history of Jane’s turquoise ring which came to public attention this past year.

I will not reveal the details of the story here, or how it all works out in the end, but reading it felt like a treasure hunt with fun “Easter Eggs” on every page. As always, she manages to insert clever homages to our favorite author in every corner. Clearly familiar with Jane Austen’s life, Ms. Odiwe has spent much time reimagining what Austen’s life might have been like “between the lines”—her artwork, and first book, Effusions of Fancy, no doubt laid the groundwork for this novel, which reads like both a modern take on Pride and Prejudice and a first person biography of Jane Austen. And while we may know how both of these stories wind down, the ending was not predictable, and kept me guessing until the very last page.

Ms. Odiwe has stayed true to the facts as we know them. All else is speculation and imagination, and as her readers delight to know firsthand, she has a vivid imagination.

For the first time, Ms. Odiwe has included a scene of more adult style material, which makes this novel unsuitable for the young adult audience, however even this is presented in such a light that it is impossible to determine if it “really happened”, or was simply the result of a feverish dream.

All in all, it is an enjoyable read, perfect for curling up with during the dead of winter, transporting you to Regency England's Christmas, and reminding us that the warmth of English summer will return again.

Alexa Adams

A new Jane Odiwe novel is always a cause for celebration. I have loved everything she has done. Her books combine a deep affection and respect for Jane Austen with a unique vision of what her world looked like, a perspective born of Ms. Odiwe's experience of the physical location associated with Austen and her work as an artist. The result is vivid:
I ran through the glittering garden, past the sundial and the rose beds, where rosy blooms were crumpled like crushed paper in the heat. Along with the pink bricks of the walled garden scented with apricots, I ran my fingers along the roughened surface, not stopping to pick the sweet strawberries lying below in their straw bed nests, and as last I saw him. I could see his white head as he sat at his desk by the window. There were piles of dusty books and yellowed papers on every side of him, and I knew his fingers would be stained black with ink as he corrected his accounts or marked his scholars' work. I knew before I reached the house that the room he occupied would be wreathed in sweet-scented pipe smoke, just one ingredient in the magical elixir that conjured up his special smell. Gilt-edged books, paper and ink all had their own aroma as dear to me as any exotic perfume from India, and were as much a part of him as the glass of Madeira that he took in the evening, and his own cologne of bergamot, neroli and lavender. I could not reach him quickly enough, and at that moment he seemed to sense my presence and looked up to wave and smile. I waved back, my heart filled with love. 
I ran into the house, dark and cool after the sunny day outside to find him still busy with his books. I brought the smell of outdoors with me and knew I loked like a wild child with leaves in my hair. 
"Little Jenny, you have had a very busy afternoon, I think. Those grass stains tell a certain tale." 
I hung my head waiting for him to scold me, but I should have known better. He simply laughed and held out his arms to me. 
"Tell me a story, Papa."
The place is Steventon Rectory, and the girl is Jane Austen. Like Ms. Odiwe's previous book, Searching for Captain WentworthProject Darcy is a tale of time travel. This time, instead of the heroine inhabiting the body of someone who knew Jane, she becomes the author herself.

Five modern college students sign up as volunteers for an archeological dig (code named Project Darcy) at the site of Steventon Rectory. They are female roommates, and their personalities are modeled on the Bennet sisters. Our heroine, Ellie, has had intuitive experiences of the other worldly before, but as soon as she arrives at Ashe Rectory, where the girls are housed during the dig, she sees a young man dressed in Regency garb. The ghost proves to be Tom Lefroy, and Ellie begins to have episodes where she travels back to the time when he and Jane fell in love.

Much has been made of Austen's romance with Lefroy, most of it conjecture, but Ms. Odiwe's rendition coincides nicely with the facts. Her research into Austen's letters and the locations depicted endow the entire novel with a believability usually lacking in such attempts. Yes, images from Becoming Jane were, at times, hard to repress, but the depiction of Jane is far more realistic. It was wonderful to indulge in her perspective, so beautifully constructed!

The parts of the book that take place in the past are so good as to outshine the modern story a bit. I enjoyed watching Ellie cope with her experience and explore her own loves, but it is when she is Jane that I completely lost myself in the tale. I admit to being somewhat surprise at how the story ended for Ellie, and even a little disappointed, if only because Ms. Odiwe intentionally toys with our expectations, playing on the Pride & Prejudice parallels. One the other hand, Jane's romance is remarkably satisfying, even with the inevitable end it must come to. Austen, as Ms. Odiwe portrays her, is strong and inspiring when she says goodbye to Tom, not tragic in the least. The reader is left feeling no heartbreak, only gratitude.

I must wonder if Ms. Odiwe has more time travel tales in store for us. It has never been a favorite genre of mine, but in Ms. Odiwe's hands, perhaps because she doesn't get bogged down in mechanism and explanation, I find myself entranced. Project Darcy brings to life the personal experiences Austen endured that may have inspired her most beloved novel, just as Searching of Captain Wentworth did for Persuasion. I do so hope the rest of Austen's novels will be tackled in their turn.

Meditating Mummy Blog - 

***** Author Jane Odiwe’s latest novel Project Darcy is a beautifully written story inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Exquisite imagery accompanied by an intriguing tale of a modern-day heroine and her travels into the past, embodying the life of Jane Austen in the Winter of 1796, gives the story its pulse.
I am always excited to find Austen sequels that hold the true essence of the great author. It is often difficult to do justice to her works, or even try to write a sequel with beloved characters that hold their sacred place in literature along with their creator. Jane Odiwe’s books are special in that way; they reflect her love for Austen, her travels to places Austen frequented and intricate details of the life Austen led. Each page takes you on a journey to acquaint you intimately with this sharp,witty, intuitive and glorious writer who makes you sigh with pleasure every time you pick up a copy of any one of her great novels.
In Project Darcy, Jane Odiwe offers us the most intimate look into the past, the one that brought Darcy and Elizabeth into our lives. Being an artist, she has painted her characters in settings of sumptuous colors, fabrics and seasons, weaving them into delicious words. I often found her descriptions of the simplest of food delectable.The scenery is simply breathtaking. If you stop for a second to take it all in, it surrounds you. I was moved by so many scenes, but since I can’t go into all of it, I will quote a few lines that I read many times over. It embraces that time in the past, lending itself to a backdrop of something inexplicable and mysterious.
There was a picture of a Christmas card in front of her – snow covered the ground, lit up from the moon above and from the candlelight in the windows, which threw bars of gold against blue snow shadowed by tall trees.”  ”Powdering every surface, snow crystals were piled in pillows up to the steps and weighed down lacy boughs on trees, bending them to smooth white blankets on the ground.”
Ellie ( Elizabeth) and Jess are best friends, as close as sisters. Along with their friends, Martha, Cara and Liberty, they join an archaeological dig to find the remnants of Jane Austen’s childhood home Steventon Rectory.  When Jess’s godmother invites them to stay at Ashe while she’s in Tuscany, Ellie in particular is taken with the beautiful home that seems so inviting with its wisteria and roses climbing the walls. Ashe is also the home of Jane Austen’s good friend Madame Lefroy, where she encounters a young man, said to have had a huge impact on her life and writing – Tom Lefroy. Ellie who is able to see into the past, immediately senses and sees a beautiful young man, a faint figure, by the upstairs window. The visual moves her immediately, gives her a sense of familiarity, and then, just as suddenly as he appears, he disappears. As the girls settle into the house and become acquainted with Mrs Hill, the housekeeper, the attention to detail in their surroundings become the focal point and the pairings are stunning. From a fragrant arrangement of roses and lavender to a marble fireplace and pretty floral china. From a sofa covered in dove grey linen, to a French bed with button silk upholstery. From vintage to Regency, the colors dance out of the pages.
Ellie and Jess in their close relationship have some similarity to Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, but they are very much their own people. I was struck by Jess’s personal story and Ellie’s sense of independence, her forthright nature. I believe Martha has some similarity to Mary, although I liked Martha much more. Cara and Liberty, stood out loud and clear, in fact extremely loud, all of their personalities however, with their own twists and turns bind the story in all the right places. Some characters like Donald, who reminded me of Mr Collins, injected bursts of humor here and there, and I loved it when Jess in particular, met handsome young Charlie Harden, who reminded me of Mr Bingley. Jane Odiwe kept the story in the present as conflicted and interesting as the story in the past. Ellie’s encounter with Henry alone made me enjoy it that much more. I also love how the story touches on subjects that are current;  without revealing too much  the author is able to take liberties with the present and portray some very real crises. Things that touch the heart. Sadness and judgement. The contrast between being irresponsible and young and steady and level-headed. My very favorite mention of course, is of Colin Firth and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
When Ellie begins her travels into 1796, the story grows as we begin to see her transform into Jane Austen. Odiwe transitions in and out of the past so seamlessly, allowing me to feel all the intensity of Austen’s emotions through Ellie. I felt every heartbeat, every look, and every step. I was there when Austen danced her way through the Winter balls with her handsome young Irish friend. They certainly made quite the couple. As Ellie uncovers what truly occurred that Winter, the beginnings of Pride and Prejudice, a beautiful story of love, unfolds. Every scene in the past is so other worldly, it is almost too beautiful, I was transported so quickly, that these words – ” there was laughter and movement and flurries of white muslin as dashing young men spun their partners around, satin slippers kicking up the chalk” - made me stay longer than I wanted.  In fact, I didn’t want Ellie to come back at all.  I even inhaled hints of fresh limes and geranium and just as I thought she was about to learn more, feel more, she returns to the present, quite changed. What I found most intriguing, a lesson if you will – the mention of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood – the beginnings of Sense and Sensibility. Jane/Ellie writing in the past about choosing the head over the heart. It is not just a concept that stays in the past but one that is extremely relevant to the present as well. I truly enjoyed this book, I hope you will too.
Laura's Reviews - Laura Gerold

I read Project Darcy right before Christmas and it was a perfect book to read at that time of year.    Author Jane Odiwe is also a wonderful artist and I loved her illustration of an old-fashioned house in winter in a small circle on the cover.  Looking at that picture whenever I picked up the book, I found it southing and put me in the mood for the novel.  I wish I could actually get more copies of her artwork.  I need to look into this!

Project Darcy is a time travels with Jane Austen novel. Ellie Bentley joins an archaeological dig at the childhood home (Steventon rectory) of Jane Austen for the summer while in college.   This isn’t really how she wanted to spend the summer, but her good friend Jess has survived cancer and this dig is one of her dreams.  Together with their other friends, Martha, Cara, and Liberty, they travel to Hampshire and stay in Jess’s Aunts house, which also happens to be the home of the Lefroy family, good friends of Jane Austen.  While there, Cara and Liberty go silly over the boys, but Jess find herself more seriously infatuated with Charlie Harden, a rich and nice guy.  Ellie is not so infatuated by Charlie’s snobby friend Henry Dorsey.  This present day story roughly follows the lines of Pride and Prejudice set in modern times, but with a few new twists and surprises.

One twist is that Ellie has a special gift where she is able to slip back in time and experience Jane Austen’s romance with young Tom Lefroy.  Jane finds Tom quite stuffy and arrogant when she first meets him, but upon further meetings, she finds herself in love.  Tom and Jane both have no money and know their romance is improbable, but their love cannot be denied.  Could this romance have helped to inspire Pride and Prejudice?

I enjoyed this novel.  It was a relaxing read and quite entertaining. I felt both the contemporary as well as the time slip portion of the novels were equally as strong in the narration.  I enjoyed both stories and felt in suspense waiting to see what was happening in the other time frame.  I liked all of the characters and I especially enjoyed the twists to the stories that Odiwe added in just when you thought you knew what was going to happen.  I also really enjoyed the setting of the modern day story – an archaeological dig on Steventon Rectory!  That would be a dream to work on.  I also love time slip/time travel stories so together with my love of all things Jane Austen, this was the perfect novel for me.  I highly recommend it for anyone looking for a great book to read.

Candy Morton - So Little Time ... so much to Read!

Ellie has a gift for seeing ghosts and being able to slip back in time. It’s not something she has any control over. Ellie, Jess and a few other girls have volunteered to work on an archaeological dig at the site of Jane Austen’s childhood home in Steventon.  As soon as Ellie arrived at Ashe Rectory, where she and the girls were going to be staying for the summer, she saw him. He was a handsome young man, and she had the distinct feeling that she knew him quite well. Then he was gone. This was just the beginning of seeing him. Soon she began to slip back in time as Jane Austen and the young man is Tom Lefroy. Sometimes Ellie would spend days as Jane, then return to the present to find only a moment had passed. It becomes hard for Ellie to separate her feelings from Jane’s as she falls deeply in love with Tom. Whenever Ellie would be back in the present, she would miss Tom badly. 

It was fun picking out the parallels to Pride and Prejudice in this story! Matching up the characters, like Ellie is Elizabeth, and Jess is get the picture. And Jane and Tom’s story was excellent! I liked how you could see where Jane would get her ideas for her stories! 

I was absorbed into both stories! Not only are we seeing Jane and Tom fall in love, but or course, there is romance in the present day story also. As Jess finds her Mr. Bingley, will Ellie find her Mr. Darcy? 

There is a twist at the end that I did not see coming! I confess, at first I wasn’t sure if I liked this twist, but in the end it worked out alright. My only complaint is that I thought it ended too soon! I would have liked to have gotten to know one of the characters better.

I really enjoyed Project Darcy! It's a fun read! I would recommend this story to both Jane Austen fans and time travel fans alike! It is the second book in Odiwe's Time Travels with Jane Austen series. I haven't read the first, but I'm going to have to read it soon!

NUT PRESS - Kathryn Eastman

After having enjoyed Jane Odiwe’s Searching for Captain Wentworth, I jumped at the chance to read Project Darcy even before knowing anything more about it other than the title and that the cover promised further Time Travels with Jane Austen.
Happily, Project Darcy isn’t about the search for a present-day Darcy or the transformation of a modern-day man into someone’s romantic ideal of Darcy. Instead, it’s the codename of an archaeological dig that aims to unearth the site of the old rectory at Steventon where Jane Austen lived the first twenty-five years of her life. This dig brings together an interesting mix of people and it’s fun matching up those resembling Jane Austen’s own circle or her characters. For example, there’s our heroine, Ellie, and her university friends, Jess, Martha, Liberty and Cara, five girls with initials matching those of the five Bennet sisters. You’ll have to read the book to discover if that’s all they share in common.
Jess has just come through a particularly bad year and is a huge fan of Jane Austen and her novels, so Ellie thinks it would be good for the girls to go on the dig to do something nice for their friend but also as a way of spending their last long summer together before they each go their separate ways after university. Thanks to Jess’ godmother, they’re fortunate enough to have an amazing place to stay in ‘Madam’ Lefroy’s former home at Ashe. (Anne Lefroy was not only a good friend of Jane Austen’s, even after she had left Steventon for Bath, but she was also aunt to Tom Lefroy with whom Jane is believed to have had a romance when he visited Ashe in the winter of 1795/6.)
Almost as soon as they arrive at Ashe, Ellie starts ‘seeing into the past’, something she’s always been able to do and not something this reader ever questioned, I think in large part because Ellie and her best friend, Jess, never do. Both see it as quite normal. However, this time Ellie’s visions and slips back in time feel much more personal than they have in the past and she finds it increasingly hard not to get involved when she is drawn out of a hot summer dig to Jane Austen’s time at Steventon and then, more particularly, to the very winter of Tom Lefroy’s visit.
One of the highlights to me of Odiwe’s previous book was how she’d imagined Jane Austen to be, as well as her contemporaries and the characters from her books and their possible real-life inspiration. This holds every bit as true for Project Darcy and I had a great deal of fun reading not only Odiwe’s take on Jane Austen and her circle of acquaintances and their surroundings but seeing how she used fragments of well-known speeches and letters from Jane Austen’s books to show how and where Jane Austen’s inspiration might have come from. I liked the fact that having a twenty-first century heroine slip back in time allowed Odiwe to take a few more liberties than she might otherwise have done in scenes between Ellie and her eighteenth century beau. I also enjoyed figuring out who the modern-day counterparts to Jane Austen’s characters were and seeing how they behaved now that they were in a more contemporary setting and circumstances.
The slips between both Jane Austen’s time and Ellie’s own are managed well and Jane Odiwe gives equal attention to both periods. All too often, time slips can feel uneven, with the historical parts of a novel seeming more real or interesting than those set in more recent times. It doesn’t feel that way here and whichever period I was reading about, I was there, totally immersed in it. I really felt as if I got two great reads in one here, rather than one strong story padded out with a weaker one.
One of my few criticisms and it is fairly minor and one that I attributed to the ages of the girls and the fact that they might be more over-exuberant in their descriptions than someone older, is that sometimes the description of people, places, feelings and things seems altogether too perfect. However, it didn’t impact too much upon my enjoyment of the story and, like I said, I could put it down to how young the girls in the book are and that the story is told from Ellie’s viewpoint.
I thoroughly enjoyed getting to spend some more time with Jane Odiwe’s imagining of Jane Austen, and see what her life at Steventon might have been like. In particular, it was fun to have a closer look at the period when she met Tom Lefroy, to get to dance at the winter parties and enjoy how her romance might have played out, as well as to see what an impact it and Tom might have had on her as a young woman and how their burgeoning relationship might have informed her writing. Equally enjoyable though was the idea of spending a summer with the modern-day characters on the site of the old vicarage at Steventon and then later in London and in and around Bath.
I pretty much read Project Darcy in one sitting. Even though I knew at least how Jane Austen’s own story would end, I loved spending time with her again in that period, as well as being anxious to see where the modern-day characters would be at the end of the book – and who with! This was a highly enjoyable read for me because it had a bit of everything: sumptuous period detail – I can imagine that Jane Odiwe had fun imagining the interiors of Ashe, both in Jane Austen’s time and in its more contemporary setting; seeing who the candidates for Jane Austen’s characters were from her own circle of acquaintances and their modern-day counterparts; a good sprinkling of romance and pairings, including a glimpse into one of Jane Austen’s own rumoured romances and the delicious puzzle of piecing all the connections together madeProject Darcy for this reader.

Meredith Esparza - Austenesque Reviews

In her first phenomenal timeslip novel, Searching for Captain Wentworth, Jane Odiwe takes readers to Bath, England in the year 1802 where the main character transports back in time to the body of Jane Austen's neighbor and friend. (ugh! Such a lucky girl!) In her second timeslip novel, readers travel to Steventon, Hampshire in the year 1796 where the main character transports back in time to the body of...Jane Austen! (so not fair, right!?!)

In Project Darcy, our main character, Ellie Bentley travels to Steventon with several of her friends to participate in an archaeological dig at the site of Jane Austen's former home. Although Ellie looks forward to capturing the beautiful countryside of Steventon on canvas and taking part in the dig, she ends up learning more about Jane Austen and her beloved childhood home than she ever intended! For some inexplicable and uncontrollable phenomena, Ellie is able to transport into Jane's body and experience her brief romance with Tom Lefroy - the witty banters, the exhilarating dances, the clandestine encounters...

What a delight it is to read another timeslip novel by Jane Odiwe! Thank you, Jane, for once again exploring the unknown secrets of Jane Austen life and for taking us back to Steventon! What a treat it was to visualize Jane Austen's beloved home and surroundings! Oh! And thank you for fleshing out her relationship with Tom Lefroy...*sigh* What an enchanting and plausible romance!

One of my favorite things about Jane Odiwe's writing, is her ability to paint lush, striking, and vibrant scenes using just her words. She truly does write with an artist's eye and describes the world of her novels with such incredible sensory detail! Another aspect I love about Ms. Odiwe's works is that she often writes novels with two main tumblr_static_once-upon-a-timeintertwining storylines (kind of like Once Upon a Time - one of my fave TV shows). Each storyline is captivating and complex, full of intrigue, romance, and drama, and just when you least expect it...torturously put on hold while she switches to the other storyline!

Similar to Searching for Captain Wentworth and its gentle nods and parallels to Persuasion, Project Darcy holds some strong connections and similarities with Pride and Prejudice. Of course, I loved spotting these clever parallels in Jane Austen's romance with Tom Lefroy, but sometimes the modern-day counterparts with Ellie felt little forced and stilted by comparison. In addition, there was a pretty surprising twist at the end that came about quite unexpectedly. While I do love a good surprise, I kind of felt the unexpectedness of this outcome made the story's beautiful conclusion feel just a little less satisfying and complete.

Despite my quibbles, Project Darcy is another brilliant and reverent work of fiction by the talented and always artistic Jane Odiwe! I do hope that she has some more timeslip novels in mind! I would love to explore more of Jane Austen's life and works with some lucky heroine who is transported back in time!

Janet B Taylor - More Agreeably Engaged

Project Darcy is a charming story about five modern day friends taking part in an archaeological dig at Steventon, the home of Jane Austen. Ellie Bentley is a talented artist and watercolorist. She also has another gift, the unique ability of seeing people and places of another time. This special gift allows Ellie to experience a time slip to two hundred years in the past and actually become Jane Austen. What a treat this is for the reader as Jane Odiwe so expertly weaves in the story of Jane Austen and her real-life romance with Tom Lefroy. It is a treasure by itself.

The book seamlessly moves between present and past. The modern day story about Ellie and her friends has close parallels to the original plot and cast of Pride and Prejudice. I had much fun picking out which present day character represented which original! The occasional quotes were sometimes given to someone other than the original counterpart but in such a way that it felt natural.

Each time Ellie slips to the past, the reader learns more about the life of Jane Austen and her growing feelings for Tom Lefroy. It all felt incredibly believable and was extremely gratifying. Even though I knew the fate of the two lovers, Jane Odiwe told their story in such a touching and poignant manner that I did not feel the sadness that I expected. It was beautifully done. I also loved the connection of the past meeting the present with Jane Austen’s reticule, the discovery of its contents and its significance to Ellie. Very neat!

The modern day ending came as a complete surprise. It was a twist that I did not see coming plus it was rather sudden. I wasn’t ready for it to end and wanted to know more. In spite of that wanting, I must add that the last few lines of the book were delightful!

I love the time travel aspect of this narrative and especially when Ellie goes back in time as Jane Austen. Both parts of the story are entertaining and enjoyable. The author’s knowledge of the area shines through in her lovely descriptions of the landscapes. I could see the pictures she was painting and felt like I was there. Project Darcy is a very good book and for anyone who loves Jane Austen, it is a book not to be missed! 

4.5 out of 5 stars

Mr. Darcy's Secret - Reviews

Jane Odiwe's third Jane Austen Sequel, Mr. Darcy's Secret

Jane Odiwe seems to have cornered the market in elegantly written, intelligent and thoroughly entertaining Jane Austen sequels. After the successful publication of Lydia Bennet's Story and Willoughby's Return, she refocuses her attention on Pride and Prejudice to bring us Mr. Darcy's Secret.
It is, of course, a theme beloved of contemporary Austen-inspired writers: Darcy's initial brooding presence, his dark good looks and suggestions of a hidden past clearly lead to the conclusion that there simply must be some skeletons concealed in his aristocratic closet.
So it comes to pass: Elizabeth, settling in to her new role as mistress of Pemberley, becomes aware of local gossip concerning her new husband, but chooses to ignore the stories - until she discovers a bundle of love letters, hidden in the library. At the same time, Darcy appears to be pressuring his still somewhat bruised and vulnerable little sister, Georgiana, into a marriage that she has doubts about. Elizabeth's husband is severely tested as she attempts to unravel his mysterious past.
Jane Odiwe writes with skill and charm, and her latest novel will delight the thousands of readers for whom just one book about the Bennet sisters is not enough.
Joceline Bury - Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine

Continuing a novel like Pride and Prejudice is a daring enterprise, and Jane Odiwe comes to it steeped in Austen, in all her renditions; Odiwe’s sentences often glint with reflections of the great Jane, and she has a full command of all the connections of the new Mr. and Mrs. Darcy as they begin married life at enjoyable read.
Historical Novels Society Review

Odiwe picks things up where Austen left off in Pride and Prejudice, in an impeccably crafted tale of Elizabeth and Darcy after the wedding.
John Charles Booklist

With two plots churning, Jane Odiwe has crafted an intriguing and unique continuation of Austen’s classic that will charm and delight Janeites and historical romance readers. As we travel from Hertfordshire to Derbyshire to the Lake District of Cumberland, we enjoy the awe inspiring picturesque scenery and equally jaw dropping characterizations. Be prepared to see romantic icon Mr. Darcy knocked off his pedestal and conceitedly independent Elizabeth Bennet passively submit to her doubts. Is that a bad thing? Only, if you are determined that these characters should not change, grow and evolve beyond the last page of Pride and Prejudice.
Laurel Ann Nattress Austenprose

Jane Odiwe with Mr. Darcy's Secret, a Pride and Prejudice sequel 
From the sitting rooms of Hertfordshire, to the delights of a Christmas Ball in Derbyshire and a jaunt to the Lake District, the stage is set for another foray into Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, continuing to play with the ‘what ifs’ and ‘why nots’, that linger on after “the day on which Mrs Bennet got rid of her two most deserving daughters.” A dream come true for all those wishing there were just a few more pages, one more glimpse into the lives of Austen’s most beloved power couple. The title is Mr. Darcy’s Secret, and mystery and drama abound--- after all, who is Master Tissington? Local tittle-tattle suggests he is an heir to Pemberley, but by whom? Someone is determined not to let the past die. Long forgotten letters, the remnants of a love gone by, may hold the answer, but it is not until a blackmailer threatens to tell all that the key to Mr. Darcy’s Secret is discovered, the truth arising from the most unexpected source. In reality, however, the book might be titled Miss Darcy’s Secret, for it is Georgiana’s story, as well. Lizzy may be our heroine, but with an artist’s delicate skill for revealing detail, one brush stroke at a time, Ms. Odiwe crafts a compelling tale of love and betrayal. New characters are introduced, including the bold landowner, Mr. Calladine and the young Thomas Butler, a brash young landscape designer, son of Mrs. Gardiner’s old school friend. Who will win the hand of Georgiana, a young woman determined not to let her heart lead her astray a second time? Old friends are not forgotten, either. Mr. Collins and Charlotte appear frequently, along with their olive branch, young Catherine (a bonny babe, and as unlike her noble namesake as December is to May) Mr. Bingley’s sisters play pivotal roles as do Elizabeth’s sister and brother in law, Lydia and George Wickham. The Gardiners appear several times to steady the Darcy’s in their new life and bring common sense and counsel to the young couple. Perhaps the most delightful character is Mrs. Bennet, for here, Ms. Odiwe’s ear for Jane Austen’s writing is impeccable. One can simply hear Mrs. Bennet (and her longsuffering husband) speak her lines as she comes alive on the pages. A scholar of the Regency period, as well as an artist herself, Ms Odiwe is able to paint a picture of Jane Austen’s era with deft strokes that bring the customs and manners of the day to life. Her descriptions of the Lake District are conveyed with an enthusiasm and familiarity that make you feel as though you were there in the midst of the wild crags and misty peaks. As with her past books, I tore through this novel (to the detriment of not a few household projects!) and eagerly look forward to the day when I can share her works with my own small daughters. It is a delight to find an author whose work is not only well crafted but tastefully executed, modest enough for even the youngest reader.
Jane Austen Centre – Online Magazine
The Peak District, Derbyshire
Jane Odiwe crafted two compelling and absorbing plot-lines in this Pride and Prejudice sequel. One about Elizabeth, Darcy, and Darcy's secret, and the other one about Georgiana, the man she is engaged to, and the man she loves. I was equally engrossed in both stories, and the added tension and drama Ms. Odiwe generated made this novel hard to put down! ...Similar to Ms. Odiwe's previous novel, Willoughby's Return, Mr. Darcy's Secret is a beautiful and well-written continuation that captures the spirit of Jane Austen's original. Even though the story focuses on the Darcy family, there are many appearances by Jane Austen's comical and lovable minor characters. Ms. Odiwe accurately represents all these minor characters and gives a few of them some diverting side-stories. I especially enjoyed witnessing the conversations between Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Ms. Odiwe's portrayal of them was flawless!
  Jane Austen Reviews

 The delightful author Jane Odiwe has done it again – created a novel using Jane Austen’s characters that leaves you turning the pages to find out how the story will end...In so many ways, Ms. Odiwe gets the characters right, which makes reading her books so enjoyable... In short, devotees of Jane Austen sequels will not be disappointed with Jane Odiwe’s latest venture in Austen territory.
Jane Austen Today

A friend of mine commented recently that sequels featuring Darcy and Elizabeth must be hard to write, since their relationship wraps up so neatly. After all, plot requires conflict, and the picture of perfect domestic felicity we find at the end Pride and Prejudice might seem, at first look, to negate the possibility of the lovers ever suffering discord. To get past that, the sequel author needs to remember that Jane Austen painted a realistic picture of people and life. People are not perfect, even when their love story has the perfect ending. For instance, I imagine that Emma continued to meddle and Knightley did not stop chastising her for it. Both were improved by the events of the book, but neither were perfected. It is the task of the Austenesque author to find which foibles of personality would carry on into marriage, and how that might affect the couple's future happiness. In Mr. Darcy's Secret, Jane Odiwe excels at this. Her Darcy and Elizabeth are every bit as much in love with each other as we imagine them to be from Pride and Prejudice's conclusion. However, like all newlyweds, there are things they don't know about each other. Elizabeth in particular is troubled by letters she's found that indicate Darcy might once have loved another lady. At the same time, his decision that Georgiana must make a good match disturbs Elizabeth. She knows her sister-in-law has formed a tendre for a landscape artist, and the marriage Darcy has in mind for her will not make her happy. Darcy's insistence on an alliance of equal fortune and importance seems hypocritical to her, given that he gave up both to marry her. Both of these plots are very true to the characters. The story progresses in a manner that allows us to learn more of all our favorite characters from Pride and Prejudice, as well as getting to know Georgiana better yet. By the end, of course, all the misunderstandings are resolved. Life at Pemberley is happy once more. And that is the true art of an Austen sequel: It takes our characters from the happily ever after we see at the end of the book, through another conflict, and brings them back to a happiness made more complete by a greater understanding of one another. If you wish to see this in practice, I highly recommend Mr. Darcy's Secret by Jane Odiwe.
Nancy Kelley

Winandermere in the Lake District
This sequel to Pride and Prejudice is a smashing hit of wit and poise and a loyal tribute to the voice of Jane Austen. Jane Odiwe; author of Mr. Darcy's Secret, has managed to stay true to the voice of Jane Austen and created a magnificent work of art that does not stray from the original cast forth in the classic. With new characters, and a very surprising plot line, Jane Odiwe has created a literary work of art that is worthy of everyone's book shelf.
Jessica Hastings, Suite 101

Full of the manners and mores so dear to Regency readers, Mr. Darcy's Secret is another fine addition to the Jane Austen universe...Young love, old sins, characters we love, villains we love to hate, and a mystery threading through the whole--Mr. Darcy's Secret has it all.
Linda Banche

Mr. Darcy’s Secret is the first book that I have read by author, Jane Odiwe, and I have to say she has captured the essence of Jane Austen’s writing...filled with remarkable plot twists, and sub-stories, I could not help but to fall in love with this book. Graceful writing fills each page, and I loved the way she has captured the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. If you are looking for a Pride & Prejudice continuation that stays true to the original, then Mr. Darcy’s Secret is the perfect book for you.
Royal Reviews

Mr. Darcy has a secret and Elizabeth is torn about wanting to know the truth and pretending that nothing is amiss. This story line captured me from the very first page and kept me turning the pages excited to find out what Darcy was hiding from Lizzy. I felt as if the author had the spirit of Jane Austen residing within her because the language, tempo, flavor, and the actions of the characters so closely resembled Austen's. I also really enjoyed the inclusion of Georgiana's own love story and how it made Darcy really stop and wonder if his pride was something of the past or not. This book felt very cohesive and put me right into the spirit of Pemberley and what "may" have happened after Darcy and Elizabeth married. This book will make any Austen fan happy and I feel that it takes the variations of P&P to a new level.
Life in the Thumb

Mr. Darcy’s Secret was a pleasure to read because Odiwe breathes new life into Austen’s characters without altering their personalities too much. Elizabeth and Darcy, like all couples, encounter some bumps in the marital journey, and the way they deal with such strife seems true to who they are. Darcy was a changed man in Pride and Prejudice, and Odiwe makes his alteration feel authentic with some slip ups here and there. Mr. Darcy’s Secret is one of the most seamless Austen sequels I’ve ever read. Odiwe’s love for all-things-Austen shines through. A must-read if you love the Austen variations as much as I do.
Diary of an Eccentric

I love Jane Odiwe’s style of writing. Her writing has a lively wit that makes the scenes come alive. Odiwe writes the beloved characters of Pride and Prejudice in the same style as Jane Austen. I had many times throughout the novel that I laughed at something Mrs. Bennet, Lydia Wickham, Caroline Bingley, etc. said or did that was so in character and so clever of Odiwe’s writing. Overall, Mr. Darcy’s Secret was a witty novel with an intriguing premise and great love story that kept me reading too long into the night. I recommend it for all lovers of Pride and Prejudice.
Laura's Reviews

Mr. Darcy’s Secret was not only an enjoyable narrative, but Jane Odiwe’s prose is incredibly well-crafted. This is not just a fun Austenesque novel. Jane’s skill with language and knowledge of the period are very apparent. There were many times when I found myself purposefully going back to re-read a paragraph because of the richness of the writing. I also appreciated her talent for conveying love and passion in a way that didn’t rely on graphic intimate scenes to make their points. Less is more in my opinion, and Odiwe strikes the perfect tone in this regard. There are moments when Odiwe employs a few Austen quotes, but the vast majority of the writing is all her own, and it flows seamlessly with the Austen style. Jane has done her homework, and it shows—all without sounding too stilted or affected. Let it be no Secret—Jane Odiwe is a welcome addition to my list of preferred Austenesque writers. Calico Critic
A view over Coniston Water, Lake District
Her newest book, Mr. Darcy's Secret, treats the reader to not only an apt display of her literary ability, but also of the aesthetic vision she draws upon in her paintings. As I read the novel, I experienced the same kind of wanderlust I am overcome by when I look at the pictures from her travels on her blog, she paints the scenery of Derbyshire and the Lake District in beautifully descriptive language. Indeed, the entire book is like a portrait of the Darcy's after their marriage - a glimpse into the joys and challenges they are likely to experience as they get to know each other and learn to communicate as husband and wife. Like all great paintings, it is not a perfectly pristine image, but one that challenges the mind and questions our assumptions. He newest book, Mr. Darcy's Secret, treats the reader to not only an apt display of her literary ability, but also of the aesthetic vision she draws upon in her paintings. As I read the novel, I experienced the same kind of wanderlust I am overcome by when I look at the pictures from her travels on her blog,, as she paints the scenery of Derbyshire and the Lake District in beautifully descriptive language. Indeed, the entire book is like a portrait of the Darcy's after their marriage - a glimpse into the joys and challenges they are likely to experience as they get to know each other and learn to communicate as husband and wife. Like all great paintings, it is not a perfectly pristine image, but one that challenges the mind and questions our assumptions.
Alexa Adams Blogspot

Picking up where Pride and Prejudice left off, Jane Odiwe’s Mr. Darcy’s Secret explores the possibilities of Lizzie and Darcy’s life after the wedding. While there is certainly no dearth of Pride and Prejudice“sequels,” Odiwe’s book stands out for being both original and highly Austen-ish. Reading this book, you can almost imagine that Austen herself is continuing her story. While familiar faces continue to grow and evolve, they still resemble the people we know and love from the original. Add in an intriguing and intricate plot with new characters, secrets to discover and mysteries to unravel and you have a thoroughly enjoyable story. As with Pride and Prejudice, everyone’s favorite literary couple are front and center. Odiwe’s Lizzie and Darcy are very much like Austen’s – Lizzie is still spirited, quick-witted and intelligent, while Darcy can still be arrogant and conceited. But they also learn from each other, changing over time. Lizzie is determined to fit into her husband’s world and prove the naysayers wrong, so she begins to bite her tongue and passively accept the things she cannot change. Darcy, meanwhile, realizes the benefit of tempering his pride and admitting his mistakes. Any Austen fan wants a happily-ever-after for Lizzie and Darcy, of course, and while Odiwe does give it to them, she makes them work for it. The Lizzie and Darcy of Mr. Darcy’s Secret don’t have a perfect marriage. It’s flawed, but it’s also completely realistic and watching them stand up and fight for one another is my favorite part of this book. A handful of subplots include Georgiana discovering her own strength and a certain talent for rebellion, a still-bitter Caroline Bingley falling for an artist and hilariously attempting to impress him, and near-perfect representations of Austen’s most outrageous characters, including Mrs. Bennett and Lady Catherine. The eponymous secret of the title keeps you guessing right up to the end of the novel and, to her credit, Odiwe doesn’t necessarily resolve the mystery neatly. There’s still just a hint of ambiguity, leaving the smallest seed of doubt in readers’ minds. Jane Odiwe’s Mr. Darcy’s Secret is a beautifully written and well-told story that echoes Austen’s original and then takes off in a new and creative direction. It’s a great addition to the ever-growing world of Pride and Prejudice inspired literature – a must-read for any Austen fan or even anyone who has ever wondered what happened after Lizzie and Darcy said, “I do.”
The Librarian Next Door

Jane Odiwe does a fantastic job at making Darcy and Lizzy’s marriage realistic. What I mean by realistic is that it wasn’t perfect. There are little arguments here and there that make it a more believable sequel than others; it stands out above the rest because it’s unafraid to delve into the challenges of Darcy overcoming his brooding personality and Lizzy becoming less impertinent to become a respected woman in society. Odiwe gives us faithful representations of Austen’s characters as well as infusing the story with new characters that could have come from the mind of Austen herself. Most of the sequels that I have read portray Lizzy and Darcy’s marriage as one without conflict and filled with perfection, happiness, and love. And while it is believable that their marriage really could be happy, there is no way it could have been this extreme. The attention paid to Georgiana has made this one my favorite sequels. Georgiana’s story in Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is so sad due to what befalls her at Wickham’s expense. It’s nice to see fan fiction authors give her the opportunity to grow into herself as a woman and as an individual. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to those of you who love continuation pieces to Austen’s masterful classic.
Life and 100 Books
A view from the river of Chatsworth
Mr. Darcy's Secret is a pleasant tale full of clever lines, irony, wit, chance meetings and a bit of a mystery. In a sea of Pride and Prejudice sequels, Jane Odiwe has managed to make Darcy and Elizabeth feel familiar but not redundant. Get your copy because summer reading is on the way. For those of you who are looking for romance without sex scenes, this is the book you have been waiting for. Language: Not Austen, but a lovely flow and words like nonpareil, enjambment, august company. I really like Ms. Odiwe's phrasing: [he was] "rather too sure of himself for her liking." Characterization: At first, I felt like Lizzy and Darcy were not as vibrantly represented as I would have hoped. I kept thinking, where is her impertinence? Why doesn't she just ask Darcy her questions? Upon my second reading, I realized that I always expect Darcy to change once married but never Elizabeth. I think Odiwe is one of the few authors to address Lizzy's nature in this way. (My husband might have a theory or two as to why I think Darcy should do all the changing, but that is a thread that is best not pulled). Darcy is a bit of an enigma, just as he is in Pride and Prejudice. There are many things about him and his point of view that the reader is not meant to understand. (Whether Odiwe meant for this to be the case or not, I credit her with the choice.) And one of the choices he made that I really didn't understand on my first reading, actually makes perfect sense on my second time through, because it mirrors choices he made in Pride and Prejudice. (How was that for vague?) I also like that Darcy is still a brooder and a bit moody post marriage. Isn't it the way that the brooding can feel intense and sexy before marriage but seem a bit hard to deal with afterward? And Miss Bingly is still very much Caroline. For that, I was delighted. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are just as Jane Austen gave them to us and then some. I loved and recognized them right away... Wonderful Little Moments: Many great lines, The Bennets, Caroline, To A Fly by Fitzwilliam Darcy, Mrs. B's "sense of occasion." And Odiwe's description of the Lakes. It made this inside girl actually want to visit those outside lakes. Originality: Great. There have been other books with mysterious pieces of the past, but this felt fresh to me. And I've read A LOT of Pride and Prejudice follow ups. The Moment I was Hooked: The first page: the Bennet's conversation. The last half of the book made me want to steal away throughout the day to read "just a little more. If this book was a movie - it would be rated PG- 13 or maybe even PG, for discussion of ardent moments.
Kelli Crowe

Willoughby's Return - Reviews

Willoughby's Return - Jane Odiwe
John Charles - Booklist
Odiwe's elegantly stylish writing is seasoned with just the right dash of tart humor, and her latest literary endeavor is certain to delight both Austen devotees and Regency romance readers. 

Joceline Bury - Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine
Odiwe’s feeling for Jane Austen’s characters is undeniable – she writes with wit and an enviable lightness of touch, creating a believable world of new possibilities without ever losing sight of the original narrative. Sense and Sensibility is my favourite Austen, and it is quite a treat to have the story continued in such an accomplished and satisfying sequel. 

Austenesque Reviews
“Willoughby's Return” was appropriately romantic, emotional, and passionate. I commend Jane Odiwe for capturing the essence and excellence of “Sense and Sensibility” and continuing the story in a knowledgeable and sympathetic manner. It is obvious that Ms. Odiwe loves and cares greatly for her characters (even the difficult ones), and I feel that Jane Austen loved her characters the same way. I greatly enjoyed this sequel for “Sense and Sensibility” and look forward to more works from Jane Odiwe.

This is Odiwe’s second Austen sequel, and like Lydia Bennet’s Story she has chosen a character in Marianne Brandon that is ruled by impulse and emotion making for surprise and tension – all good elements to an engaging story that she delivers with confidence and aplomb. Developing younger sister Margaret Dashwood brought youth, vivacity and a bit of rebellion against social dictums to the story. Her romance with Henry Lawrence was an excellent choice as she shared the narrative equally with Marianne and balanced the story. Odiwe’s research and passion for the Regency era shine, especially in her descriptions of the country fair and fashions. It is rewarding to see her develop her own style evocative of Austen but totally modern in its sensibility. 
A light and enjoyable read, Willoughby’s Return is a charming tale that sweeps you back into Austen’s mannered world of a young girl searching for love and a married woman realizing it.

Jane Austen Centre Online Magazine

Set four years after the close ofSense and SensibilityWilloughby’s Return starts off apace with a surprise visitor (no, not that one…) plans for a ball and mounting tension in the Brandon household. Marianne Brandon wonders if she has lost that part of herself that used to be so wildly impetuous and romantic. Has marriage and motherhood irrevocably changed the girl that her husband fell in love with… or was he ever in love with her at all? It is possible that he only married her because of her resemblance to his lost love? While their marriage seems outwardly happy, Colonel Brandon’s many extended visits to Eliza Williams and her daughter cause Marianne to wonder if he might find her, so very like her mother, to be his true heart’s home. Meanwhile, at Barton Cottage, Margaret Dashwood prepares for her first grand ball—and an introduction to one on whom all her hopes of future happiness depend. Mrs. Jennings, ever a convenient source of gossip is full of the news of Mrs. Smith’s imminent demise and the return of the Willoughbys to claim Allenham as their own. It is impossible that all should not meet, that relationships and passions once lost should not be rekindled, for Willoughby, too, has not been unaffected by the passing years. Realizing the mistakes of his youth, how he had valued the demands of his pocketbook above those of his heart. Is it too late for true love? Can the past be undone? Are future generations doomed to repeat his mistakes? Fans of Sense and Sensibility will rejoice to find all their old familiar friends (Middletons, Steels, Ferrars and more) once more in “all the old familiar places”. From cozy scenes at Delaford and Barton Cottage to the hectic rush of a Season in London, author Jane Odiwe constructs a compelling tale of love in all its forms. Appealing to all ages, fans of happy endings will be delighted with how the author spins her story, weaving suspense and intrigue into a well-crafted tale that manages to answer the many questions left by the original. True love does conquer all!

A Bibliophile's Bookshelf
Jane Odiwe writes with such eloquence and style that you can’t be helped for thinking that you are reading a Jane Austen book... In characters, plot and style, Willoughby’s Return is so beautifully written, that there is barely a seam between Sense and Sensibilty and Willoughby’s Return.

Jane Austen Today
Like Jane Austen, Jane Odiwe is spare in her descriptions of the characters, but unlike Jane A., she is free with her depiction of an age long gone, of market days and vegetable stalls and flowers in a meadow. An artist as well as a writer, Jane O.'s details of scenery and village life are vivid...Jane O's plot has its twists and turns, the suspense coming from the characters' actions, which comes to a satisfying conclusion only after several misunderstandings are cleared up...Readers who love Jane Austen sequels will find this charming book a more than satisfying read. I give it three out of three Regency fans.

Books Like Breathing 
Odiwe’s portrayal of all of the characters was perfect...I think this may be put on my favorite Jane Austen sequels list...Willoughby’s Return is definitely worth a read if you love Jane Austen sequels but are looking for something new. Grade:A+

Savvy, Verse and Wit
Willoughby's Return: Mood Board
Readers that enjoy Jane Austen's books and the recent spin-offs will enjoy Willoughby's Return - a fast-paced, regency novel with a modern flair.

My Victorian Books 
In this new sequel to Sense and Sensibility, Ms. Odiwe has captured Jane Austen's style with ease and eloquence, making this book a rare reading delight.

Psychotic State
Willoughby’s Return works so well because, as she did with Lydia Bennet’s Story, Ms. Odiwe stayed faithful to the characters Jane Austen originally created and by doing so, Willoughby’s Return reads virtually as a Sense and Sensibility sequel written by Austen herself. I could not wish for a more fluid, yet entertaining, story, nor a more satisfying ending. I raced through the book as I was anxious to find out what would happen, while at the same time dreading for the story to end because I was enjoying myself so much. In my opinion, Ms. Odiwe surpassed herself with this effort and I enjoyed it even more so than I did Lydia Bennet’s Story. 

Smexy Books 
Willoughby's Return is a delightful tale that swept me away for the time I was reading. For those who are looking to return to the Austen world with a very sweet story, I definitely recommend this book.

One Literature Nut 
This is a good story and entertaining follow up to Sense and Sensibility, and one that allows the reader to explore the "what if" factor of a love lost.

Laura's Reviews
Overall this book was a terrific read that I really enjoyed. I highly recommend it to all lovers of Sense and Sensibility, Austen, or just a wonderful romance. This is the best sequel to Sense and Sensibility that I have ever read! The characters are captured perfectly and the story is wonderful.

Lydia Bennet's Story - Reviews

Lydia Bennet's Story - Jane Odiwe
Booklist                                                                                                                                            Odiwe emulates Austen's famous wit, and manages to give Lydia a happily-ever-after ending worthy of any Regency romance heroine. 

Historical Novel Society
The flirtatious Lydia Bennet, the youngest sister in Pride and Prejudice, is the heroine of this delightful Jane Austen sequel....The narrative is interspersed with Lydia's diary entries, which are hilarious.

Foreword Magazine
Odiwe’s Lydia is as wild and reckless as readers of Austen’s novel could imagine. It is satisfying to see a plausible description of their relationship and lifestyle during their marriage, and the few glimpses readers are offered of Elizabeth, Darcy, and other original characters is faithful to the original.
Her new acquaintances are interesting and well developed, and Wickham is just as scandalous as ever. The ending will be a complete surprise.

Publisher's Weekly
In this pleasant addition to the growing microgenre of Austen knockoffs, Odiwe pays nice homage to Austen’s stylings and endears the reader to the formerly secondary character, spoiled and impulsive Lydia Bennet... devotees will enjoy

Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine
Jane us a heroine who is remarkably likeable...Lydia's diary... a catalogue of frivolity - reveals a great sense of fun, an engaging lack of self-pity and an unerring eye for a good-looking chap ...(Odiwe's) technique of interspersing third person narrative with 'diary extracts' works particularly well as a way of counterpointing the disastrous events in Lydia's life with her indomitable optimism and spirit.

The Bath Chronicle
A new twist in the tale for Austen's Lydia. Jane Austen fans are in for a treat with Jane Odiwe's sequel to Pride and Prejudice detailing Lydia Bennet's story. Lydia, the thoughtless, conceited younger daughter who was only interested in flirting with officers and getting married before her sisters, has a chance to redeem herself in this novel. Creatively interweaving the narrative with extracts from Lydia's diary, the reader begins to understand her actions and the motives of others. Throughout the book new friends are introduced and old ones are revisited against a vivid background of Regency England. In Bath, all the familiar haunts from Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are revisited; the Pump Room, the Upper Rooms, Queen Square and even Gravel Walk.
An unexpected twist brings about a happy ending for Lydia.

Diana Birchall - author of Mrs Darcy's Dilemma and Mrs Elton in America
Lydia lives! Elizabeth Bennet's naughty little sister takes centre stage in a breathtaking Regency romp all of her own, told with authoritative period elegance by Jane Odiwe's eleoquent pen.

Jane Austen Today
Lydia Bennet’s Story: A Sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Jane Odiwe is a fun and spirited romance. Simply know that when you purchase this novel, you will be transported to Brighton and London and all their Regency charms, and revisit some of your favorite Pride & Prejudice characters.
Jane Odiwe has a knack for describing the settings in her narrative, and writing in Lydia’s breathless tone in the journals. I enjoyed the book, much to my surprise. I only say this because I generally don’t read sequels. This one was entertaining, and had me turning the page to find out how the story ends.

...what Jane Austen introduced Jane Odiwe has cleverly expanded upon picking up the plot and style without missing a beat. Not only are we reminded that thoughtless, wild and outspoken Lydia is “the most determined flirt that ever made herself and her family ridiculous,” we begin to understand (but not always agree) with her reasoning’s and are swept up in the story like a new bonnet bought on impulse. Oh, to be but sixteen again without a care in the world except the latest fashions, local gossip, and which officer to dance with at the next Assembly are a delightful foundation for this excursion into Austenland that is both an amusement and a gentle morality story.
How it all turns out for the young lady from Longbourn in Hertfordshire, I will not say. However, I will only allude that the concluding adventure of the most determined flirt to ever make her family ridiculous, might make Jane Austen smile. Lydia Bennet’s Story Adventure is rollicking good fun with a surpise twist. Now that my hope of a novel about her has come to fruition, it can only be surpassed by Lydia Bennet the movie. Imagine what folly and fun would ensue. La! 

The Jane Austen Centre web site
New friends are introduced and old ones are revisited with grace and charm. Romances are concocted, and hearts are won and lost against a vivid background of Regency England. Brighton is brought forth in all its gaudy splendor; a whole camp full of soldiers with balls and parties every night. Newcastle becomes a real place, far more than just a northern banishment; a seaside city full of full of merchants and warehouses, shops and gossips. In Bath, all the familiar haunts from Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are revisited; the Pump Room, the Upper Rooms, Queen's Square and even the Gravel Walk, so often the trysting place of young couples.
With an unexpected plot twist the story of young Lydia rapidly comes to its satisfying conclusion. Readers will not be disappointed by the creative way the author brings justice to all. Lydia's story is thoroughly entertaining. Despite the illicit nature of the Wickham's relationship at first, readers will find the matter delicately handled with no reason to blush. Lydia's voice is sweet and lively. Hers is not a nature to be weighed down by care or sorrow. A greater understanding of her nature and situation brings the reader a new compassion for her and an admiration for her overcoming spirit.
Lydia Bennet was, indeed, born to an extraordinary fate, and I, for one, am grateful to Ms. Odiwe for sharing her story.

I've just finished this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lydia was lively and fun, just as she is in Pride and Prejudice, and there were some appearances by the Darcys and the Bingleys as well as the rest of Lydia's family.
Lydia's story starts at Longbourn. It's written as a novel, but every now and again the narrative is interspersed with Lydia's journal entries, which provide interest and novelty. The tone is very bright and lively, just like Lydia, and her journal entries are very funny. I often laughed out loud, which is not something I do with many books.
It's a funny book, written with a detailed knowledge of Pride and Prejudice, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Diary of an Eccentric
Odiwe's writing style made me feel almost as though I were actually reading Austen. I had to remind myself it was a sequel several times.
I know not everyone enjoys Pride & Prejudice sequels; there are a lot of them out there. But if you like Jane Austen and her heroines, I recommend Lydia Bennet's Story. Lydia Bennet is not a name that comes to mind when thinking about Austen's heroines, but Odiwe's story of Lydia's adventures shows her strength and shows that there's more to the flighty Bennet sister than meets the eye

Reader's Respite
The term "sequel," I am happy to report, has no application whatsoever to Jane Odiwe's delightful novel, Lydia Bennet's Story.
By the end of the story, Lydia's actions were quite forgivable in my eyes. She made mistakes many of us can sympathize with, having made many of them ourselves, albeit in a different century. Over-weening pride - an allusion to the novel from which she springs - only compounds her misjudgments... the novel is lighthearted enough for enjoyable read and I was quite pleased to discover that it may be considered a stand-alone story, meaning that one need not be an Austen aficionado nor even to have read Pride and Prejudice in order to enjoy this book. If, however, you are a serious Austen fan and are loath to try reading one of the many "sequels," you can safely set aside that fear in this instance and sit down with a very enjoyable tale. Happy reading!

Jane Odiwe has given Lydia Bennet a plausible backstory that, if it doesn’t redeem her, at least gives her the benefit of the doubt; and a happier ending than one would expect, and happier than the cynical Janeite might think she probably deserves.
...absorbing and well-written, sexy without being explicit, and like the best of such alternative-viewpoint Austen paraliterature, we get a new, thoughtful, and sympathetic perspective on a well-known, well-loved classic.


A good opening line can instantly vitalize a novel...Jane Odiwe sets her scene exceedingly well: "The true misfortune, which besets any young lady destined for fortune and favour, is to find that she has been born into an unsuitable family." The two books share many characteristics: they grab the reader from the beginning; sustain momentum; and present work of talented authors. They likewise extract from Austen two bad boys everyone loves to hate,...and pivot their denouements upon ill-advised marriages, for ultimately these men stray from the fold. Blending narrative with diary extracts, Jane Odiwe presents Lydia in all her giddy, officer-hungry glory. Odiwe's subtle and pointed conveyance of a character's manners or foibles in a few words is a delight - an example, Lydia's asides concerning her mother. While burning an unwanted gift from a potential lover, Lydia comments, "It caught the attention of my mother who is generally not so observant but she has a suspicious nature." Mrs Bennet is seen only through Lydia's eyes, and this manner of characterization is Odiwe's asset, especially when dealing with the popular Darcys and Bingleys. She paints the two couples very lightly, and thereby avoids upsetting the reverence they generate in many Austen fans. Lydia Bennet's Story stands on its own, though the action and characters from P&P are utilized as needed, usually via a few deft references. Lydia's time in Brighton, among the uniforms she so adores, comprises the early section of the novel; by mid-point she and Wickham have been discovered by Darcy and are wed, though happiness is definitely not on the horizon. Wickham is already on the outlook for his next conquest, and the diary device allows revelations of Lydia's more secret traits. Concerning her move to Newcastle, the new Mrs. Wickham discloses, "What I would really like is a house on the higher slopes of town whre the wealthy are settling, not timbered lodgings in the old part of town." One spouse with a roving eye, the other with illusions of grandeur, spells trouble.                                                                                                Readers who wish for a little sensuality in their Austen might welcome Lydia's gentle trysts, though one might expect a bit more effort on Mr. Wickham's part for this overt cad to have won his Lydia. His real competition comes from the Rev. Alexander Fitzalan, brother of Lydia's friend Isabella. This pair undeniably forms the romantic center of the novel. Readers will stay up late in order to finish Lydia Bennet's Story quickly and leave well pleased with a nice narrative.

Savvy, Verse and Wit
Lydia Bennet's Story does not miss a beat, Odiwe has a strong command of Austen's language, style, and characters, but she puts her own flare on the wild maven that is Lydia.
Readers of Jane Austen and Austen enthusiasts will enjoy this novel, but even those readers looking for a fast-paced "romance" will enjoy Lydia Bennet's Story.

The Reviewer
I loved this book. I fully expected to hate this book. I expected to finish it and thank my lucky stars that I only had one Austen related book on my desk. I was sad when this book ended.

A Wonderful Austen Sequel.
I enjoyed Lydia Bennet's Story immensely. It was a fun story with everything I love about good Regency fiction - good writing, plenty of period descriptions and background information that lend authenticity, and romance that is exciting but not over the top. Odiwe did an excellent job of staying true to Austen's style while creating new characters and plots to make the story fresh and interesting. She also gave me a new appreciation for the character of Lydia. In an age of numerous Austen sequels, this one is definitely worth reading.

Diary of an Eccentric
I recommend Lydia Bennet's Story. Lydia Bennet is not a name that comes to mind when thinking about Austen's heroines, but Odiwe's story of Lydia's adventures shows her strength and shows that there's more to the flighty Bennet sister than meets the eye.

Book Zombie
Lydia Bennet’s Story is not only a terrific story but also a wonderful example of Jane Odiwe’s talent at character development. With just a bit of background she has transformed Lydia into a character worthy of her own novel. I believe this is a fantastic Austen sequel, because it changes nothing of the original Austen creations, instead it digs deeper and adds more personality to a secondary character creating a story line that veers in another direction.

Pictures and Conversations Austen's stories, the plot always takes a backseat to tone and wit. Lydia Bennet's Story is no different. While some of the comments are more ribald than dear Jane would have penned, Odiwe really captures the playful social commentary that Austen loved to present.

Library Queue
Lydia Bennet's Story is a fun Regency period read. It was a little naughty for me in some parts, complete with heaving bosoms, but overall I found it enjoyable and true to the Austen spirit.

Once upon a Romance.
Lydia Bennet's Story gives great insight into Lydia's character and spins an entertaining tale of Lydia's life. Lydia Bennet's Story is an entertaining story, which shows Lydia in a sympathetic light. Ms. Odiwe does something, that I thought nearly impossible--redeem Lydia Bennet.

Reading Romance books
...entertaining to read. Lydia learned from her folly and matured somewhat, though not changing in essentials. I was happy to see that things ended ideally for her.

Book Blogger's Diary
The author nicely makes use of existing material on Lydia Bennet to incorporate, and later expand on, in her own style to craft a story that's overall fun and makes for light, entertaining reading.

Random Jottings
Jane Odiwe has caught Lydia's gushing, breathless manner beautifully in those parts of the book which are purporting to be her diary.

Jane Austen in Vermont
And how rich that Austen’s flighty Lydia becomes Odiwe’s ‘fish out of water’ in the very first sentence of the first narrative chapter: ‘The true misfortune, which besets any young lady who believes herself destined for fortune and favour, is to find that she has been born into an unsuitable family.’ A stronger opening has seldom been set down on paper. Lydia’s self-contention of being a child snatched from noble parents at birth nicely sets up the story to come, positioning the reader firmly on Lydia’s side.

India Jane's Bookshelf
I'm kind of picky about Pride and Prejudice sequels or knock-offs. I loved Pamela Aidan's Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series. Other than that, most of them haven't passed muster.
I'm not a huge Austen fan, but I am an Austen fan. I won't likely notice if small details in the story don't jibe, but there is a certain feeling that needs to be present in a successful Austen sequel. And, as a historically-educated book freak, I hate anachronisms and the endowing of regency-era characters with modern sentiments.
So I always pick these books up with a dubious spirit. In fact, one of the two I brought home this time probably won't even be read after my daughter told me what she, Austen fan extraordinaire, had heard about it. But this book, Lydia Bennet's Story by Jane Odiwe is delightful.
It lets us into the head of Lydia, who is every bit as silly and naughty as we thought, and we see the events from her point of view. Maybe it is just because I was a very silly teen, but I found the depiction of Lydia's thoughts to be very realistic. I like the way the author didn't try to infuse Lydia with some modern sentiments that led her to behave in an unconventional way. She let her be what she was written as: a rather willful, silly, romantic twit.
The story that is added--the what came after--also fits the events of P&P and is true to the characters. It gave me a satisfying sense that yes, this could be how Lydia's story turns out. A most enjoyable read.