Monday, September 7, 2009

Captain Wentworth's Diary by Amanda Grange

It is 1806, and Frederick Wentworth, a brilliant young man with a flourishing career in the navy, falls in love with Anne Elliot. The two become engaged, but Anne's godmother persuades Anne to change her mind, leaving Wentworth to go back to sea. Eight years pass, and Wentworth is now a seasoned captain with a fortune at his disposal. Anne's bloom has faded, yet she has the same sensibilities and superior mind she had eight years earlier, and before he knows it, Wentworth is falling in love with her all over again. Can there be a happy outcome for them this time around?

Persuasion is my favourite Jane Austen book so it was with high expectations that I started this story, supposedly Captain's Wentworth's version of the events. The first chapters of the book report Wentworth and Anne's meeting 8 years before Persuasion starts and so come solely out of Amanda Grange's imagination. When they meet Wentworth, at first, mistakes her for a maid and asks her for a dance to save her from the arrogant Miss Elliott. The story proceeds as the two meet at several social functions and Frederick falls in love with Anne. He proposes and is accepted but, on the next day, Anne refuses him after being persuaded to do so by Lady Russell. He becomes understandably angry and leaves decided to seek his fortune and forget all about her. Then we jump 8 years and are in familiar ground with the retelling of the well known story.

I must say that I did enjoy the book, it was a nice story and it followed Austen's lead pretty closely, the dialogues, the situations; everything is similar to the original. However I think Commander Wentworth has a very youthful voice that went well with the man in the first chapters but lacked gravity in the latter part of the story, the man who wrote "you pierce my soul" would, I feel, have a more serious and anguished approach to Anne and her reactions to him. I wanted more of his reflections about what was happening and I didn't feel I got to know Anne better or to understand why both she and Fanny were such superior women. Jane Austen's wit is also absent (except where the dialogues are the original) and somehow a witty dialogue could have made up for much.

Still I did enjoy it, it was very easy to read and fans of Persuasion will definitely like to know more about Captain Wentworth.

Grade: 4/5


  1. I had not yet heard of this book, but your review makes it sound like a must read for me. I love all things Jane Austin, so this book is really of an interest to me. Thanks for the great review!

  2. I wasn't completely in love with her Darcy's diary either. I felt it made Darcy too needy and whiny. Capt Wentworth absolutley felt anguish and it would be nice to read that perspective.
    Thanks for the review.