I read Persuasion (once again!) last month and was then surprised to see that Susan Kaye had written this book presenting the story from the viewpoint of Captain Frederick Wentworth. I read the review on the book page and decided to order it. I am most happy that I made that decision. I found this book to be a fascinating indication of how Ms Kaye perceived Frederick Wentworth.
This book does not just give readers the Frederick Wentworth we all know from the Jane Austen novel. It takes up during the time Captain Wentworth is still living his life with no expectation of having Anne Elliot in it in the future. I absolutely loved the details Ms Kaye provided regarding the men who choose the naval life and information regarding their career. I also appreciated her explanation for why a captain of a ship could have so much free time on his hands so he could go for an extended visit to his brother and sister. A large portion of this novel takes place before Admiral and Mrs Croft become the tenants of Kellynch Hall, while Frederick is still under the impression that Anne is gone from his life forever. We see their past history told in small pieces, with a wealth of detail added showing how this author thinks their engagement might have been ended. All of this portion of the book is the idea of Ms Kaye but I was happy to accept it as possible episodes which could have taken place between Anne and Frederick. When Frederick does meet Anne once more he is convinced that he is totally immune to her charms and indeed is determined to find some woman, but not Anne, to be his wife. He knows that it is time for him to consider marriage and so he sets about selecting the woman to fit that need.
I really enjoyed the characterization of Louisa Musgrove and Frederick's reactions to her. It fit my ideas of her very closely and I appreciated seeing his reactions to her. I also loved how Frederick was able to view the household of the entire Musgrove family and compare it to his own childhood. It gave me a lot to think about regarding his character formation.
This book leaves off after the episode of Louisa's accident at Lyme. We are told that she is recovering, but then comes the cliffhanger. We will all just have to wait until Book Two to finish off this story. I can hardly wait to read how Susan Kaye imagines all the interactions at Bath, not to mention the heir, Mr. Elliot.
Persuasion is my favourite book. I have read the book every year for about 15 eyars. I have watched the BBC adaptation (which is incredibly faithful to the original book) about 25 times - possibly more. So I feel like I am a bit of a know it all when it comes to the original book. I was therefore delighted to be able to read "None But You" which begins with Capt Wentworth arriving back from being at war on his ship. Half of the book centres around this and his reuniting with Capt Bennick and Harville. Then, finally he meets Anne again. I really enjoyed this book even though I did feel that at times some bits were not as I had imagined them myself, but all in all I though that Susan Kaye did a good job of bringing Capt Wentworth's side of the story to life. I am eager now to read the next installment which I understand comes out later this year (2008).
A few lost opportunities in this book. Frederick and George's relationship left unfinished or concluded. Frederick and Edward also left unfinished. Frederick and Ms Russell. I think that was a little lazy or perhaps that could be the preparation for the next book. I also think that not having a wedding was a missed opportunity to right all the wrongs done to Anne. We all know her long-lived torture that she has not had proper attention and yet once again, her big day became a blip. How sad and unjust. Also too much was made of the disclosure of Fanny's death ... only for Benwick to no longer feature in the rest of the book after the accident ??? There also lacked a rising of physical attraction between them. Lastly, the writer has a bit of a muddled style when moving from one scene to another or one time period to another. Makes me want to write my own book to set things to right. Sorry, this book was just OK.