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on 1 July 2009
I think most readers and lovers of Austen will know before picking up these pastiches and "extensions" whether or not it is their "scene" and therefore should not be hypercritical simply because a writer has attempted one. I have not read many of them and so tried to approach this one from a neutral POV. Capt Wentworth and Col Brandon are two of my favourite Austen male characters so I was intrigued to see what the author would do with them.

The story is a good "fit" with Persuasion and I think that overall the author has done a good job of creating a workable synergy. She fills in some gaps, shows how the initial courtship may have progressed and imagines Frederick's feelings about it and the resulting rejection. I liked his brother Edward who gets quite a central role in this book and is that sort of robust, jolly, down to earth, sensible clergyman so much missed today in the C of E. I'd have liked to learnt more about his story and his wife.

If there is a downside to the story, for me it is that I am not now so sure if I still love Capt Wentworth. In some respects, he is a little hard on Anne (owing, I suppose, to his own youth initially) but once he meets Anne again, I thought that he does act pretty realistically for a young and ambitious man. He is pretty class conscious himself making a good match for Sir Walter's snobbery. And yet, he has friends and family who are strictly middle class. Somehow, the author has given him not one but two clay feet and in doing so, has rubbed off a little of his romantic glow.

I agree with the reviewer here who said it was as well that the author did not attempt to write about his naval career - that would have been very much against the grain of Austen's stories because she never directly alludes to current events in her life.

All in all I think this was a pretty good effort and I look forward to reading Col Brandon's story which I think ought to be quite interesting.
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on 1 July 2009
I've been a Jane Austen fan for over 40 years and I constantly wish she had written more books. I visited the Jane Austen Centre in Bath and saw this book - I had re-read (for the 100th time!) Persuasion on my way to Bath and thought I'd give this a try - not really expecting much because I have found follow ups and imitations of Jane very poor - but I really enjoyed this - he sounded just like Captain Wentworth - I read it all in the 4 hour journey home and I'm now tempted to try Mr Darcy and Colonel Brandon's diaries. My favourite male character is Edward Ferrers from Sense and Sensibility so fingers crossed Amanda will write his too.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 August 2009
This novel is Amanda Grange's attempt to fill in some of the blanks left for the reader of the Jane Austen novel Persuasion. It gives us the perspective of the happenings in that novel from Captain Frederick Wentworth's point of view.

I enjoyed reading this book. I did not realize that the first 117 pages would all be this authors imaginings of the meeting and then gentle courtship between Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth. We are given much detail of the meetings between these two characters and are allowed to see how their admiration for each other turns to love. Commander Wentworth (his rank at that point in the story) was understandably stunned when Anne Elliot told him that she could not accept his offer of marriage after all. He reacted in a completely normal way, he was hurt, surprised, and very angry. So angry that he immediately left the area determined never to think about her again.

The story picks up eight years later. I am glad that the author did not give us any details of what happened to Wentworth (now having the rank of Captain) during the time of his battling the French in the war with Napoleon. Instead, we see what he was doing during these years through reminiscences with Harville and Benwick. When Frederick goes back into Somersetshire he feels Anne has lost her youth, her beauty and her bloom. Yet after only a short time of being around her he finds himself wondering if he has actually managed to erase all tender feelings for her after all.

I have now read three of these 'interpretations' of Jane Austen novels as written by Amanda Grange. Of Mr. Darcy's Diary, Mr. Knightley's Diary, and Captain Wentworth's Diary, I can definitely say that I enjoyed Mr. Darcy's Diary the most. After that would have to come Captain Wentworth's Diary. I thought Ms Grange managed to write about the time when Anne and Frederick were meeting and falling in love very well. She made me see Frederick as a caring, concerned, loving suitor for Anne. As always, Ms Grange followed the original novel very closely except in places where there was no information given in the original. I enjoyed this book and can say that I think Jane Austen fans who are not quite so determined in having an author follow the exact example set down by Miss Austen will be able to enjoy this book. Anyone expecting to read an exact extension in wording and thoughts of the Austen works will not be quite so satisfied.
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on 27 November 2008
Amanda Grange's writing style is always very pleasant to read and this book was no different. She continues her theme of writing some of Jane Austen's stories from the hero's point of view, supposedly in diary form (although I doubt any gentlemen of that era would have written diaries quite like these!)

Captain Wentworth is the hero of 'Persuasion', a book which starts eight years after the characters had first met, become engaged, broken the engagement and moved on to separate lives. In Amanda Grange's book almost half of the text is given up to that time in 1806 when Wentworth and Miss Anne Elliot first meet and fall in love. We see how they meet each other, how they get to spend a little time with each other and how Wentworth gradually begins to realise the value of Anne and that she and he have compatible minds and ideas. The second half of the book follows Austen's story from Wentworth's point of view with many scenes and dialogue the same and others extended. Much less attention is paid in this book to some of the other characters (for example the younger Mr Elliot) and in fact the book seems to go by quite quickly.

Although we are reading events and feelings written by Captain Wentworth I didn't feel I knew him any better after this book than I had from reading Austen's one, and Anne less so. However the story was very enjoyable to read, even if one knew how it would end, and I didn't feel the author took any liberties with Austen's ideas. There were a few little slips into American English (the verb 'to quit' was used a few times and the concept of 'visiting with' someone used in a non-English way) but mostly this was a very successful read and one that would appeal to most Austen fans, particularly those who would have liked to know how Wentworth and Anne Elliot first got to know each other.

Originally published for Curled Up With A Good Book © Helen Hancox 2008
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on 13 July 2015
Don't waste your money on this pale imitation, just read Persuasion.
So glad I bought it from a charity shop to which it speedily returned.
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on 2 September 2007
I was too anxious to wait for the U.S. release so I impatiently paid a small fortune for a hardback copy from the U.K. From the time UPS delivered it until I finished it sometime around 3 a.m., I was thoroughly engaged. As in Mr. Darcy's Diary, Amanda Grange masterfully writes Captain Wentworth with a strong, clear voice lightly seasoned with a sense of humor. I so enjoyed reading his observations and his interpretations of each situation. My heart was all static any time Anne and he would have any conversation or when he would recall anything about her. It was most delightful to read his innermost thoughts as he discovered, or admitted rather, his unyielding love for Anne. Most satisfied and highly recommended.
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on 23 January 2011
No surprises as this is one for Austen fans, a good knowledge of the original makes it a much more enjoyable read and thankfully it doesn't alter the original characterisations and situations too much. The general style and language doesn't jar too much and I spent a really pleasant afternoon reading it.

It's good to read from Wentworth's point of view and I particularly enjoyed the first section which covers the initial romance. It's good that Grange doesn't try to make him too modern in over analysing his feelings and it all still works out in the end!
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on 5 August 2013
A fun and entertaining read that sheds light on Anne and Wentworth's infamous first engagement and his 'week, unjust or resentful' feelings after it. It is funny and smart in places, moving and sweet in others it is everything you would expect from a romantic novel.

Although it lacks Austen's wit and is nothing new or original (obviously) as it follows the plot of the original novel; fans of the original novel will appreciate nods to Austen's text, reworks of classic quotes and of course the retention of the classic, beautiful love story. Even the famous love letter remains in tact!

It might not be ground-breakingly inventive or the best book ever written but it is still a light, enjoyable read and retains wit and funny scenes that makes Austen's original so great. Seeing more about Wentworth's past is fascinating and Grange really manages to unpick what makes the character tick and explain his actions in a believable, sympathetic manner.
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on 30 September 2012
It's 1806, and keen naval officer Frederick Wentworth is on shore and visiting his brother Edward, a clergyman in a country village. Though both young bachelors in a rural environment where marriage material may be in short supply, Frederick doesn't anticipate much fun in the Uppercross area. That is, until he meets Miss Anne Elliott, the younger daughter of Sir Walter, the snobbish baronet resident of Kellynch Hall...

'Captain Wentworth's Diary' is a very engaging version of Jane Austen's 'Persuasion', told entirely from the viewpoint of its naval hero. Cleverly taking the reader back in time to when the two first met and fell in love, then moving forward to catch up with the original story's time frame and a little beyond, it is a really good read, not only enlarging on the original tale but also making us more acquainted with such characters as Frederick's brother Edward and his naval friends.
Recommended, especially to Austen fans.
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on 1 June 2014
Our dashing Captain has turned into a rather sulky young man, fortunately he recovers some of his former character in the second half of the book much of which consists of the original story and dialogue. However I did enjoy reading the story through his eyes and will read more of Amanda Grange.
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