This past summer I read Regina Jeffers’s Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion, a retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion from Wentworth’s perspective. Originally published as Wayward Love: Captain Frederick Wentworth’s Story in 2009, this novel is a welcome addition to the ever-increasing number of Jane Austen rewrites, continuations, and adaptations.

I’ve written before about how much I like Jeffers’s previous novels, Vampire Darcy’s Desire and Darcy’s Passions. Since Persuasion is my favorite of Austen’s novels, I was eager to see what Jeffers would do with it. She does not disappoint.

Captain Wentworth’s Persuasion begins shortly after Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot’s marriage. Napoleon has escaped from Elba, and Wentworth has been called back into service to captain a ship. Anne is with him on board when her husband is wounded during an attack on a French frigate. As she nurses him back to health, he recalls their original courtship and then their reunion eight years later. Through his flashbacks, we see the events of Austen’s novel from his point of view.

Two things immediately appeal to me about this narrative method. First, I like that Jeffers constantly moves back and forth between the past and the present. This back and forth tends to build suspense as we aren’t sure of the outcome of Wentworth’s wound. And even if we assume that Jeffers isn’t going to kill off our hero, we still don’t know where this plot will take us. I like that a lot — it makes for a much more interesting read than a straight up rewrite of Austen’s tale. Jeffers then takes the story a step further by moving beyond the war, letting us know what happens to Anne and Frederick afterward.

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