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Book review: Searching for Captain Wentworth by Jane Odiwe

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 Wentworth. Here’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. Read more

#fridayflash : London Nights

Jane hopes that she doesn’t meet Richard Curtis anytime soon. If she did, she’d tell him exactly what she thinks of his movies.

Especially if it were raining when they met.

Because Jane notices when it rains in London. Jeez, does anyone not? Yes. Looking at you, Andie MacDowell! Jane doesn’t think that having Hugh Grant’s character, or any other man for that matter, being a boy, standing in front of a girl, asking her to… whatever he wanted to freaking well ask her, and could ask her just fine in a dry coffee shop or bar somewhere, would stop her from noticing, actually. London rain either whips around and through you, cutting into your skin or it seeps into your very soul until you feel cold, damp and frizzy and NOT REMOTELY lovely and serene.

Originally, Jane wanted to tell Richard Curtis what she liked best about his films: the self-deprecating and quirky humour; the male heroes who fight like girls and have floppier hair; the way that a disparate range of beautiful people and eccentrics come together to form a cosy circle of friends; the way he made daunting, big city London feel more like it was made up of villages or communities, each with their own distinct personality. But damn it, the man has pushed her to her very limits and she will not be telling him that ANY LONGER. No, she won’t. At least, not until he’s apologised for getting her over here under false pretences. And then – and ONLY then – might she reconsider. Read more

#fridayflash : Society

“No luck, mate?”

“Nah, they won’t let me in. Confiscated my membership card, then said I don’t belong. Gits.”

“I tell you that Society place used to be alright, you know, but it’s gone downhill. It’s got so they’ll only let a certain sort in, yeah? I remember going there all the time when I was younger. ‘Course it’s changed hands a few times since then, and the new owners always want to shake things up a bit, don’t they? Never heard the saying, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, have they? Oh, no! They take a perfectly okay club and want to change stuff just to leave their mark on it. Never change the name though, do they? Oh, I know the last lot tried to sex it up by putting BIG in front of the name but it didn’t fool anyone, that. No one used it except if they were having a laugh about it and how up their own arses the new owners had got. I don’t think the likes of you and me’ll ever get in again. I shouldn’t wonder if more of our sort’ll be joining us here soon, and where will we go, eh? There’s precious few places left, not ones where we’re still welcome, rather than simply tolerated, at any rate.”

“You ain’t wrong there.”

“Have you tried round the back? You could sneak in. You look in fairly good shape for your age, I’m sure you could manage that fire escape. It don’t look too legal but I reckon it’d hold, if you took it gradual, like.”

“Oh, I couldn’t do that. It wouldn’t be right, sneaking around like that. I just… no. No. How could you even suggest that?!” Read more

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