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At the beginning of Chapter One, August 1815, Jane is sitting at her writing desk at Chawton cottage, wistfully reminiscing about Captain Philippe Devereaux, a man she had met years before at the wedding of her brother, Henry. Love had bloomed from that encounter. I quote Jane’s thoughts according to Ms. Winslow.
‘My fires are at least tolerably quenched, and I have reconciled myself to the prudence of never fanning the remaining embers ablaze again. Instead, I have determined to steep the warm essence of my recollections into a novel about youthful errors, mature love, and second chances – to write the story I would have preferred for myself, one which embodies all the early promise of the genuine article but a more felicitous conclusion than providence has seen fit to authorize. I shall call my captain Frederick Wentworth, and his lady will be Anne Elliot.’
Thus Persuasion was born to mirror her relationship with Captain Devereaux but with a much happier ending. What follows is a wonderfully imaginative tale of life, love, twists of fate and disappointments as Jane lived them, the very heart of this story.
Ms. Winslow includes passages from Persuasion, as if Jane is writing them as she recalls similar incidents from her own life. We get to see in her mind why she wrote what she wrote, how it deviated from her life and how it was similar. It was fascinating, even more so because Shannon Winslow writes in a voice similar to that of Jane Austen. I loved the tidbits from the other writings of Jane Austen interspersed throughout the story, as well. They made me smile with pleasure as I read.
Although the happily ever after of her characters comes much quicker and with much less struggles than her own, we are left with the happy prospect of a wonderfully imaginative outcome for dear Jane. I enjoyed the vision put forth by Ms. Winslow and her research to arrive at this poignant possibility.
I felt the pain and agony experienced by Jane as the years passed and her life moved on. I felt her determination to continue, to write as an outlet, to tell her story through her novel and give her heroine what she herself wished so desperately to have. It was a touching tale that left me thinking on it for several days. I wished and even longed for that outcome for dear Jane. I recommend this novel to anyone who loves Jane Austen and her writings.
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Shannon Winslow, I love the cover of this novel. It fits perfectly with story inside.
Readers, if you leave a comment here and at Shannon Winslow's post on Tuesday, the 11th of August, you will double your chances of winning a signed paperback or one of two eBooks of Miss Georgiana Darcy of Pemberley. That's right! Leave a comment here and at her post and you will get two chances at this fabulous giveaway. I am extending the giveaway period two days. It will now end at 11:59 PM on the 19th of August. Please have your share in the conversation by leaving a comment and including your contact information. Good luck to all and thanks for visiting.