Tuesday, September 14, 2010

None But You - Susan Kaye

Title: None But You (Frederick Wentworth, Captain: Book One)
Author: Susan Kaye

Genre: Fiction (Historical; Jane Austen)

Love/Hate?: Love!
Rating: 5/5
Did I finish?: Yes, although slowed by my constant pauses to savor and daydream over a scene!

One-sentence summary: Jane Austen's Persuasion from Capt. Wentworth's point of view.

Why did I get this book?: My Austen challenge plus I've a giant crush on Wentworth.
Source: Public library
Challenges: Historical Fiction, Jane Austen is my Homegirl, Support Your Local Library

Do you like the cover?: Yes, although it's quite understated.

First line from book: Captain Wentworth, thank you for inviting Anne and me.

Did... I learn interesting trivia about the British navy?: Yes, like the source of 'letting the cat out of the bag'!

Did... I envision Ciarán Hind the entire time I read this book?: Yes, and it only enhanced the experience.

Did... I take forever to finish this book because I kept pausing to daydream over scene after scene?: Uhm, yes. It's better than any movie.

Review: As I've admitted before, Persuasion ranks very close to my favorite Austen novel, so I just couldn't resist this two book series from Wentworth's point of view.

I'm kind of bubbling over with excitement about this book (I'm dying to read the sequel, For You Alone) as it has so many great elements. Of course, there's a compelling plot line (thanks to Austen), but Kaye isn't lazy with her storytelling. She takes what we know in Persuasion but fills out all the blanks regarding Capt. Frederick Wentworth: his thoughts, his feelings, his back story.

The writing has the lovely heft of a good historical novel but excellent pacing and marvelous characters. Again, Kaye is helped by Austen's original work, but she does an excellent job of filling them out and breathing life into them without making them seem anachronistic or out-of-character. I was particularly struck by the fleshing out of Wentworth: Kaye's research into Naval life post-Napoleonic Wars is fascinating to read, heavily infused into the story without being cumbersome.

As a fan of Persuasion, this was a beautiful retelling of the story that left me very satisfied and wildly eager for the sequel. I don't think one has to be an Austen or Persuasion fan to enjoy this book; it's a wonderful, readable historical novel in it's own right.


  1. I do like Jane Austen but am wary of spinoffs. Sounds as though this author may be worth reading so I'll look out for her books.

  2. Cat, I can appreciate your wariness, and you may not enjoy the sequel to this one as it has far more non-canonical plotting than this book. This book is scene-for-scene from Persuasion and even incorporates exact dialogue -- but of course, from the view of Wentworth. I pulled out my Persuasion the other day and realized that a very lovely scene in this book was articled purely out of a single line from Austen's, and I'm impressed with Kaye's ability to really inhabit Austen characters. If you do read, I'd love to find out what you thought!

  3. er, I meant 'articulated' purely out of...rather than 'articled'