Today's guest here on My Jane Austen Book Club is Juliet Archer. She was already here on 15th September, on occasion of the release of her PERSUADE ME, a modern retelling of Persuasion, Jane Austen's last novel.
In this guestblog she answers one of the questions I sent her for my interview. She liked it so much, she asked me to write a separate post. What's Captain Wentworth X-factor? Enjoy her piece, answer the question yourself in your comment and enter the giveaway of a copy of PERSUADE ME. Don't forget your e-mail address, please.
This was originally one of Maria’s questions. I liked it so much that I asked to write a separate guest blog on it!
When Anne first falls in love with Wentworth, he has all the right ingredients to succeed (apart from the wealth and position that her family value most), but these have yet to be put to the test. The man who shows up years later is outwardly a success, but emotionally a wreck. And, it seems, the woman who hurt him is the only one who can heal him. But he has to change to win her back, just as she has to leave her comfort zone and earn his trust.
I think his X-factor is his heroic struggle to overcome his previous pain and disappointment; but he only achieves this by discovering – and appreciating – Anne’s worth all over again.
So, what about my version – Dr Rick Wentworth? The outward trappings may have changed – he’s a scientist rather than a naval captain, and he’s been in Australia for ten years instead of in the Napoleonic Wars for eight – but in essence he’s the same damaged hero as Austen’s original. He’s still a self-made man, a sharp contrast to Sir Walter with his inherited wealth and privilege. His strong relationship with his sister Sophie Croft and her husband remains, as does his instinctive kindness to Anne at Uppercross, rescuing her from one of the unruly Musgrove boys and arranging a lift for her on the walk.
All you Austen addicts will notice some differences. For example, there’s more tension initially between Wentworth and Charles Musgrove, with Rick suspecting the worst about him and Anna, and no apparent reconciliation with Lady Russell. My story hints at a hard working-class upbringing for Wentworth, a common factor for many English self-made men. And being a celebrity today – even a minor one – involves much more than having one’s career documented in the Navy List!
But Rick still buys an umbrella in Bath, and offers it to Anna, and writes her a letter …
So, what do you think is Captain Wentworth X-factor? Leave your answer + your e-mail address and get a chance to win a copy of PERSUADE ME, Juliet Archer's modern version of Austen's Persuasion. This giveaway is open worldwide and ends on 4th October.