Saturday, 6 October 2012


Ever since I announced earlier this year to friends, family, and social media followers that I was writing an Austenesque novel about the Admiral and Mrs. Croft from Persuasion, people have asked me one question over and over: why Sophia Wentworth?

After I get over my perverse pleasure in simply answering "Why not?", I actually do have a few good reasons to choose Sophy Wentworth. Not the least of which is my deep and abiding love for Persuasion.

No one else has written about her. At least this is true to the extent that my internet and library researches can prove. If you are familiar at all with Austenesque fiction (and if you are not, Austenesque Reviews is a good place to get started), you will know that authors largely gravitate toward Pride and Prejudice, down to the minutest secondary characters. When it comes to Persuasion, authors have written some about Captain Wentworth (*swoon*) and Anne Elliot, but just haven't gotten to too many of the secondary characters.

I like strong, female characters. Always have, always will. And Jane Austen makes a point of showing in Persuasion how Sophy has traveled the world and been right there doing all the things her husband does.

Sophy & the Admiral have one of the few successful marriages in Austen's fiction. By "successful" I mean that they are happy and working together in partnership. Think about the main characters in her novels. Most of the happy couples we see -- Darcy & Elizabeth, Captain Wentworth & Anne Eliot, Edward & Elinor -- come to feel a kind of partnership with each other. While they might not be social equals, they feel equal in their relationship. Many of the secondary relationships don't feel this way -- Mr. Collins & Charlotte Lucas, Wickham & Lydia, Mr. & Mrs. Bennet, Mary Elliot & Charles Musgrove, etc. Yet Sophy & the Admiral are explicitly described as being equals.

One of my favorite scenes (and a major spur for me to think about this couple) is the one just after Anne has grown tired on their walk. The Admiral and Mrs. Croft happen by and squish Anne up next to them. As they are driving, Anne sees how they work together to keep the carriage on the road and avoid pesky obstacles. Which leads into the next reason I thought about Sophy & the Admiral...

An unusual man. Not only do I love Sophy Wentworth as a strong, female character, I love the Admiral. I can't say it enough. As you can see from the example above, he has not the slightest issue with his wife correcting his driving. It seems that this is such a usual occurrence that the Admiral doesn't even notice it! And the fact that he allows his wife to travel on board ship with him as an equal is even more intriguing. I wanted to write about this unusual man just as much as I wanted to write about Sophy.

The possibilities of life at sea in the Age of Sail are endless. I always envisioned Sophy as a series of novels. I wanted to write her a love story first, but I am also very interested in the fifteen years that elapses between the time she falls in love (1799) and the time we meet the couple in Persuasion (1814). Austen gives us some sketchy hints at what they've been up to, but I feel there's so much else to explore!

A female Horatio Hornblower. To continue on from the last point... there is so much to write about! Many authors (the most famous of whom are all male) have written about this time from the perspective of a young man. I want to write about it from the perspective of a woman. There are a lot of things that adding in another gender might reveal about this time period. I love the idea that Sophy is a swashbuckling woman who can hold her own aboard ship! I am greatly looking forward to writing more about this fun and interesting couple.
 Kimberly Truesdale

The Book

Sophy Wentworth loves her life in sleepy Milverton...

Twenty-three year old Sophia Wentworth lives a quiet life in the small country town of Milverton. Here she helps her Papa, the town doctor, visits with her friends, and attempts – usually unsuccessfully – to keep her younger brothers Edward and Frederick out of trouble. When the opportunity to marry the handsome and attentive young curate who's just moved into the next town presents itself, Sophy is tempted by a life of pleasant repetitions and obligations, a life that will keep her at the center of the town and the community she loves so much.

Until a stranger arrives...

Captain Conrad Croft grew up in Milverton, where his father is the rector. He has spent the past fourteen years traveling the world with the British Navy. On a surprise visit home, Conrad meets Sophia – who was just eight years old when he left. He becomes intrigued by this woman, the silent core of strength for the entire town. When his attempts to draw her out succeed, Conrad discovers an intelligent, witty, strong woman who might just be his perfect match. He only has to convince her of it before he sails away again.

Fifteen years before the events of Jane Austen's Persuasion, this is the story of how the Admiral and Mrs. Croft first meet.
You can find My Dear Sophy in ebook and paperback at Amazon Barnes and Noble  &  iBookstore 

The Author

Kimberly Truesdale is a writing and literature teacher currently living in Ohio. She has a line from The Great Gatsby tattooed on her arm and has worn out at least five copies of Anne of Green Gables. Kimberly has written many academic papers over the years, but My Dear Sophy is her first novel. Contact Kim on Twitter @playsthetart or email her at with questions or feedback, including links to your reviews!

The Giveaway Contest
There are 2 e-books copies (any version) for international readers. Leave your comment, tell us why you would like to read Kimberly's prequel to Persuasion, My Dear Sophy, add your e-mail address and good luck! This giveaway contest will end on 20th October.


Unknown said...

Wow, this books sounds like really a interesting read. I love the idea of taking a minor character such as Sophy and examining her back-story - it gets so repetitive reading yet another tale of Lizzie's later adventures. Also, who doesn't love Admiral Wentworth?


Banríon An Gheimhridh said...

I would LOVE to read this book! It sounds very interesting!

paperdollmom said...

Sounds like a great book! I also love how you chose this character to write about, one that has no defined back story, that opens a writer up to so much fun! I am curious to read what you've done with that!

Lúthien84 said...

Like Kimberly said, not many authors choose to write about the secondary characters in Persuasion while all aspects of Pride and Prejudice are covered. What is more, it gets a bit bored always reading about Darcy and Elizabeth only so I welcome a refreshing change.


playsthetart (Kim) said...

Good luck to everyone! I'm very excited to share Sophy with you. As I said in the post, I think she's a fascinating character who gets too little attention in the Austen sequel world. :)

Catherine said...

I love the idea of a prequel rather than a sequel and I love the idea of developing a secondary character of the story. It will certainly give a whole new perspective when rereading the original Persuasion which is one of my two favorite books by Jane Austen along with Pride and Prejudice.
cyrano123 (at) live (dot) fr

RedRose15 said...

I would definitely love to read this novel because I was always fascinated by their relationship. It seemed like a mutually respected relationship with love and to read how they got together would be amazing!

bitemeleechlover [at]

suzan said...

Persuasion is my favorite Austen work. I agree with the author I think there are too few really happy and successful marriages in the works and especially of secondary characters. I love the Crofts tho' for so many reasons. I'm sure there have been hardships, adventures, pleasures, pursuits and lots of hard hard work. They just seem so well suited and eager to make their lives go where they want them to. I really want to read this book because I think it's about time someone did Sophy justice. I hope there are more works like this coming out.

AO said...

i have recently been introduced to Jane Austen. after i read Northanger Abbey, Pride and Prejudice and Lady Susan, i was hooked. Austen is a gifted writer and i have started to get my hands on all her books (print & digital) including Austen-inspired ones.
winning a copy of this book would be a great addition to my growing Austen library.
thank you for the giveaway!


Danielle said...

Persuasion has been my favorite book for quite some time now. I always thought that Sophia was a very strong woman; she would have to be in order to have lived on ship with her husband. I think a story where we got to learn more about her is a wonderful idea.


kaewink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kaewink said...

I think it´s great that there´s a story about how Sophy and Admiral Croft became the pair they are in Persuasion!

And I absolutly love your cover, Kimberly!

Please don´t enter me - I have a copy on my kindle waiting to be read soon!


Rebecca (RivkaBelle) said...

I want to read this because Kimberley is awesome ;o)

But also because I'm not a fan of Persuasion, but I love Persuasion retellings and etc -- so the idea of a prequel, about the will-be Mrs Croft (who I do actually love)? Totally awesome. (Like Kimberley!)


playsthetart (Kim) said...

Lots of love for Sophy! That makes me incredibly happy :) I do hope that everyone enjoys the book. It tells only the story of them falling in love, but I do have lots of other adventures planned for the Admiral and Mrs Croft!

Good luck to all in the giveaway!

susied said...

It would be interesting to read more detail into the Captain's and Sophie's relationship because we just got a small - but very enticing - glimpse of it in the book and movie versions. I always admired the couple and think they are one of the happily marrieds of all the Austen novels.

And Persuasion is my favorite novel so any retellings, enhancements, etc. are like chocolate and who could resist them? :)

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

why you would like to read Kimberly's prequel to Persuasion, My Dear Sophy?

b/c i think, Kimberly, we are definitely 'kindred spirits' both in our love of Persuasion, strong capable women like Sophy & dear Anne of Green Gables..

having lived on her island of Prince Edward, i have a deep appreciation for the life LM Montgomery writes of and the beauty of the island itself.. perhaps i should be having a giveaway for you of one of my many xtra copies of Anne to replace your worn ones? :))

bless you ~ love your willingness to explore a new character from Persuasion for our reading pleasure! + your generosity with My Dear Sophy! she has a warm welcome waiting in my heart & home!

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

that would be faithhopecherrytea at[gmail.]com sorry for the addon

Literary Chanteuse said...

Persuaion is actually my least favorite of Jane's books but I find I am quite keen to read the spin offs. Thanks for the giveaway!


Miss Jane said...

I read to never stop dreaming ...
Thank you and good luck to all ... :)
Miss Jane

JuneA** said...

What a fantastic review-I can not wait to read My Dear Sophy! Gorgeous cover, btw. Persuasion is absolutely, bar none, my favorite Jane Austen book!!!! Sophy & the Admiral are so interesting and get such little "air time", I have added this to my tbr!

Vesper said...

Like to read as I have not read a prequel to any of the Jane Austen books and Persuasion is my second favourite of her books

meikleblog at gmail dot com

tgruy said...

Wonderful and credible way of explaining how, when and why Admiral Croft and his wife fell in love with each other! I loved the narrative and could feel I was right there watching the story unfold.

Congratulations Kimberly!

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