Frederick Wentworth, Captain: For You Alone by Susan Kaye

Exactly one month after I finished reading Book 1, I finished reading Book 2. I usually can resist the siren song of the sequel to a sequel, but this one is pretty compelling. It begins shortly after Frederick leaves Anne with the Musgroves after telling them of Louisa’s accident. We see Frederick’s interactions with many people from his perspective.

Lady Russell is still rude to him. (Why? Doesn’t she see by now how miserable Anne is without him and what a good guy he is?)

Benwick appears to be in love with Anne, and Kaye sets up a nice parallel. Frederick expects to hear news any day that Anne and Benwick are engaged, just as we know from Persuasion that Anne expects any day to hear news that Frederick is engaged to Louisa.

He takes on a needy kid (who has reason to fear clergymen) and becomes a hero to the child.

And he spends time with his brother, Edward, whom he comes to know quite differently than he ever had opportunity to before. Edward is newly married and quite happy; now he understands Frederick in a way he couldn’t before his own heart was captivated.  This seems to enable Frederick finally to confide some of his suffering to his elder brother, and it turns out that the brother has need for fraternal confidence as well.  Edward also provides wonderful romance prior to the Anne reunion: the scene in which he reunites with his wife while Frederick watches and tries to avert his eyes enables Frederick to see his brother animated and to have his own hopes for love reignited.

Once Frederick goes to Bath for Anne, the tone shifts to his own and is therefore often amusing. Mr. Elliot becomes “the nefarious cousin,” for instance, as Kaye gives us access to Frederick’s thoughts, analysis of every situation, and self-beration.

Once Anne accepts him, and he understands her once more, Kaye gives us Anne’s perspective as well, a beautiful example of style reinforcing meaning.

Just before Frederick asks Sir Walter for Anne’s hand, he notices how empty the library is—except, of course, for Sir Walter’s favorite book and for a low shelf with books about sailing—they’re Anne’s. She, like Frederick’s brother, Edward, has been following his career all along in whatever way she could, given his lack of communication.

Anne is awesome here; her sweetness enables her to knock down evil with such finesse. It’s beautiful to watch. She and her fiancé announce the engagement to Sir Walter, Elizabeth, and Lady Russell, and Anne is distressed that no one has sincerely wished them joy. Where does her clever man take her? Why, to Admiral and Mrs. Croft, of course, who throw an impromptu party of sorts. Frederick’s immediate solution to Anne’s distress after her immediate, suave addressing of his discomfort at Lady Russell’s reminds us how truly companionate their marriage will be.

Published in: on August 18, 2009 at 11:29 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I also really loved both of Susan Kaye’s books on Cpt Wentworth–it was wonderful to hear his side of the story.

    Great review!

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