Of late, I have taken on the daunting task of revisiting some of my earlier works. The act had come as a response to several of my loyal followers, who either wished to revisit an earlier piece or had asked if I would place a particular piece on sale. When a traditional publisher releases a book, that publisher has control of the price, when or if the book is placed on sale, and how the book will be promoted. The only time we hold control as authors is if the book is an independent project. Once a traditionally published book is more than six months old, the publisher rarely spends time in promoting it. A book can, literally, set upon a shelf with no notice for years upon end.
As my first book, Darcy’s Passions, was originally a self-published book, there is a clause in my contract, which says I may self publish that title. I simply cannot sell the manuscript to another traditionally published group. That self-published clause has reappeared in each of my contracts. Therefore, I plan to re-release several of them as independent titles. Captain Frederick Wentworth’s Persuasion: Jane Austen’s Classic Retold Through His Eyes will be the first of those. I chose to begin with CFWP because I plan a sequel to the book, and I wished to introduce it to new readers. Although I adored having a Joshua Reynolds’s painting on the original cover, the book has a new cover. I have reworked some of the scenes, but nothing major has changed in the book. If you do not already own this book, it is an excellent time to pick it up in print or eBook form. If you have the title, anticipate the sequel in about six – eight months.
Below, I hope you will enjoy the “love letter” scene from Austen’s Persuasion retold from Captain Wentworth’s POV instead of that of Anne Elliot.
The love affair behind Jane Austen’s classic, Persuasion, rests at the heart of this retelling from Captain Frederick Wentworth’s point of view.
He has loved her from the moment their eyes met some eight years prior, but Frederick Wentworth is determined to prove to Anne Elliot that she has made a mistake by refusing him. Persuaded by her family and friends of his lack of a future, Anne had sent him away, but now he is back, and it is Anne whose circumstances have brought her low. Frederick means to name another to replace her, but whenever he looks upon Anne’s perfect countenance, his resolve wavers, and he finds himself lost once again to his desire for her. Return to the Regency and Austen’s most compelling love story. Jeffers turns the tale upon its head while maintaining Jane Austen’s tale of love and devotion.
From the corner of his eye, Frederick noted how outwardly composed Anne had appeared, and he wondered how he must appear to the others. The moment she had walked into the room, he had felt himself plunged at once into all the agitations, which he had merely anticipated tasting a little before the morning had closed. There was no delay—no waste of time. He was instantly deep in the happiness of such misery or the misery of such happiness.
Clearing his throat and attempted to sound disinterested, Frederick spoke to his friend: “I will write the letter of which we spoke earlier, Harville, if you will hand me the materials.”
“They are on the side table.” Thomas gestured to a small table to Frederick’s left. With the miniature and Benwick’s request in hand, Frederick went to it. Turning his back on the gathered party, He attempted to appear engrossed by writing.
His sister, Sophia, spoke to Mrs. Musgrove, and he listened carefully to their conversation, in tune for any words spoken by Anne. Mrs. Musgrove had informed Sophia about the changes having taken place at Uppercross, and his sister heartily agreed how young people should not dwell in long engagements. Frederick found himself agreeing in principle with Sophia’s sentiments. He knew she had spoken from experience for she and the Admiral had married a little more than a month after their meeting, and if his hopes were fulfilled, he would wish to marry Anne as quickly as possible. Pretending to draft the letter, which he had composed in his head the night before, Frederick thought about how quickly he could marry Anne after she accepted him. He would not be willing to wait any longer than the necessary calling of the banns.
Sophia declared, “To begin without knowing that at such a time there will be the means of marrying, I hold to be very unsafe and unwise. Yet, generally, couples should not delay their coming together.”
His pen ceased to move, and as if he was compelled to do so, his head raised; he paused to listen, and he turned round the next instant to give a look—one conscious look to Anne. She flushed with the recognition, but neither of them turned from the other’s gaze. The two ladies continued to talk—to urge again the same admitted truths and enforced them with such examples of the ill effect of long engagements as had fallen within their observations, but Frederick heard nothing distinctly; it was only a buzz of words in his ears, and his mind felt the confusion. Finally, Anne looked away at Thomas Harville, who motioned her to join him by the window. The moment of understanding broken, Frederick pushed the longing down and returned to the task at hand. He wrote the letter in earnest.
Scratching out the order for the artist he would commission, Frederick heard Thomas speak to Anne about the miniature. His friend explained to her why Frederick had taken up the charge of the letter. He thought it ironic Thomas spoke so openly to Anne when his friend had refused to share his frustration with anyone in the party other than Frederick. When their words turned to a light-hearted debate on which sex loved better, Frederick heard only their musings; his sister’s conversation no longer existed. Every nerve in his body remained attuned to Anne—only she existed in his world, and he must know how she felt.
“It would not be the nature of any woman who truly loved,” she protested against Harville’s assertion that, unlike a female, a man never forsook a woman he loved. Frederick would never forsake Anne—of that he was certain.
Her soft voice brought him back. “Yes, we certainly do not forget you so soon as you forget us. It is, perhaps, our fate rather than our merit. We cannot help ourselves. We live at home, quiet, confined, and our feelings prey on us. You are forced on exertion. You have always a profession, pursuits, business of some sort or other, to take you back into the world immediately, and continual occupation and change soon weaken impressions.”
Frederick stopped breathing for a moment. Was that how it had seemed to Anne? Did she believe I did not suffer from our separation? She must believe as such because I threw myself into my work, I forgot her—that I did not leave my heart behind in Somerset. I must tell her; only her love has ever given me comfort.
Needing to respond immediately, he took another sheet of foolscap from the desk drawer and addressed her passionately:
I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul! I am half agony—half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.
Anne’s voice now spoke with eagerness, and Frederick jerked his head up and clumsily knocked over the blotting jar, sending it scattering dust across the carpet. His pen followed. He quickly retrieved the items, embarrassed at being so obvious in his intent.
“Have you finished your letter?” called Captain Harville.
Frederick stammered, “Not…not quite, a few lines more. I shall have done in five minutes.”
Harville smiled at Anne. Frederick should have known Anne would win Thomas’s loyalty; he and Harville both understood the qualities of a fine woman. “There is no hurry on my side,” his friend shared. “I am only ready whenever you are.—I am in very good anchorage here—well supplied and wanting for nothing.—No hurry for a signal at all.”
As Frederick rearranged the items on the desk, he heard Harville lower his voice to speak to Anne further. They talked of inconstancy, and Frederick’s heart went out to his friend as Thomas spoke with compassion and with insight into how a sailor feels about the woman he loves. “I speak, you know, only of such men as have hearts!”
“Oh!” cried Anne eagerly; “I hope I do justice to all that is felt by you and by those who resemble you.” She offered his friend empathy, and Frederick smiled, knowing it to be her true nature. “I believe you capable of everything equal and good in your married lives. I believe you equal to every important exertion, and to every domestic forbearance, so long as—if I may be allowed the expression, so long as you have an object.” Frederick leaned forward, hanging on Anne’s every word. “I mean, while the woman you love lives and lives for you. All the privilege I claim for my own sex is of loving longest when existence or when hope is gone.”
From the corner of his eye, Frederick watched as Thomas put his hand on her arm quite affectionately. The gesture drove Frederick to return to his letter; it was important to speak to Anne of his feelings and of the uncommon possession, which remained between them.
Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan.—Have you not seen this? Can you fail to understand my wishes?—I had not waited even these ten days, could I read your feelings, as I think you must have penetrated mine. I can hardly write. I am every instant hearing something which overpowers me. You sink your voice, but I can distinguish the tones of that voice, when they would be lost on others.—Too good, too excellent creature! You do us justice indeed. You do believe there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating in
“Here, Frederick you and I part company, I believe,” Sophia spoke loudly enough to recall him from his task. “I am going home, and you have an engagement with your friend.—Tonight we may have the pleasure of all meeting again at your party.” She directed her last thought to Anne. “We had your sister’s card yesterday, and I understand Frederick had a card, too, though I did not see it—and you are disengaged, Frederick, are you not, as well as ourselves?”
As she spoke, Frederick scratched out his postscript:
I must go, uncertain of my fate; but I shall return hither, or follow your party, as soon as possible. A word, a look will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening, or never.
He managed to answer his sister, although a bit incoherently. “Yes, very true; here we separate, but Harville and I shall soon be after you, that is, Harville, if you are prepared, I am in half a minute. I know you will not be sorry to be off. I shall be at your service in half a minute.
Sophia nodded her farewell to each of them, and Thomas retrieved his hat and gloves. Frederick sealed his letter with great rapidity. Having made the decision to write it, he wanted the words in Anne’s hands; Frederick needed to be finished with this part and to begin his life with Anne—if she would have him.
He slid Anne’s letter under the blotter pad, having sealed it and marked it with her initials. “Let us be off, Harville,” he encouraged. Frederick picked up his gloves—laying them purposely to the side of the desk—and then his hat before walking to the door. He could not speak to Anne—nor even look at her. His impatience to be gone created a hurried air as he exited the room.
Frederick heard Thomas offer a kind “Good morning. God bless you,” to Anne.
He regretted not being able to speak his farewells–the agitation too great, but if Anne was to refuse him, he wanted no pity from those who marked his departure.
He and Thomas made it to the outside door before Frederick spoke again. “Harville, wait for me a moment; I seemed to have left my gloves in the Musgroves’ quarters.”
“It is of no matter—I shall remain here.” Harville shifted his weight, allowing the cane to support him.
Making his unexpected return, Frederick said, “I apologize, Mrs. Musgrove,” as he crossed the room, “I left my gloves behind.”
Mrs. Musgrove stood by the window, looking out for the rest of their party. “It is quite all right, Captain Wentworth.” The woman did not even turn around.
However, Anne stood close by, and she watched his every move. Stepping beside the desk, Frederick purposefully slid his fingers along the edge of the blotter paper. He locked eyes with Anne and then he drew out the letter and placed it on the desk. With the slightest of nods, he hastily collected his gloves and was again from the room—the work of an instant!
His future was now in her hands. Frederick found Harville where he had left him, and they started toward the portrait studio to meet with the artist. They walked two blocks in complete silence—Frederick’s vexation clearly evident.
“Do you wish to tell me who will receive the second letter?” Thomas asked softly, never looking at Frederick.
He hesitated. “You noted my ploy?”
“Obviously,” Thomas taunted. “Was it a love letter for Miss Anne?” Then he guffawed at his own joke. His friend chuckled some more at seeing Frederick flinch, but when Frederick did not answer, Harville gasped a little too loudly, “It was a love letter for Miss Anne!”
Barely audible, Frederick acknowledged, “Yes—yes, it was for Anne.”
“Anne?” Thomas responded with disbelief. “How long has she been Anne?”
“From the first day I laid eyes on her—”
“In Somerset more than eight years prior,” Thomas finished the sentence. “I knew it, you sly fox!” He slapped Frederick on the shoulder.
Obviously distressed, Frederick countered, “Do not congratulate me, Thomas; I know not my fate. The letter professes my love, but will Anne accept a renewal of my regard?”
Thomas took pity on him. “May I ask why you are with me? Hand me the miniature and the letter; I can well do this without you.” Frederick protested, but a wave of Thomas’s hand stopped him short. “Go—go back to the White Hart and win the woman you love. Do not leave there until she is yours!”
“Dare I risk it?” Frederick looked longingly toward the way they had come, uncertain what to do.
Thomas grinned. “Do you truly love this woman?”
“Most wholeheartedly,” Frederick insisted.
“I have never known you to permit anything to keep you from what you most desired. If you delay, it will be a first.”
“No.” Frederick shook his head. “It will not be a first.” His anxiety increased as he looked away once more. “I must go—I apologize, Harville, but I must go!” As he strode away, he heard Thomas chuckling. Turning the corner at Bath Street, he noted Anne and Charles Musgrove had crossed to Union. He quickened his step to overtake them, but when Frederick reached the pair, he paused. Knowing within a few minutes he would speak what was in his heart, he froze—irresolute whether to join them or to pass on, saying nothing at all. He stared at Anne, wondering what to do, each heartbeat infinitely long. Then she, sensing his approach, had turned suddenly; Anne blushed—her cheeks, which were pale, now glowed, and the movement, which first hesitated, was decided. Frederick stepped beside her, and they were lost to each other. Eyes danced in happiness, and they were as before–united–hearts interlocked, requiring no words to declare their continued love.
“Say, Wentworth,” Charles implored him. “Which way are you going? Only to Gay Street or farther up the town?” Charles appeared most anxious to leave his responsibility to Anne.
Frederick did not remove his eyes from Anne’s countenance. “I hardly know,” he replied.
Charles continued, oblivious to the moment swirling between Frederick and Anne. “Are you going as high as Belmont? Are you going near Camden Place? Because if you are, I shall have no scruple in asking you to take my place and give Anne your arm to her father’s door. She is rather done for this morning and must not go so far without assistance. And I ought to be at that fellow’s in the marketplace. He promised me the sight of a capital gun he is just going to send off; said he would keep it unpacked to the last possible moment, that I might see it; and if I do not turn back now, I will have no opportunity. By his description, a good deal like the second-sized double barrel of mine, which you shot with one day, round Winthrop. What do you say, Wentworth?”
Frederick attempted to wipe the smile from his lips, but he forsook the effort when he noted a like smile on Anne’s countenance. “It is fine, Musgrove. Go see the gun. I will be most honored to escort Miss Anne home; she will be safe with me.”
“That is superb news! I am in your debt,” Musgrove added quickly. Then he disappeared, hurrying along Union Street. “Which way, Miss Anne?” Frederick’s voice remained husky with emotion.
“Some place quiet, Captain—you may choose.” Anne placed her hand on his proffered arm, and Frederick pulled her close to his side. Relief rushed through him as they turned away from the crowd.
As they entered the park, Frederick led her to a nearby bench. “May we sit for a time?” They had spoken little as they had walked Bath’s streets, each lost in the splendor of the moment. When he properly seated her beside him, Frederick caught her hand in his, clutching it to his chest. “Anne,” he whispered, “my heart beats again because of you—with the hope you will receive me—that you understand how ardently I adore you.” He brought her palm to his lips and planted a kiss on the inside of her wrist. “Please say I am not too late.”
Anne released her hand from his, but she did so to trace the outline of his lips. It was an exquisite familiarity, which spoke of her quiet acceptance. “Yours is the countenance I see every time I close my eyes. It has been so for eight years—nothing you could say or do would ever change that.”
Frederick suddenly felt quite warm: the fire between them remained. “May I be so forward as to presume there is hope for us?”
“There is more than hope, Frederick. I give you my assurance.” She did not look away, but he noted the hitch in her breath. “I am no longer that foolish green girl; I am not so persuadable. If God provides a means for us to possess another opportunity at love, I will never turn from you. If it is truly your desire, you will be my life.” She raised her chin to look him directly in the eyes. “I love you, Frederick Wentworth; I have loved none but you.”
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