“Captive Hearts” by Kelly Miller is an absolutely delightful “Persuasion” variation. In my opinion, among the author’s books “Captive Hearts” is the book that Jane Austen could have written herself. While reading, I was enchanted by the elegance of writing style, and I virtually could feel the stiffness of societal rules of that period. Kelly Miller has managed to convey the mood of the Regency era.
“Persuasion” is my second favourite Jane Austen novel. I’ve always liked it more than the more popular “Sense and Sensibility” or “Emma”. There was something special in the story of Miss Elliot and Captain Wentworth that drew me in and made me return to the book and reread it again and again. It’s possible that “Persuasion” is the reflection of Austen’s dreams that have never come true. She was twenty when she met a young man she – presumably, of course – fell in love with but couldn’t marry because of financial considerations of their families. And she was twenty-seven, like Anne Elliot, when she received the only known about marriage proposal. Maybe the love story of Anne and Frederick Wentworth was her secret dream, and she even accepted the marriage proposal from the man she didn’t love influenced by it. As if she thought that getting married would be a kind of revanche for the love match she was denied to make. She withdrew her acceptance, but who knows what initial impulse made her say yes.
“Captive Hearts” offers a more complete story of how Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth broke up and then reunited again. It also draws more nuanced portraits of secondary characters. With her trademark style to add a bit of spice to the narrative – strictly within the limits of acceptable plotlines for the Regency era – Kelly Miller makes readers clutch their books or Kindles worrying about the characters’ well-being when an unexpected twist puts them in danger.