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A lost love returns, rekindling forgotten passions
In Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, when Marianne Dashwood marries Colonel Brandon, she puts her heartbre...
A lost love returns, rekindling forgotten passions
In Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, when Marianne Dashwood marries Colonel Brandon, she puts her heartbreak over dashing scoundrel John Willoughby in the past.
Three years later, Willoughby's return throws Marianne into a tizzy of painful memories and exquisite feelings of uncertainty. Willoughby is as charming, as roguish, and as much in love with her as ever. And the timing couldn't be worsewith Colonel Brandon away and Willoughby determined to win her back, will Marianne find the strength to save her marriage, or will the temptation of a previous love be too powerful to resist?
Praise for Lydia Bennet's Story:
"A breathtaking Regency romp!"
Diana Birchall | Author of Mrs. Darcy's Dilemma
"An absolute delight to read."
Historical Novels Review
"Odiwe emulates Austen's famous wit, and manages to give Lydia a happily-ever-after ending worthy of any Regency romance heroine."
"Odiwe pays nice homage to Austen's stylings and endears the reader to the formerly secondary character, spoiled and impulsive Lydia Bennet."
"Rollicking good fun with a surprise twist."
About the AuthorJane Odiwe is an artist and author. She is an avid fan of all things Austen and is the author and illustrator of Effusions of Fancy, annotated sketches from the life of Jane Austen, as well as Lydia Bennet's Story. She lives with her husband and three children in North London.
Mariane Brandon was bursting with news to tell her sister and was so excited at the report that her husband had divulged at breakfast before leaving for Lyme that morning, that she did not consi...
Mariane Brandon was bursting with news to tell her sister and was so excited at the report that her husband had divulged at breakfast before leaving for Lyme that morning, that she did not consider there to be time enough to don her bonnet. With her chestnut curls escaping from her coiffure to dance in the wind and her scarlet cloak billowing like a great sail behind her, she almost ran down the lane to the parsonage. Knowing that Elinor would probably scold her for not bringing the chaise, she nevertheless had not wanted to be bothered with the inconvenience of having to wait for it. Muddying her boots and the hem of her gown, she took the shortcut across the fields to the lane that separated the two sisters. Yesterday's storm had left the ground wet but there was the promise of a most delightful day, the autumnal sunshine kissing her cheeks with a blush. Marianne had not wanted to say goodbye to her husband but was resigned to his departure. There was nothing she could say or do to change the situation; she knew that from experience. Glad to be outside in the fresh air, she looked about with contented pleasure, waltzing through the familiar countryside that she was delighted to call her home. Delaford House in the county of Dorset was as dear to her as the former family seat at Norland had been. Marianne knew in her heart that she was a most fortunate young woman.
Elinor was delighted to see her as always, although she was a little surprised at her sister's slightly dishevelled appearance. "Goodness me, Marianne. Is ought amiss? You look rather harried. Where is little James? Is he well? Anna will be most upset not to see her cousin this morning."
"How is my darling Anna? I long to kiss her! And where is little Georgie? I must have a cuddle!" Marianne handed her cloak into the arms of a waiting maidservant before arranging herself with much elegance on the sofa in the comfortable sitting room. "I could not bring James with me, as he was not yet dressed, and in any case I just had to get out into the sunshine. Besides, he wants to look into every hedgerow and chase the falling leaves, and I couldn't wait to tell you my news. However, before I left I promised he would see his cousin soon. I have had an idea. Anna and James enjoy one another's company so much, as does our dear mama. What say you to a shopping trip in Exeter the day after tomorrow? It would be such fun. My nursemaid can take our babies in the carriage to Barton Cottage and after you and I have handed them over with our greetings we shall go out in the box barouche!"
Elinor looked at Marianne in disbelief. She wondered if she would ever grow up or if she would for once consider others before she set about on some scheme or other. Colonel William Brandon, Elinor thought, had done much to improve her sister's character. She was more settled in her habits, more tranquil than she had ever been, and was not quite so prone to as many flights of fancy or as many fits of sensibility as she had been in the past. But three years of married life had done little to really change her. Marianne still had an impetuous nature, she still retained a desire for impulse and enterprises undertaken on the spur of the moment. The Colonel, Elinor felt, indulged Marianne's whims far too frequently.
"Marianne, you know that would be impossible. I have far too much to do here at present and I do not think Mama will be as pleased as you think to have all her grandchildren at once. Besides, she may have other plans."
"But Margaret is there, kicking her heels with nothing to do. I am sure she would only be delighted to see her niece and nephews. And I would love to tell Mama and Margaret my news."
Elinor was firm. "I would love to go shopping on another day, but I really cannot go at the moment. Now, is that what you came to tell me in such a hurry?"
Marianne watched Elinor's maid set down a tray of lemonade and ratafia biscuits. She could hardly wait for Susan's starched white cap to disappear through the door before she made her announcement.
"Henry Lawrence is coming homeWilliam's nephew," she added, taking in Elinor's puzzled expression.
"Oh, yes," Elinor exclaimed, her face breaking into a smile.
"I remember hearing about him from Mrs Jennings. He has just completed his studies at Oxford, has he not?"
"Yes, and by all accounts he is not only very handsome but is also a very eligible young man, for he will inherit Whitwell. I have never met him, but I must admit, I am most curious to see him."
"Whitwell is a very handsome estate; William's sister made an excellent marriage."
"She did indeed, though her health has never been good.
That is why they stayed in Southern France and Italy for so long, I believe. Hannah tells me that the air and the climate are very well suited to invalids, and is always at pains to point out her abhorrence of the damp atmosphere to be found in the West Country. William worries about his sister so much, but all I can observe is that the Dorsetshire rain does not improve her disposition."
Marianne paused before looking directly into her sister's eyes. "I have a mind to say that there seems little that would divert a constitution so intent on being ill. I have never seen her without some ailment and I admit it is fortunate that we are not such close neighbours. I have never heard her discuss any subject other than that of herself, and then it is only to complain."
"Perhaps she suffers more than you know, Marianne."
"That we all suffer in her company is a certainty. You have not met with her above twice in your life and I believe you mistakenly felt that she was quite charming on both occasions. But then, you are not her intimate relation and I suspect you have been taken in."
"I daresay the entire neighbourhood will be throwing their girls in Mr Lawrence's path," said Elinor, changing the course of the conversation. "I expect Miss Strowbridge will have her eye on him before long."
"Miss Strowbridge, nonsense! He will be entirely suitable for Margaret, do you not think? You must admit there have been few young men to excite the romantic sensibilities of our dear sister to date. Charles Carey was never really suitable, and in any case he has gone to sea. I feel most excited at the prospect.
Jane Odiwe, whose first novel imagined what really happened to Lydia Bennet, here takes Marianne Dashwood’s story beyond her marriage to Colonel Brandon, in a well-plotted and elegant romance.
The rakish Willoughby is one of Austen’s most attractive leading men – and there can be few readers who don’t feel a pang when he loses Marianne to the undeniably deserving but ever-so slightly dull colonel. Now he’s back on the scene and Marianne finds herself battling with temptation on a grand scale. Odiwe’s feeling for Jane Austen’s characters is undeniable – she writes with wit and an enviable lightness of touch, creating a believable world of new possibilities without ever losing sight of the original narrative.
She also develops the delightfully oddball character of the youngest Dashwood sister, Margaret – placing her centre stage alongside Marianne and giving her an engrossing storyline of her own.
Sense and Sensibility is my favourite Austen, and it is quite a treat to have the story continued in such an accomplished and satisfying sequel.
Set four years after the close of Sense and Sensibility, Willoughby’s Return starts off apace with a surprise visitor (no, not that one…) plans for a ball and mounting tension in the Brandon household. Marianne Brandon wonders if she has lost that part of herself that used to be so wildly impetuous and romantic. Has marriage and motherhood irrevocably changed the girl that her husband fell in love with… or was he ever in love with her at all? It is possible that he only married her because of her resemblance to his lost love? While their marriage seems outwardly happy, Colonel Brandon’s many extended visits to Eliza Williams and her daughter cause Marianne to wonder if he might find her, so very like her mother, to be his true heart’s home.
Meanwhile, at Barton Cottage, Margaret Dashwood prepares for her first grand balland an introduction to one on whom all her hopes of future happiness depend. Mrs. Jennings, ever a convenient source of gossip is full of the news of Mrs. Smith’s imminent demise and the return of the Willoughbys to claim Allenham as their own.
It is impossible that all should not meet, that relationships and passions once lost should not be rekindled, for Willoughby, too, has not been unaffected by the passing years. Realizing the mistakes of his youth, how he had valued the demands of his pocketbook above those of his heart. Is it too late for true love? Can the past be undone? Are future generations doomed to repeat his mistakes?
Fans of Sense and Sensibility will rejoice to find all their old familiar friends (Middletons, Steels, Ferrars and more) once more in “all the old familiar places”. From cozy scenes at Delaford and Barton Cottage to the hectic rush of a Season in London, author Jane Odiwe constructs a compelling tale of love in all its forms. Appealing to all ages, fans of happy endings will be delighted with how the author spins her story, weaving suspense and intrigue into a well-crafted tale that manages to answer the many questions left by the original.
True love does conquer all!
Willoughby is the Austen bad boy that I can’t quite find it within myself to hate. He does more despicable deeds than most Austen bad boys (he impregnated and left Eliza and then ditched Marianne for a lady with more money!), yet he comes clean with Elinor and tells her that he did indeed love Marianne, but had to marry for the money. This leaves me with sympathy in my heart no matter how heard I try to hate him, I think about how he has been punished for his misdeeds by never being able to be with the one woman that he truly loves. It also doesn’t help that Greg Wise is such a very handsome and wonderful Willoughby in the 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility.
I couldn’t wait to read more about Willoughby, Marianne, and the rest of my favorite Sense and Sensibility characters in Jane Odiwe’s sequel, Willoughby’s Return. Just the title excited me with the thought of Greg Wise, I mean Willoughby, striding back into the scene.
The novel did not disappoint and was quite simply, a superb sequel to Sense and Sensibility. Marianne Dashwood found love and romance of another sort with Colonel Brandon at the end of Sense and Sensibility. At the beginning of Willoughby’s Return, they are still happily wedded with a young son, James. The only wrench in their happiness is that Colonel Brandon still finds himself drawn away quite often to help Eliza and her small daughter Lizzy. Marianne finds herself jealous of the unknown Eliza, who no only had Willoughby’s love, but also is the spitting image of her mother, Colonel Brandon’s first love. I love how the first Eliza’s portrait with Colonel Brandon’s brother still hangs at the top of the stair. It gave me an almost Rebecca like quality to the specter of Eliza, Brandon’s lost love.
Colonel Brandon and Marianne are distressed by the news that Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby have inherited Allenham after all and will soon be moving to the neighborhood. Sad at the constant absences of her husband, Marianne soon finds herself feeling the old feelings again and being tempted by Willoughby. Will she succumb to temptation or find her way back to Colonel Brandon?
This story is also the romance of Margaret. Margaret has now grown up and has the same temperament as Marianne. She is searching for her one true love. Colonel Brandon’s nephew, the dashing Henry Lawrence, has moved back to England and Marianne is determined to set Henry Lawrence and her sister up. Henry is friends with Mr. Willoughby. Will he live to make the same mistakes as Henry or will he find true love?
My favorite character in Sense and Sensibility is Elinor. She is now a happy wife and mother of two, but this is not her story. She is only seen briefly. I wish there would have been more of her, but I realize that would be a different story.
Overall this book was a terrific read that I really enjoyed. I highly recommend it to all lovers of Sense and Sensibility, Austen, or just a wonderful romance. This is the best sequel to Sense and Sensibility that I have ever read! The characters are captured perfectly and the story is wonderful.
“Sense and Sensibility” is such a lovely, honest, and entertaining novel; it such a shame that not many authors have attempted to compose a sequel for it. I have greatly enjoyed “Colonel Brandons Diary” by Amanda Grange (S&S told from Colonel Brandons point-of-view) and “Reason and Romance” by Debra White Smith (a modern adaption with Christian undertones); but neither of those are sequels or include a continuation story for Margaret. But now, having read “Willoughbys Return,” I feel I have found the sequel for “Sense and Sensibility” I have always wanted! I am so very delighted that Jane Odiwe has supplied us ravenous Austenites with this compelling and expressive sequel to cherish and enjoy!
Whatever became of Margaret Dashwood? As Elinor and Mariannes younger sister, Margaret has witnessed their heartbreaks and heartaches first hand. Has their experiences made her wiser, more cautious, or perhaps, more indifferent to love? Does she take after rational and sensible Elinor or does she favor Mariannes romantic tendencies and impetuous nature?
In this novel, Margaret Dashwood, who is at the marriageable age of 18, seems to be the victim of Mariannes matchmaking schemes. So far she has yet to meet a man that can live up to her expectation or measure up to her childhood love (can you guess who that is?). However, when Margaret meets Colonel Brandons nephew, the handsome, romantic, and charming Henry Lawrence, she feels she may have finally met her ideal man...
Marianne and Colonel Brandon, the other couple focused upon in this story, have been married for three years and have a two-year old boy named James. Like all married couples, they are experiencing some difficulties and trials in their marriage. Marianne is exhibiting some jealousy, insecurity, and mistrust in Colonel Brandons love for her. Colonel Brandon, trying to be a father figure in two separate households (he looks after his ward, Eliza Williams and her child, Lizzy), finds that he has unintentionally been neglecting Marianne and spending too much time away from her. Furthermore, the ghost of Willoughby haunts their marriage, both Marianne and Colonel Brandon never mention his name or their past association with him. Because of their silence on the subject, when Willoughby re-enters Mariannes life, she chooses not to share with her husband their encounters and conversations. Secrets are never good for a marriage...
Jane Odiwe has done a magnificent job of continuing the story of “Sense and Sensibility,” I greatly enjoyed spending more time with these characters and was pleased to see them so accurately portrayed. I was delighted that other minor character such as the Mrs. Jennings, the Middletons and Mrs. Lucy Ferrars were included in this novel and that they appeared the same as ever. I would have loved for Elinor and Edward to have more page time, but I understand that a story with two heroines is quite enough and to add a third heroine may have resulted in diminishing the stories of the other two.
“Willoughbys Return” was appropriately romantic, emotional, and passionate. I commend Jane Odiwe for capturing the essence and excellence of “Sense and Sensibility” and continuing the story in a knowledgeable and sympathetic manner. It is obvious that Ms. Odiwe loves and cares greatly for her characters (even the difficult ones), and I feel that Jane Austen loved her characters the same way. I greatly enjoyed this sequel for “Sense and Sensibility” and look forward to more works from Jane Odiwe.
While the Jane Austen sequel industry abounds with numerous books inspired by Pride and Prejudice, regretfully there are very few sequels to Austen’s first published novel Sense and Sensibility. Why? Possibly because some readers have been disappointed with half of Austen’s unsatisfactory ending for her two heroines. While the two Dashwood sisters do marry: staid and stoic Elinor to Edward Ferrars and impulsive and free-spirited Marianne to Col. Brandon, the second pairings future happiness seemed doubtful. How could a young lady with Marianne’s intense passionate depth be happy with anyone other than her Byronic first love Mr. Willoughby – even after he threw her over for an heiress? Nagging questions arise. Did she settle when she married the Colonel? Would she be tempted into extramarital affairs and runaway with her lover? Possibly, leaving an intriguing premise for continuing the story.
All these concerns are addressed in Willoughby’s Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistible Temptation a new sequel to Sense and Sensibility by Jane Odiwe. How, or if they will be resolved to our satisfaction is now a possibility.
Three years after her marriage to Colonel Brandon, Marianne is the mistress of Delaford Park and the mother of a young son James. She has everything that a young married woman could desire: wealth, position, an heir and a loving husband, but her insecurities, jealousy and impetuous nature rob her of complete happiness. Resentful that her husband is frequently called away to attend his ward Eliza Williams and her infant daughter, Marianne “feels” that he cares for his other family more than his own. Their ties to the Brandon’s are strong and painful; Eliza being the daughter of Brandon’s first love who died tragically, and Eliza’s young child Lizzie the illegitimate daughter of John Willoughby the rogue also who threw over Marianne’s affections for an heiress five years prior. In addition, there is that imposing portrait of Eliza’s mother hanging in the Hall staring down at her. Every time Marianne passes it she sees the similarities of their appearances and doubts more and more if Brandon married her because he loved her, of if she is replacing the woman the he loved and lost years ago. When the charming rogue John Willoughby reappears in her life proclaiming he has never stopped loving her, the pain of their failed romance is renewed gradually replaced by conflicting emotions and the temptation to be with him again.
We are reintroduced to many of the characters from the original novel: Elinor Ferrars and her husband Edward, Mrs. Jennings, the Middleton’s, Lucy Ferrars and importantly Elinor and Marianne’s younger sister Margaret Dashwood who has her own romance in the course of the novel that may equal Marianne’s dilemma in emotion and drama. It could not be a Jane Austen sequel without talk of beaus, gowns and a glamorous Ball, so imagine everything most “profligate and shocking” in the way of young couples dancing and sitting down together! Margaret Dashwood supplies the shocking (to the horror of the neighborhood biddies) in her behavior by dancing more than three times in one night with one partner, Henry Lawrence, the charming and bold nephew of Col Brandon. Like Willoughby, Henry appears to be a good catch: attractive, well connected, an heir to a fortune and too irresistible. He wastes no time in pursuing Margaret’s affections. There is a surprise twist to their relationship that I will not reveal, but readers might recognize similarities to another Austen heroine.
Odiwe has captured Marianne’s spirit superbly. Romantic, impulsive and let’s face it, high maintenance! At times I really wanted to give her a firm dressing down and felt the same of Austen’s younger Marianne, so I knew that Odiwe had connected their characteristics seamlessly. Marianne may be five years older, but she’s still Marianne the drama queen and that makes for great entertainment! Interestingly, the two men in her life, Brandon and Willoughby, had fewer scenes than expected but caused many reactions to fuel the narrative serving their purpose. This was a nice mirror to women’s fate in Regency times. Men have all the power, women all the presence.
This is Odiwe’s second Austen sequel, and like Lydia Bennet’s Story she has chosen a character in Marianne Brandon that is ruled by impulse and emotion making for surprise and tension – all good elements to an engaging story that she delivers with confidence and aplomb. Developing younger sister Margaret Dashwood brought youth, vivacity and a bit of rebellion against social dictums to the story. Her romance with Henry Lawrence was an excellent choice as she shared the narrative equally with Marianne and balanced the story. Odiwe’s research and passion for the Regency era shine, especially in her descriptions of the country fair and fashions. It is rewarding to see her develop her own style evocative of Austen but totally modern in its sensibility. There were a few missteps with cadence and vernacular, but I am splitting hairs, and few will notice. Of course we are never in much doubt that it will all end happily, but unlike Jane Austen’s tale, the final transformation of the heroine’s troubling want of caution and choice of spouse will not prompt debate two hundred years later.
A light and enjoyable read, Willoughby’s Return is a charming tale that sweeps you back into Austen’s mannered world of a young girl searching for love and a married woman realizing it.
Sense and Sensibility was such an awesome book by the fantastic Jane Austen starring the wonderful Dashwood sisters, the heartbreaking Willoughby, the brooding Colonel Brandon and an array of other wonderful characters.
I have been enjoying the selection of Jane Austen sequels, and Willoughbys Return by Jane Odiwe is right there leading the pack. Marianne,in my opinion, was spoiled, vivid and full of life and Jane Odiwe has maintained that spirit as she brings us to Mariannes life and her marriage to Colonel Brandon. I am a little saddened that Brandon didnt get a lot of scenes in this book however, I realize that Marianne is the focus and her conflicting emotions over Willoughby popping back into her life. I will admit though, I have always been partial to Brandon and always hoped that Marianne matures. Do you think she will? Read this book and find out :)
"Willoughbys Return" has maintained the spirit and life of its predecessor, "Sense and Sensibility" and was such a strong, flowing read and I would definitely recommend this to any Sense and Sensibility fan who has wondered "well, what then?"
Humans are complex creatures. We are all multidimensional, like the characters that Jane Austen created in her delightful novels. Take Willoughby, the handsome cad from Sense and Sensibility. At the end of Jane Austen’s tale, he expressed his love for Marianne to Elinor, even though he had become engaged to another woman . The reader, sensing his regret, almost feels sorry for him, for he had exchanged his dearest possession for empty coin.
Jane Odiwe’s novel, Willoughby’s Return, centers around Willoughby’s reappearance in Marianne life. But which man does she write about? The scoundrel or the romantic hero with the complicated emotions? Jane O. does not reveal this important bit of information until the very end of her tale. Marianne, although three years older, married, and the mother of a small son, is still as volatile as ever - sensitive, romantic, and impressionable. She has fallen deeply in love with her husband. Although their marriage is sensual and the Colonel spoils her, Marianne has become suspicious of her William. His obligations to his ward, Eliza and her daughter, call him away frequently. When Willoughby reenters her life, as handsome and attractive as ever, Marianne has become unsure of her husbands affections and is feeling vulnerable.
Adding richness to the plot of Willoughby Returns is the tale of Margaret, Mariannes and Elinors youn sister. Now seventeen years old, she plays the other central role in this novel, in which the happily married Elinor takes a back seat and is barely glimpsed. Margaret experiences her own romance with dashing Henry Lawrence, William Brandons nephew.
Like Jane Austen, Jane Odiwe is spare in her descriptions of the characters, but unlike Jane A., she is free with her depiction of an age long gone, of market days and vegetable stalls and flowers in a meadow. An artist as well as a writer, Jane O.s details of scenery and village life are vivid. She has no need to imitate Jane A.s writing style and in this, her second novel, is developing a keen style of her own. Favorite characters like Mrs. Jennings are revisited, and Lucy Steele (now Ferrars) and her sister Anne also make a reappearance. Jane Os plot has its twists and turns, the suspense coming from the characters actions, which comes to a satisfying conclusion only after several misunderstandings are cleared up.
Readers who love Jane Austen sequels will find this charming book a more than satisfying read. I give it three out of three Regency fans.
I have been yearning for a Sense and Sensibility sequel. Colonel Brandon is my second favorite Austen hero (sometimes he even beats Darcy). Sometimes I get a bit tired of Darcy (just bought two more P&P sequels) and yearn for some Brandon, Wentworth, Tilney and Knightley (never Edmund Bertram).
Odiwe’s portrayal of all of the characters was perfect. Marianne was exactly as she was in S&S albeit a bit more mature. I also could understand why she was upset with Brandon. He completely neglected her to take care of his “other” family. I would have been upset too. Colonel Brandon was broody yet sweetjust as I imagine him. He did make a few mistakes throughout the book but redeemed himself. Marianne and Colonel Brandon’s marriage was a huge highlight for me. There was so much tension yet so much love.
I was so pleased to find that Margaret was a main character in Willoughby’s Return. She was sorely neglected by Jane Austen in S&S. She deserved a happy ending too. Henry was the perfect match for her and I enjoyed the twists and turns her story took. Willoughby was really not a huge portion of the book. Well, he is there but he is kind of like a storm cloud…you worry about what he will do but he passes through without any major problems.
I am going to sound like a huge nimrod say this but…I had no idea that Colonel Brandon had no first name. I always thought his first name was Christopher. Pollution from the 1995 movie, I guess. I think that it may make me a bad Jane Austen fan but I had no idea.
I think this may be put on my favorite Jane Austen sequels list. I wish there were more Sense and Sensibility sequels (psst…sequel authors, drop Darcy for a minute and write about Colonel Brandon and Marianne). Willoughby’s Return is definitely worth a read if you love Jane Austen sequels but are looking for something new.
Grade: A+ (Honor Roll)
If you’ve been to my blog before you know that I adore Jane Austen and I have a serious obsession with Austen fan fic. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to review this book not only due to my love of all things Jane Austen but also because I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Odiwe’s previous effort, opportunity to review this book not only due to my love of all things Jane Austen but also because I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Odiwe’s previous effort, Lydia Bennet’s Story.
Ms. Odiwe again took a secondary character from an Austen story - - this time Margaret Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility - - and shared with her readers a continuation of what happened after Austen’s novel ended. She also took what could have been an unfinished story - - Willoughby’s leaving and Marianne marrying Colonel Brandon - - and wove it intricately into the tale of a now of-age Margaret finding love.
Willoughby’s Return works so well because, as she did with Lydia Bennet’s Story, Ms. Odiwe stayed faithful to the characters Jane Austen originally created and by doing so, Willoughby’s Return reads virtually as a Sense and Sensibility sequel written by Austen herself. Marianne, while more mature due to Colonel Brandon’s love and the events that transpired in Sense and Sensibility, still has a romantic, and even flighty, streak. Colonel Brandon, while deeply enamored of his wife, is still serious about his responsibilities to his wards. Elinor is still mindful of appearances and decorum and Lucy Steele Ferrars and Anne Steele are still very much the busybodies they were. Even Mrs. Jennings still remains ever the fanciful matchmaker.
I could not wish for a more fluid, yet entertaining, story, nor a more satisfying ending. I raced through the book as I was anxious to find out what would happen, while at the same time dreading for the story to end because I was enjoying myself so much. In my opinion, Ms. Odiwe surpassed herself with this effort and I enjoyed it even more so than I did Lydia Bennet’s Story.
If you are a fan of Jane Austen, of Regency romps and/or historical fiction, I cannot recommend Willoughby’s Return enough. A definite must-read!
Willoughbys Return by Jane Odiwe reunites readers with Mr. and Mrs. Brandon and Mariannes sisters Margaret and Elinor from Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen.
"But three years of married life had done little to really change her. Marianne still had an impetuous nature, she still retained a desire for impulse and enterprises undertaken on the spur of the moment." (Page 3)
Truer words were never spoken about Marianne. She is the same impetuous girl from Austens book, even though she is married to Colonel Brandon and has a son, James. Her husband, however, has obligations to his ward, the daughter of his deceased first love, and her childa child she had with Mariannes first love, Mr. Willoughby. Drama, drama, drama fills these pages, just as they filled Mariannes life in Ausens work, but Odiwe adds her own flare to these characters.
Marianne continues to hide things from her husband no matter how innocent the situations may be and her jealousies drive her to make nearly scandalous decisions and snap judgments. However, while this book is titled Willoughbys Return, he is more of a minor character and his storyline with Marianne looms from the sidelines as her younger sister Margaret and her beau Henry Lawrence take center stage.
"She watched two raindrops slide down the glass, one chasing the other but never quite catching up." (Page 39)
Margaret is very like Marianne in that she is passionate, romantic, and impetuous. Shes opposed to marriage and Mariannes matchmaking until Margaret sets eyes on Henry Lawrence. She falls head-over-heels for him, but Odiwe throws a number obstacles in their way.
Readers may soon notice some similarities between Henry Lawrence and Frank Churchill from Emma by Jane Austen, but the romance unravels differently for Henry and Margaret than it does from Frank and Emma. Readers that enjoy Jane Austens books and the recent spin-offs will enjoy Willoughbys Return a fast-paced, regency novel with a modern flair.
Odiwe follows Lydia Bennet’s Story (2008), her sequel to Pride and Prejudice, with a sequel to Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Marianne has settled nicely into life as wife and mother, although every so often she indulges in one of her infamous flights of sensibility. She is certain her husband, William, adores her, but has he gotten over his passion for his first love, whose portrait occupies a place of honor in their home? The arrival of William’s nephew Henry grants Marianne the opportunity to play matchmaker between Henry and her sister Margaret, but the return of John Willoughby to Dorsetshire is not welcome news because now Marianne faces the difficult decision of whether to remain true to the quietly dependable man who married her, or give in to temptation with the rogue who broke her heart. Odiwe’s elegantly stylish writing is seasoned with just the right dash of tart humor, and her latest literary endeavor is certain to delight both Austen devotees and Regency romance readers. John Charles
I openly admit that I’m a Pride and Prejudice fan. I know Pride and Prejudice inside out, and it is one of my most beloved books in my bookcase. Having said that I do have a soft spot for Jane Austen’s other novels, and in particular to the tale of Sense and Sensibility. Of all of Jane Austen’s heroine’s Elinor Dashwood is right up there alongside Eliza Bennet as one of my favorites.
Imagine my delight when I was asked to review an upcoming sequel to Sense and Sensibility called Willoughby’s Return by the lovely Jane Odiwe. A chance to dive back into the sweet story of Sense and Sensibility, with the impetuous Marianne and the strong, beautiful Elinor. Of course I had to say yes, and thus started a wonderful reading journey back into the world of the Dashwoods.
Willoughby’s Return sets the scene three years after Sense and Sensibility, and sees Marianne and Elinor happily married, with a few bumps in the road occurring when John Willoughby re-enters their lives.
Jane Odiwe writes with such eloquence and style that you can’t be helped for thinking that you are reading a Jane Austen book, but no it is definitely Jane Odiwe’s name on the cover!
In characters, plot and style, Willoughby’s Return is so beautifully written, that there is barely a seam between Sense and Sensibilty and Willoughby’s Return.
Despite the premise on the back-cover, this story centers more around Margaret Dashwood, as Marianne plays matchmaker and tries to set her up with the wealthy Henry Lawrence.
I loved the plot, and the way that Margaret is cast into the spotlight. For me, it kept the storyline fresh and interesting, and between Margaret and Marianne I was glued right through to the last pages.
This is Jane Odiwe’s second book, and it is clear that her skills as a writer are developing and becoming better and better. I thoroughly enjoyed Willoughby’s Return and will definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for her next novel.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen is one book by her I have not read, however, I love the movie with Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet, and yes - Im saving the best for last - Alan Rickman. Colonel Brandon and Mariannes relationship is one of my favorites. When Willoughbys Return was offered for review, I snatched it, excited to return to that world again.
Willoughbys Return starts a few years later. Colonel Brandon and Marianne have a two year old son and Margaret still lives at home with her mother. The past two years for Marianne have been very pleasant, except for one little thing that has always nagged her. Before she married Colonel Brandon, John Willoughby was courting her, and the courtship was abruptly stopped when he was stripped of his inheritance upon the discovery of his affair and child with Eliza Williams. As Marianne did not have a significant dowry to offer to him, he was forced to give his hand to a woman much more financially secure.
Colonel Brandon has taken Eliza and her daughter under his ward, providing for them and caring for the child when she is ill. On such occasion, he can be gone for weeks, and Marianne can only guess what kind of words are spoken between Brandon and Eliza.
Tensions rise when Willoughby returns to town. Colonel Brandon does not trust him one bit, and neither does Marianne, and her emotions toward him confuses her. Margaret is also being courted by Willoughbys good friend, so they find themselves forced to mingle at many social engagements. Their marriage will be tested as jealousies arise.
Willloughbys Return was quite a cute story. I would not call it a dramatic story, as the tag line reads. Yes, problems arise with the return of Willoughby but it was a bit more lighthearted than dramatic. As I said, I have not read Sense and Sensibility, so I can not say if this sequel truly captures its predecessors voice. However, I can say this book has charming characters, and the tone of the characters, to me, brings forth the Austen world quite well.
While there was no hot and heavy romance scenes, the looks and connotations between Brandon and Marianne were very sweet and romantic. Marianne was only 19 when she marries Colonel Brandon and many of her thoughts and actions comes across as showing her young age. What young 20 year old would not be confused when someone she thought she loved a good deal comes back into her life, whispering things he should not and showing her affection? All the while, Colonel Brandon has responsibilities to a woman whose mother he loved quite dearly. Of course Marianne is going to be jealous and stomp her foot when he leaves her often.
I loved the camaraderie between Marianne and her sisters. Their relationship is very reminiscent of the way they were in the movie. One complaint I have is that I was lost at the beginning of this book. I couldnt remember the way Sense and Sensibility ended, and although all relationships and dramatics were eventually explained, it took a while and I found myself rereading passages to remember who was in love with who, and who ran off with who etc.
Willoughbys Return is a delightful tale that swept me away for the time I was reading. For those who are looking to return to the Austen world with a very sweet story, I definitely recommend this book.
Length: 7.75 in
Width: 5.75 in
Weight: 14.00 oz
Page Count: 352 pages