Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Going into Austen in August there were two Jane Austen titles I hadn't read, Persuasion and Emma, and I'm delighted I chose the former because I loved it and it's now my favourite of her novels.

The story begins eight years after Anne Elliot fell in love and became engaged to Frederick Wentworth, a man her family considered unworthy of her. When told that by marrying Frederick she will be hindering his naval career Anne was finally persuaded to break off the relationship. Now the quiet and thoughtful young woman lives with her regrets, overlooked and underrated by her vain and spendthrift father and snobbish sister, Elizabeth.

When Sir Walter finds himself in financial difficulties the decision is made to rent out the family home and move to Bath. Anne prefers to stay in the country and live with her married sister, Mary Musgrave. Mary is one of those Austen characters who are so awful you have to laugh. Flighty, constantly seeking attention with imaginary illnesses, a hopeless mother and completely thoughtless. 
" Captain Wentworth is not very gallant by you, Anne, though he was so attentive to me. Henrietta asked him what he thought of you, when they went away, and he said: ' You were so altered he should not of known you again."
Ouch! That was the moment I knew I not only liked Anne but could feel her hurt and was emotionally invested in her happiness.

The Elliot home is rented out to Admiral Croft whose wife just happens to be he sister of Captain Frederick Wentworth, recently returned from the Napoleonic Wars with a fine naval career behind him and a substantial fortune. It is inevitable that he and Anne will meet again...........will they be reunited?

Of course, we know they will be but it doesn't make the journey to that end any less enthralling. And that letter!.......gave me goosebumps.

Persuasion explores the complexities of human relationships as they change over time with all the classic Austen social commentary, satire and wit one expects but it is a more subdued, deeper novel than some of her others. I think that's why I enjoyed it so much.

The Classics Club


7 comments:

  1. I'm glad you found your favorite in this one. I look forward to reading it one day!

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    1. I hope you'll love it as much as I did.

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  2. I love Persuasion - watching Anne come to life & love again is so moving. I know she will be happy with her Captain, and with his family, so much more than with her own - the Crofts are wonderful!

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    1. I adored the Crofts - their marriage and their closeness was so unusual for the time.

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  3. Persuasion is my favorite Austen book. So glad you like it too!

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    1. Great! Nice to know not everyone thinks P&P is the best.

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  4. I can't wait to read more of Austen! -Sarah

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