Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth once meant a great deal to each other. But that was years ago before Anne’s well-meaning friend and her less-than-good-intentioned family discouraged the acquaintance and Anne was convinced to give Frederick up.
With years to think of her decision and years to consider all that Wentworth has accomplished without her, Anne has little hope of seeing him again or changing things between them.
That is until a change in her father’s circumstance forces the family to rent their estate. Given the identity of the new tenants, it seems inevitable that Anne and Captain Wentworth will see each other. It even seems inevitable that Wentworth will be angry and Anne hurt. Only time will tell if they can once again be something more to each other in Persuasion (1818) by Jane Austen.
Persuasion is Austen’s last novel. It is also a favorite among several of my friends.*
With a book that is already such a large part of the public consciousness and the literary canon, there isn’t a lot to say in a review that hasn’t been said before.
Jane Austen is one of my favorite classic authors so it is not, perhaps, especially surprising that I enjoyed Persuasion. In addition to a story that kept me on my toes,** Persuasion features a lot of strong, or at least interesting, characters. Wentworth is appropriately dashing even at his worst. Then we have Anne who is a delightfully forward heroine for a novel from 1818. It was invigorating to watch Anne come into her own as the novel progressed and she developed her own agency and the wherewithal to pursue her own wants and needs.
Like many classics Persuasion is a book many people will read on the merits of its reputation (or for school) or it’s the kind of book they won’t touch. One review might not change whatever opinion you might have but Persuasion is an obvious must read for romantics and anyone who likes their heroines level-headed and ready to stand on their own two feet.
*Though one does add the caveat that Pride and Prejudice first has to be taken out of the equation as Pride and Prejudice is arguably everyone’s favorite Austen novel.
**My only experience with Persuasion before this reading was Diana Peterfreund’s post-apocalyptic retelling For Darkness Shows the Stars. I had never even seen a movie version so I really had no idea what to expect from the story. At. All. It made for a pleasant surprise while reading.
Possible Pairings: Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley, Middlemarch by George Eliot, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banksby E. Lockhart, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater