Persuasion by Jane Austen
Author: Jane Austen
Genre: Classic Romance
Age-Range: 14+ (young adult/adult)
Era: early 1800s (Regency era)
Setting: England ~ mostly Bath
Source: free on Kindle ~ probably will buy hardbound copy soon!
Rating: 5/5 stars
Content: 1/5. Okay for basically all ages, though the reading level is higher than most tweens can handle in my personal opinion.
Persuasion by Jane Austen
‘She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older’
At twenty-seven, Anne Elliot is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years earlier, she had been persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. What happens when they encounter each other again is movingly told in Jane Austen’s last completed novel.
Set in the fashionable societies of Lyme Regis and Bath, Persuasion is a brilliant satire of vanity and pretension, but, above all, it is a love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities.
For some reason, I started reading this book thinking it was going to be boring and dry … that I wasn’t going to love it as much as I’ve loved every single one of Jane Austen’s other novels.
It was probably those two AWFUL movie adaptations that I watched before seeing this. They ruined Persuasion for me on every level … until I read the book, which wiped the movies away completely with its awesomeness!
This is possibly one of Austen’s greatest works. Why? Because there’s just so much heart in it! She must have gone through something similar herself. She. Must. Have. It’s absolutely beautiful and perfect and lovely! The characters are all so loveable (or so hateful) and … just everything’s so perfect! I love it!
Let me just say I started reading this book thinking I was going to absolutely detest Anne. She sounds like an absolute wimp. She let her friend and mother-figure Lady Russell convince her to break off an engagement to this awesome guy who she loved and who loves her. Conclusion: she has no backbone.
However, the funny thing is, I adored Anne! I absolutely lived her life. I can’t really explain why – I suppose just because she’s such an admirable, nice person, and she doesn’t really let herself be pushed around a ton, not like in the movies and not even as much as Fanny Price of Mansfield Park – so you’ll have to read the story to find out. She was a bit like Elinor from Sense and Sensibility, but she had a lot more sensibility, quite honestly, than Elinor did.
I started Persuasion imagining Wentworth as the ancient, stodgy, stupid, horribly ugly old codger who acted him in the movie version I saw most recently (twice, actually … I was so offended the first time that I had to see if my eyes really saw what they saw).
SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?!?!?!?! And that’s him at his best … most the time he looks waaay worse.
He was a bad actor, too, just so you know. But as I read, of course I fell in love with him, too … the book version, not the movie version, of course. I don’t like him as much as Mr. Knightley … and I’m obsessed with Edmund Bertram at the moment so both Wentworth and Knightley are getting side-lined … but Wentworth is not only handsome, sweet, and intelligent, but he’s also a great hero. And so dang cool.
And then there’s this:
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 for ever. 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. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone, I think and plan. Have you not seen this? Can you fail to have understood my wishes? I had not waited even these ten days, could I have 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 that there is true attachment and constancy among men. Believe it to be most fervent, most undeviating, in
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.
Oh. My. Gosh. Did I not hear this in the movie versions or something?!?!? Just like Anne, I felt that “Such a letter was not soon to be recovered from.”
Then there are the minor characters … Anne’s sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, Sir Elliot, Mr. Elliot, the Campbells, Anne’s friend from school whose name I forget … and many, many others (that are always kept organized in my head in a typical amazing how-does-she-do-it Austenish fashion). They are all very distinct people in my head. I think Anne’s family were the only ones done really well in the movie, so I was able to maintain the mental images I already had of them … only deepened, of course. 😀
So go read Persuasion! It’s a necessity. If you don’t read it, you’re … well, please get out of my sight. We can’t be friends any longer. 😉
(I’m not sure how that applies to anything … except it’s just awesomesauce!)