Book Review: “Persuasion” by Jane Austen

Anne Elliott is still single and getting old – she’s 27 years old.  She had broken off an engagement to Captain Wentworth 8 years earlier, but she never got him out of her heart.  Circumstances bring him back into her circle, but Anne isn’t sure if he still feels the same way.  Complicating matters is her cousin, Mr. Elliott, who seems to be pursuing her.  Does she have a second chance with Wentworth?  Or should she settle for Elliott?

I have only a couple of Austen’s novels left to read (for the first time) and I cannot figure out why I wait so long in between each one.  I love her writing so much!  She’s so funny and has created these fantastic characters!  There are a ton of subplots going on in this story, and they are just as entertaining.  First are Anne’s widowed father and her older sister Elizabeth – they are both still single and it’s easy to see why.  They are so vain and just awful people who barely regard Anne or the youngest sister Mary at all.  And Mary!  She’s hilarious!  She is such an attention whore/Debby Downer whose biggest fear is being forgotten or looked over.  She is a classic youngest sibling.  But then Anne, who is honestly sweet and modest, falls into a great group of people through Mary & the people who rent her father’s manor house.  It is great to see Anne start to separate herself from her actual family and join in this other “family” who seem to truly value her.

Captain Wentworth is part of this other group, as he was not regarded highly enough previously (and why Anne was persuaded into ending the engagement years ago).  He is Anne’s biggest regret as they absolutely loved each other truly.  He’s hurt though, and not knowing just how Anne is feeling now, he tries to convince himself of being attracted to other single women in the group…  which obviously doesn’t happen.  Spoiler:  He is still very much in love with Anne, it just takes a beat for them to figure it out together.  The way he puts himself out there though, hoping with everything he has that Anne might still care for him, is one of the most romantic scenes ever!  The need to convey his feeling to her, but secretly, and then how Anne has to figure out how to reply in the same hidden manner while they are in full company of all of their friends…  oh, where’s my fainting couch?  It is all just so lovely and wonderful.

I think I might like this more than Pride and Prejudice, which I didn’t think would be possible.

****

Persuasion

by Jane Austen

Penguin Classics, 2011.  First published 1818.

250 pages (plus an introduction)

Source:  Gift

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