Monday, September 5, 2011

Persuasion - Review


By: Jane Austen

Published: first published December 1817

308 pages

Genre: Classic, Historical Fiction

Source: Own/Personal Library

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Goodreads description--Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen's most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne's family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.

I'm hesitant to review a classic such as Persuasion, but I will anyway. 5 Stars.

This is actually my second time reading Persuasion. I've found that the beginning of every Jane Austen book that I've read has had a slow start--not so much so with Pride and Prejudice. I think she just gives a lot of background information on several of the main characters up front and sometimes that can make for a boring start. However, I thoroughly suggest pressing through because once you get into the story, the story itself is well worth it. When Jane Austen's on a roll with her writing, she's on it for sure and it is beautiful. This is exactly the case with Persuasion. The entire story is build up to the last section. But the climax is perfect--in my humble opinion.

Anne is one of my favorite of Austen's female leading characters. Having turned down Captain Wentworth eight years prior, Anne has some life experience that most of Austen's main characters do not have. I love how Anne carries the regret of her past mistakes. She has to live with the possibility of watching the one man she has always loved fall in love with someone else. While Anne once put more stock into her friend and father's opinions, she has since learned to think for herself and follow her heart.

Though Captain Wentworth has had his heart broken and ego bruised by Anne, he doesn't come out too jaded. He is intent on ignoring Anne and moving on with his life. But sometimes life has a different plan.

I feel like the words I have to say about it really don't do the book justice. I love Jane Austen. And I love this book.

*Updated: September 6, 2013