on December 20, 1817
Genres: Classic, Romance
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.
Note: I actually have a bound collectors edition of all Jane Austen’s books and I read Persuasion from that. I’m just borrowing this cover for the post, since I don’t have a cover for just Persuasion to share.
My top thoughts:
This is one of the only Jane Austen books (maybe only?) that I hadn’t read so I’m glad that Stephanie suggested we do a buddy read. It was far from my favorite, but I did ultimately enjoy it.
What I liked/didn’t like:
Three stars is low for a Jane Austen from me and there are lots of factors that may have contributed to the lower rating:
- We started our buddy read on or around the day Trumpers stormed the capital. So, ya know, not exactly in the best mindset.
- My personal life was also imploding with stress, so again, not the best mindset.
- Expectations were HIGH. Not only have I heard many people consider this their favorite Austen, but I have several favorites to compare it to. Without those factors, I probably would have given it 4 stars, like Stephanie did.
I do really like the heroine, Anne. And it is the classic version of one of my favorite tropes – a second chance romance. It has all the things you can come to expect from an Austen novel. Annoying relatives, duplicitous men, romantic letters, and a very sweet romance. For me, though, the pacing was off. We started really super slow. Once things got going they stayed pretty steady, until the last couple chapter where it was a whirlwind and then it was over.
The same day I finished the book, I watched one movie version (1995) and enjoyed it, though it did alter a few things. I think I will try to get in another version (because I saw it has Anthony Steward Head and I love him from Buffy & Merlin). The fact that I do want to watch the movies is a sign that I enjoyed it and perhaps I’ll bump my rating to 3.5 stars (which I ultimately did).