Persuasion, by Jane Austen

Book 4

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to read eight straight Sookie Stackhouse novels, so I needed some freebies from Amazon in order to do a Kindle-only vacation. I found several Jane Austen novels and decided to re-read Persuasion. This is Austen’s novel of “the one that got away”.

At age 19, Anne Elliott fell in love with a young naval officer. She turned down his marriage proposal on the advice of a family friend, Lady Russell, who was as close to a mother as she had. Neither Lady Russell, nor anyone else in Anne’s vain, foolish family thought he was good enough for her. In a “name and fortune” way.

Fast forward eight years. Anne remains unmarried and her father has spent the family into debt. Naval officer comes back, having made his fortune in the war or whatever. Drama ensues.

This novel isn’t nearly as fun as Pride and Prejudice, but I have far more sympathy for the heroes here. Anne is the only sensible person in her family – although she has a brother-in-law that is rather charming. And it is easy to see that Captain Wentworth is a good guy, even if you don’t know what in hell he is thinking for carrying on with the Musgrove sisters.

Confession: I saw the 1995 film before I actually read the book. And one thing the film does really well that might be a bit too subtle in the novel is expressing how Anne grows as a person throughout the course of events. She becomes a more attractive and independent creature outside of her un-relationship with Wentworth, such that one might be convinced even if he hadn’t come to his damn senses, she would have been just fine. I suppose that is why I like this one best.

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