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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: Persuasion by Jane Austen

Posted by Irish in Review7 Comments

Title: Persuasion
Publisher: Project Gutenberg

Publication Date: 1818
Series or Standalone: Standalone
Format: ebook
Pages: 236

The Author on the Web:

Not applicable
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
First Line: Sir Walter Elliot, of Kellynych Hall, in Somersetshire, was a man who, for his own amusement, never took up any book but the Baronetage; there he found occupation for an idle hour, and consolation in a distressed one; there his faculties were roused into admiration and respect by contemplating the limited remnant of the earliest patents; there any unwelcome sensations, arising from domestic affairs changed naturally into pity and contempt as he turned over the almost endless creations of the last century; and there, if every other leaf were powerless, he could read his own history with an interest which never failed.

You know, I never fully realized just how long winded dear Jane Austen could be sometimes until I typed out the opening to Persuasion. Whew…so many words and I don’t think any modern publisher would let an author run on so. But if I had a choice I wouldn’t change a single word that Austen wrote because her books are near on perfection. I love everything that Jane Austen wrote and re-read her books often. With every re-read its like visiting with an old friend and I get the feeling of coming home. Persuasion is one my favorite of Austen’s books but its been many years since I last read it. Time and review commitments make it harder to re-read books these days. But when I heard that Diana Peterfreuend’s For Darkness Shows the Stars was a Persuasion retelling I thought that now would be the perfect time to re-read it.
As always, Austen has an amazing gift for setting up a family unit. There were times when her narration was a little dry as it could use more dialogue but once you get used to her style you just become lost in her words. My heart breaks for Anne Elliot who listened to the advice of those she felt were older and wiser than her and made a decision that she soon came to regret. This becomes all the more apparent when her childhood love returns to town seven years later proving that he did all he said he would and just plain making her miserable. People think that a woman scorned is a bad thing…well men…they can be just as petty my friends. 

But this wouldn’t be a Jane Austen novel if there wasn’t some sort of personal feeling to over come. In Pride & Prejudice the characters must learn to see beyond their perceived notions and look at people as who they are and not who one thinks they should be. Here in Persuasion they must all over come the hurt feelings and prejudices of the past. People change and with time one can often better understand why a decision was made in the past. But you need to be able to lay aside your preconceived notions to do so. 

I really love Anne and Captain Wentworth’s relationship. They are just so hurt and so heartbreakingly real. And that letter…you know the one…damn…that just gets me EVERY DAMN TIME!!! I love Darcy’s declaration of love and proposal to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice but it just doesn’t compare to the passion that is in that letter. The raw emotion and feeling that fills such a short amount of the page. Ladies, we’d all be very lucky to have a letter written for us that was half as passionate.

Its hard to talk about Persuasion and come up with something new. This is a book that most people know about in some form or other. Its a classic and its a classic for a reason as its story withstands the test of time. Anyone who reads it can relate to the issues found in its pages. Most people have made a decision and than came to regret it. The question then becomes…if you had the chance to change that decision…would you? Anne and Captain Elliot have to ask themselves that very question and what they decide might surprise you. I loved this book and I highly recommend it. I think that it gets better with each re-read and if you haven’t read it yet then you are really missing out. This is definitely a book I wish I could read again for the first time.

7 Responses to “Review: Persuasion by Jane Austen”

  1. Keertana

    Wonderful review, Irish! Persuasion is one of my all-time favorites and in many ways, I love it far more than I did Pride and Prejudice. Plus, like you, that letter always gets me – every time! If only we all had a Captain Wentworth in our lives! 😉

    Ivy Book Bindings

  2. QNPoohBear

    Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel and one of my favorites of all time. I felt deep empathy for Anne and all her suffering and I could feel how much she still loved Capt. Wentworth even though he was so awful to her. Her conversation with Capt. Harville about women loving when all hope is gone is just one of the most beautiful passages. Then there’s that letter! The original draft of the novel didn’t have the elements that make it so wonderful. I always thought that Anne was meant to be Jane’s sister Cassandra and the story a “what if” Cassandra’s fiance had lived. Now that I’m older and know more about the time period though, I think Anne made the right decision to err on the side of caution. She could have ended up a destitute widow with children living in a hovel somewhere or she could have ended up the wife of a very wealthy man. They just didn’t know and given her station, it would have been difficult for her to marry down. Though of any of the Elliot sisters, Anne could have coped.

  3. MoniqueReads

    I haven’t read any Jane Austen yet. But she is one my list… I feel so lost when people mention her books. I haven’t read a bad review yet for any of her works.

  4. Tasha B.

    I get so frustrated with Anne in this book–but I think that’s because we have more in common than I’d care to admit! We have all listened to our elders and/or friends and later realized we should have listened to ourselves. But Anne and Capt. Wentworth get a second chance. <3

  5. Anna

    That letter certainly is swoon-worthy! This is my favorite Austen novel, so I’m glad to see you love it, too.

  6. Homaira Faquiryan

    How about the ironies that Austen wrote? Where Wentworth had to become a Capt. before he was seen as an eligible bachelor and how Ann wasn’t a romantic but a realist?
    Look past the love stories and try to find the satire and humor which truly is Austen’s legacy.