Pages: 271 pages
Publisher: Bantam Classics
Jane Austen’s last completed novel, Persuasion is a delightful social satire of England’s landed gentry and a moving tale of lovers separated by class distinctions. After years apart, unmarried Anne Elliot, the heroine Jane Austen called “almost too good for me,” encounters the dashing naval officer others persuaded her to reject, as he now courts the rash and younger Louisa Musgrove. Superbly drawn, these characters and those of Anne’s prideful father, Sir Walter, the scheming Mrs. Clay, and the duplicitous William Elliot, heir to Kellynch Hall, become luminously alive—so much so that the poet Tennyson, visiting historic Lyme Regis, where a pivotal scene occurs, exclaimed: “Don’t talk to me of the Duke of Monmouth. Show me the exact spot where Louisa Musgrove fell!”
Tender, almost grave, Persuasion offers a glimpse into Jane Austen’s own heart while it magnificently displays the full maturity of her literary power.
When I first read Persuasion in college, I thought it was another great Austen story but I don’t think I really appreciated the true beauty and greatness of this book. So in this case, I am like Anne Elliot…I didn’t appreciate what I had until I got a second chance.
Persuasion, unfortunately, was Austen’s last completed novel. However, you can tell by the maturity, not only from our main heroine, but from the sophistication of Austen’s writing. Persuasion portrays Austen truly at her best. It is rare to see an author grow in their writing and once again, Austen shows that she is different from other authors, the unique one out of the bunch. Her themes of love lost, second chances and independence is explored beautifully in this great classic.
Anne Elliot is the unsung heroine out of all Austen’s characters. Now, Elizabeth Bennet is still my all-time favorite but what I liked about Anne is that she didn’t settle. Yes, she took advice from someone instead of following her own heart and although it left her alone, she still stuck to her decision. Her personality and her maturity (what 18th century society would call Anne being a spinster) are what make her the most realistic character. The character development of Anne is completely different in comparison to Austen other stories and what makes this novel so enjoyable.
An Austen novel is not complete with a complete with full cast of colorful characters. And this novel is no different. There are so many laughable characters, most particularly Anne’s family, of course made it hard for me to put down this book. The ridiculousness of the Elliot family is a classic Austen examination of 18th century society. She doesn’t leave no stone unturned and no character unscathed. No matter how much you cringe at their actions, you yearn to read more about it because you just can’t stop enjoying them. I believe Austen purposefully does that, makes you love them when you really want to hate them.
Austen’s writings stand to be reread for future generations. And Persuasion is no exception. My first reading of this story was great but my second reading let me fall more deeply with this story. I highly suggest you read it (whether it is your first or second time). You will definitely fall in love with this classic love story.
Overall rating: 5 out of 5 stars