Rummanah Aasi
  Persuasion, published posthumously in 1818, is Jane Austen's last completed novel. Though it isn't as recognizable as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, or Sense and Sensibility, it is perhaps my favorite Austen novel. The writing and social satire is sharp and biting. The romance, of course, is sweet, satisfying, and the center of the book.

Description (from Goodreads): When Anne Elliot falls in love with a handsome and charming young man, she must make a wrenching decision. The man she loves is perfect in every way...except one: he lacks the wealth and social status that would make him a suitable match for Anne. At least, that is what friends and family persuade Anne to believe. So Anne breaks off the match and sends Wentworth away, but she can't help wondering: Did I do the right thing? It is a question that will haunt her for years until, unexpectedly, Wentworth returns. His circumstances have improved greatly, but is it too late for Anne?

Review: Like all of Austen's novels, the plot of the book is very straightforward. Our heroine, Anne Elliot, made a mistake eight years ago and the question of "What if?" has haunted her ever since. Anne was in love with a navy officer named Frederick Wentworth when she was nineteen years old. Wentworth was everything that Anne wanted in a spouse except he lacked two important things: social stature and money. Through persuasion and influence from her peers and society, Anne went against her gut instincts and declined Wenthworth's marriage proposal. Now in her late 20s (which is an old maid in Austen's times!), Anne has been shuffling between and living with vain, superficial, and irritating family members and friends. And with the unpredictable hands of fate, she once again encounters Wentworth who is now a renowned Captain in the Royal Army. The two are now forced to revisit old wounds and perhaps make amends.
  I absolutely adored Anne and I think she's probably the most realistic heroine that Austen created. She is logical, quiet, calm, and thoughtful. She isn't the first one to make impulsive decisions or rash prejudices against people she's met, but an observer of human behavior. Her thoughtfulness is her flaw as she over thinks everything. Though we may frown at her decision to decline Wentworth's proposal, we can understand why she declined. Without money and social stature, the two that made her society go round, there wasn't much of a future for Anne and Frederick. The prospects of attaining a future that went beyond attending balls, house visiting, and taking care of families is what Anne and Frederick both wanted. With that understanding in mind, her sacrifice of happiness leaves a bitter taste in our mouths as we watch Anne get belittled and brushed over. Anne immediately gets our sympathy and we hope for the moment where she stands up for herself.
   Unlike Anne, Frederick is a hard character to like at first. He is distant and appears extremely cold. His actions don't always make sense as he tries to make Anne jealous by being someone else's suitor, but we have to remember that is what Anne perceives him to be as we are watching the story unfold in her eyes. I thought it was interesting how our perceptions of Frederick changes as we hear other characters' opinion of him.
  The romance of Persuasion is very subdued, immersed in the quiet glances and in the body language of Anne and Frederick. The two play around the fire of attraction though their pride and resentment is what keeps them apart even though their pairing is now acceptable in the eyes of society. It is completely frustrating watching these two characters who are obviously in love with one another to come clean and actually communicate, but when they do the book soars. If you love romance and second chances, do pick up Persuasion.
 
Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: None. Recommended for teens and adults.

If you like this book try: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diane Peterfreund, Captain Wentworth's Diary by The Family Fortune by Laurie Horowitz
5 Responses
  1. Oh Thanks for reminding me what Persuassion is about!! I love Austen!! She's my go to author for classics. I remember P&P so well because of the movie adaptations but I'm almost positive there is a movie adaptation of this one as well. Still, a book review from you is much better!!


  2. Small Review Says:

    I liked this book very much, but I didn't like Anne as much as you did. I pretty much loved her, except for making the decision not to marry Frederick the first time around. I understand her reasons, but the romantic in me shudders at her cold practicality. I liked Frederick from the start because he was the wounded party and so I didn't have a problem with his early actions. I mean, who wouldn't want to make their ex-potential-fiance a little jealous when they turned you down due to your financial status and now you're successful and wanted romantically by others? :P


  3. Rubita Says:

    Persuasion is my favorite Austen novel, mainly because I love Anne so much and Elizabeth is kind of unrelatable to me--she's kind of perfect in her flaws, which is almost as bad her being just plain perfect. Anne, however, is demonstrably not perfect, but her heart is enormous and who doesn't love a character with a gigantic heart?

    Interestingly, though--and it's been a while since I reread Persuasion--I recall Anne's decision to turn down Wentworth a little differently. From what I remember, Anne ultimately made the decision for Wentworth's sake. She allowed herself to be persuaded that an early marriage would be unfortunate for him and that was really the only argument her friends and family could make that would change her mind.


  4. It has been a long time since I read an Austen book, I don't even know if I read this one.


  5. The only two Austen books I've read are Pride and Prejudice (a long time ago so I don't remember much) and Emma (which I loved). I did watch the movie of Persuasion and really enjoyed it. And of course, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a retelling of this one and I loved that. The classics can't be compared though so if I ever get time, I'd love to read the original.


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