First Published: 1818
Pages: 312 (Hardback)
Jane Austen’s final novel is the story of Anne Elliot, a woman who gets a second chance. As a teenager she becomes engaged to a man who seems perfect for her, Frederick Wentworth. But she is persuaded to break the engagement off by her friend Lady Russel, who believes he is too poor to be a suitable match. The episode plunges Anne into a period of bleak disappointment. Eight years later, Frederick returns from the Napoleonic Wars flushed with success. Anne’s circumstances have also changed; her father’s spendthrift ways means he has been forced to lease the home to a naval family. Will Anne and Frederick rediscover their love? Can their changed fortunes inhibit their feelings? Persuasion is a story of self-knowledge and personal regeneration, of social change and emotional politics.
I’ve been meaning to reread Persuasion for ages. It’s the last of Austen’s novels and the first time I read it was during a bit of an Austen binge (all her major novels, back to back, in order of publication) and thus was feeling a bit romanced-out by the time I got round to this one and didn’t really ‘click’ with it. I’ve always suspected that my ambivalence towards it back then was a little unfair and that a reread would improve my opinion, and I’m happy to say that I was right. It’s still not my favourite Austen but I did really really enjoy it and predict at least a couple more rereads in the future (which is a lot more than can be said about Mansfield Park). Continue reading