Thursday, January 24, 2008

Persuasion by Jane Austen

I meant to reread all of Jane Austen's six masterpieces before Masterpiece Theatre started broadcasting them on TV, but as you can see, I am too slow! I just finished rereading Persuasion a couple of days ago. I have read it a couple of times before, but it has been almost ten years since the last time I read it. After Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion is my second favorite Jane Austen novel.

Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot. Poor Anne is the sensible daughter of a silly vain baronet, and has an equally silly and vain older sister. Her mother died when she was 14 and she was then taken under the wing of her mother's good friend Lady Russell, who lives nearby. At 19, Anne feel in love with a young naval officer named Frederick Wentworth. She was persuaded by Lady Russell and her father to break off the engagment because Wentworth had no money and no connections. Now, eight years later, Wentworth has returned, and as a wealthy captain. He is on the market for a wife, and Anne has to endure watching his flirtations with other girls. Anne has changed over time, but her love for Captain Wentworth has not. Can she stand up for herself now, or is she still under the influence and opinions of others?

I love this novel about second chances at love. It has wonderful character growth. Austen is an excellent character writer. The attributes of different characters are not so different from people I know today! I love this novel and can not recommend it enough. If you liked the latest Masterpiece version of this novel, you will love the book. The different story lines that were rushed in the movie are fully laid out in the book and make much more sense.

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