“Persuasion” by Jane Austen

Date finished: 17th February 2012

Persuasion was my second Jane Austen read of the year, and what an absolute joy it was. I’m so glad I’ve decided to embark on my year of reading her books and others inspired by them, as I’m already enjoying it more than I could have imagined.

In the early 19th century, young women who had not married by the age of twenty-seven, such as our heroine, Anne Elliot, were no longer seen as young, and often would have probably have lost any expectation of finding a husband. When her family are forced to economise and let their home to a naval man while removing themselves to Bath, Anne encounters Captain Wentworth, a man who had proposed to her when she was just a teenager, but who Anne had been persuaded by her friend, Lady Russell, to break the engagement as Wentworth had no fortune and was just embarking on his own naval career. The story follows them as they become reacquainted, all the while examining the society of the time.

I adored this book. It’s only the third time I’ve read it, and probably not since I was a teenager, and I don’t remember it affecting me quite so much back then, but now I felt every emotion along with Anne as the story progresses, and at times it is very melancholy and sorrowful. The characters are wickedly observed, including Anne’s self-centred sister Mary, her vain and snobbish father and eldest sister Elizabeth, and the salty Admiral and his friendly wife. It was also lovely to see the scene move around some of my favourite places including Lyme Regis and, of course, the city of Bath, and Austen describes the different societies beautifully and with a wit that as always, sparkles. Fabulous.

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