11 May 2007

FEATURED BOOK: Persuasion



What I say:
This is possibly my favourite of Jane Austen's novels, which is saying something, as I adore 'Emma', and practically grew up with Darcy and Elizabeth, Marianne and Elinor of 'Pride and Prejudice' and 'Sense and Sensibility' respectively.

The heroine of this novel, Anne Elliot, is just so endearing that one can not help feeling sympathetic towards her. She is selfless, generous, and unassuming - all traits which are becoming less and less common in today's society. Thus, she is even more appealing. Contributing to the reader's fondness of Anne, also, is the unpleasantness of her sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, who are both self-important and hypocritical. Additionally, the sadness which has plagued Anne for eight years - she was persuaded out of marrying her true love when she was 19 because he wasn't wealthy enough - makes us feel even more keen for this story to end in the best possible way for our dear Anne.

Persuasion is carried along by it's near-perfect heroine and the story is based, fundamentally, on the persuasions which she is subject to and the methods of persuasion she exerts onto others. It is possibly the most aptly-titled book I have ever read!

The subject of Anne's affections is a Captain Frederick Wentworth (what a noble sounding name!) and the story is basically about how they go from being estranged ex-lovers (in a wholly non-sexual sense, of course) to being reunited, rekindling their love and becoming re-engaged to marry. It is what happens between these two extremes that forms the novel that is Persuasion. Namely, much gossiping, predicting, match-making, conversing, a visit to the sea-side, changes of residence, a near-fatal accident, misguided and misdirected love-ploys (as well as some well-directed ones) and, of course, lots of persuasion!

Definitely worth a read, I think you will be surprised by the depth and breadth of this novel (in which, like many of Austen's novels, so little actually occurs, and yet, so much does!), especially as it was published after Austen's death and is often over-shadowed by her more celebrated novels.

What Amazon.com says:
*"Persuasion" is a great literary work, and, to my mind, Jane Austen's finest book. This was her final completed novel before her death, and was published posthumously. As is often the case with Ms. Austen's fiction, "Persuasion" deals with the social issues of the times and paints a fascinating portrait of Regency England, especially when dealing with the class system. Rigid social barriers existed - and everyone wanted to marry "up" to a higher station - and, of course, into wealth. This is also a very poignant and passionate story of love, disappointment, loss and redemption. The point Austen makes here, is that one should not ever be persuaded to abandon core values and beliefs, especially for ignoble goals. There are consequences, always.

*After eight years, Anne, who truly loved Frederick Wentworth, is still unmarried and destined for spinsterhood. Until her mother has lived there was no problem with the income at the Elliot family, but according to the fact that her father wasn't careful with the money, they are now facing the situation that the family estate is gone to Admiral Croft, Wentworth's brother-in-law and the Elliots (Anne's father Sir Walter Elliot, her elder sister Elizabeth) need to move from Kellynch hall to Bath.

Before Anne moves to Bath she spends some time with her younger sister Mary and her husband Charles Musgrove, as well as his sisters Louisa and Henrietta at Uppercross. Captain Wenthworth so far had success in the wars, which brought him a considerable fortune and now he is looking for a wife to get settled ashore. He and Anne meet again at Mary's and Charles house, but though Anne still has feelings for him she tries not to show them clearly. And furthermore Louisa`s and Henrietta`s trials to flirt with Frederick Wentworth and get him attracted, makes it more difficult for Anne to be in the focus.

*This is a wonderful heart-moving novel and the letter at the end written by Frederick Wentworth to Anne is absolutely romantic. But this novel is also full of irony.


Read it if you love good literature and beautiful English!

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