Dust off your Classics : Persuasion by Jane Austen

November 17, 2014 Book review, Dust off Your Classics 10 ★★★★

Once upon a time there were two bookworms who wanted to read Classics.  But they were afraid, a little intimidated and needed encouragement so they bonded together to form the Dust off your Classics challenge to support each other.  Dee from Dee Read’s and myself read our way through some good classics, some great classics and found so much in these books that is surprisingly still relevant.  So much so that I want to continue reading them and will continue to share my thoughts here on any I get through.

 

This time around I’m dusting off Persuasion and reminding myself why I have a love/hate relationship with this particular classic.

Dust off your Classics : Persuasion by Jane AustenPersusasion by Jane Austen
on 1912
Genres: Classic, Emotions & Feelings, Historical Fiction, Love & Romance
Pages: 185
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Freebie
Goodreads
four-stars

In her final novel, as in her earlier ones, Jane Austen uses a love story to explore and gently satirize social pretensions and emotional confusion.

Persuasion follows the romance of Anne Elliot and naval officer Frederick Wentworth. They were happily engaged until Anne’s friend, Lady Russell, persuaded her that Frederick was “unworthy.”

Now, eight years later, Frederick returns, a wealthy captain in the navy, while Anne’s family teeters on the edge of bankruptcy. They still love each other, but their past mistakes threaten to keep them apart.

Austen may seem to paint on a small canvas, but her characters contain the full range of human passion and moral complexity, and the author’s generous spirit renders them all with understanding, compassion, and humor.

My Thoughts on Persuasion by Jane Austen:

I was excited to read this book!  I can’t believe I’m saying that as I was FORCED to read this book in school, examine it from every angle, learn numerous quotes and by the end of it all I wanted to do was burn the book and never mention it again.  But time is a great healer!  That was the last Jane Austen book I read for over 20 years but suddenly I wanted to read it again and view Jane Austen’s stories though my grown up eyes.

And this time around I loved it.  It’s amazing the difference just reading a book for pleasure can make.  The first time I read this book, I thought Anne Elliot was a boring doormat who just let everyone walk all over her.  This time around, I could see her kindness and self-sacrificing nature with more enlightened eyes.  Her life feels empty but she never complains or feels bitterness towards those who have denied her a happier, more fulfilled life.

Anne’s sisters are the pains I remember them to be.  I have a huge dislike for them both but I did find Mary’s complaints and shallowness added some humour to the book.  Her father is even worse than both of her sisters and is just a vain, peacock of man.  And Lady Russell – Anne’s godmother – is well meaning but short sighted.  This makes Anne seem a really solitary character, she has no one to really talk to or confide in and if I were her I know I’d be wearing my bitterness like a shawl around me.  But not Anne, she is kind and loving to all her family despite her dashed girlhood dreams.

So the stage is set for a love story to play out and save day.  The forbidden love that has refused to die.  Inside of Anne beats a passionate and loving heart and it’s impossible to read this book and not crave that happy ending for her.  Captain Wentworth despite Anne’s fathers earlier reservations is a gentleman through and though.  And their enduring love made my heart beat a little faster especially when THAT letter made its way to Anne’s hopeful eyes.

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late,….”

I know I did an internal cheer when I reached that part the first time I read it and I did the same all over again this time.  A second chance at love for two people who wholeheartedly deserve it.  Sigh!  That just pierced my feels!

For the letter alone, Persuasion is worth reading.  And of course just like in all then JA novels, you get a perfect illustration of just what society was like for upper class families of England during that time.  All their rules and restrictions that seem ridiculous nowadays are captured forever through Jane’s novels.  All I know after reading one is that I’m no lady!

It is a truth most universally acknowledged that Jane Austen novels are classic love stories.  And when you read one and fall under their spell you can see why.

Rating Report
Characters
four-stars
Setting
three-half-stars
Pace
three-half-stars
Did I feel it?
four-stars
Overall: four-stars


Who should read Persuasion by Jane Austen?

This seems to be often overlooked in favour of Pride and Prejudice but I prefer this one.  If you like themes of enduring love, (slightly) older characters by Jane Austen standards, a tender romance and love letters; then I’d recommend this one to you.

 

 

four-stars

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10 Responses to “Dust off your Classics : Persuasion by Jane Austen”

  1. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    I want to read more Austen as the only one I’ve really read is Pride and Prejudice. I’m glad you gave this another chance and enjoyed it more. I really need to reread some of the books I read in high school as I’m sure my perspective would be completely different. I listened to The Great Gatsby recently and got so much more out of it now than I did 20 years ago and it was one I enjoyed at the time!
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…Tim Cratchit’s Christmas Carol – Review

    • trish

      I haven’t read The Great Gatsby but I really want to do so. I even have a book that is a retelling but it seems stupid to read that until I read the original so both are in the queue. I did find that the passage of time has made me look more favourably on classics. Or more than likely it’s not having to twist them inside out and upside down and analyse them to death has just made them easier to read 🙂

  2. kimbacaffeinate

    One of my favorite books of all times. OK, confession..I was one of those kids in English class who adored analyzing books. I would make comments and connections in the book and my classmates would turn their heads and look at me like I had three heads..LOL
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Gunpowder Alchemy by Jeannie Lin

    • trish

      I suppose that is what reviewing is really 🙂 I loved English in school but by the time I analysed a book to death, I found I just got sick of the sight of it. I’d love to be sitting in on those classes now though or even just to have some of my essays to read, that would be fun to see exactly what I wrote back then.

  3. Lark

    I agree with you about this novel…especially that letter! It’s those perfect little romantic moments that keep me coming back to J. Austen again and again. So, what classic will you be reading next? 🙂
    Lark recently posted…Bookish Art for November

    • trish

      That letter is amazing Lark, there is just such passion and feeling in it. And both are such lonely, repressed characters that my heart just pounds when I read it 🙂 For my next classic, I’m thinking either The Bell Jar or Tess of D’Ubervilles. I also read Emma lately and enjoyed that too.

  4. R_Hunt

    I can’t believe that I haven’t read Persuasion yet at my age! I read many classics as a young person but developed an aversion to them when I started working full time or being home with kids, because I wanted easy to read fluff reads that went down quickly. Maybe time for me to take a peek at this one.
    by the way, this is Rita originally from My Home of Books– my new blog here.
    R_Hunt recently posted…More Simplifying & What the Fam’s Reading

    • trish

      Ohhh new blog, that’s exciting. Can’t wait to check that out in a few mins. I hadn’t read any classics for donkeys years until 2013 which is why I set up the challenge with Dee. Like you I unashamedly love my fluff but it feels good to work my way through a few classics too. I read them a lot slower than other books but they are not the chore at all I thought they might be.

  5. Dee @ Dee's Reads

    I loved this one too. It became my favorite Austen novel. I thought it was more realistic and the most relatable , for me anyway. I’m glad we read it together. Also glad you gave it a shot after having to re it in school and , yea that’s a pain.
    I am embarrassed to say, I just realized I haven’t yet written up a post for this. Idk how I will since I fimished so long ago! I’m not sure I’ll be able to! Maybe I’ll do a mini review 🙂
    Anyway great review. Major props! Now to decide the next book..
    Oh and I gotta say, aren’t u proud of us? Our challenge plan is actually working! We are reading WAY more classics this year and actually want to instead of dreading it. 😀 go us. Lol

    • trish

      It’s always fun to read them together isn’t it. I think this was one of the fastest classics that I read as I was really into it and didn’t want to leave it down. That letter is so romantic, my heart just felt like it was going to burst open with happiness for them both (but especially Anne).
      I was thinking that lately as well, I’m really enjoying my classic reads now. I think I’ve finally lost my fear of them! That’s what I hoped would happen when we started the challenge but I didn’t really believe it would happen. I’m so glad we’ve kept the momentum going 🙂

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