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.
Genres: Classic, Emotions & Feelings, Historical Fiction, Love & Romance
Source: Kindle Freebie
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.
|Did I feel it?|
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.