Persuasion by Jane Austen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Jane Austin managed to write books that were not simply romances, not simply cultural/societal tellers for the time period, but also studies in human behavior. I never thought of the similarities between the Cinderella story and this until I did some further reading on the book.
I read this book awhile ago and enjoyed it, but now that I reread it I think I must have been sleeping when I first read it. Here is a story of a person who has made a decision when she was 19, has to live with it and around it for 8 and half years until she can somehow try to fix it and reclaim her life.
There are so many really great literary parts to it but the story itself...I was never impressed with Anne Elliot. I thought she was weak to have been persuaded so easily, until I remembered (especially now that I am OLDER) how easily it is to be unsure of one's self, especially at 19. She spent the next 8 1/2 years living her life, taking care of others and keeping true to herself. She didn't believe in the societal trappings of needing to marry for the sake of marriage and since she feels she threw away her chance at love, she stays single.
Throughout the book we see Anne Elliot's softness and her quietness is often overlooked as a sign of weakness. But underneath she is a strong person who is trapped in her time. Well, until Captain Frederick Wentworth steps back into her life that is. He is still the man who makes her stomach flip, but she stands aside as he seems ready to chose another. She has no claim. However, once he is at liberty (minor misunderstanding that almost traps him in Lyme), she makes sure he knows her feelings and she steps back into his life, literally at the concert and figuratively with her philosophy about how a woman loves longest with Captain Harville. Captain Wentworth is a man worthy of Anne, he has stayed true to her and he writes an incredible letter asking her to say once and for all, is there still a chance?
At the same time as all this soul piercing love is going on, we see the silliness of Anne's own family as they feel they are worthier and better looking than they are. I enjoyed how dimensional all the side characters were designed. We get to see how important connections were to the society levels, and how easy it was to get away with being a false person. We see the trappings of this time period and how people either rise above it or succumb to being caricatures of themselves.
I enjoyed Ms Austin's language, her story and her ability to grip your heart as you breathed life with the characters then also laughed with the absurdities. I will definitely be rereading this one. Again.
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