Publisher: Oxford University Press
Date Published: Originally Published 1818
Genres: Classics, Literary, Romance
Audiobook Length: 8 hours, 47 minutes
Audiobook Narrator: Juliet Stevenson
Description: Persuasion celebrates romantic constancy in an era of turbulent change. Written as the Napoleonic Wars were ending, the novel examines how a woman can at once remain faithful to her past and still move forward into the future. Anne Elliot seems to have given up on present happiness and has resigned herself to living off her memories. More than seven years earlier she complied with duty: persuaded to view the match as imprudent and improper, she broke off her engagement to a naval captain with neither fortune, ancestry, nor prospects. However, when peacetime arrives and brings the Navy home, and Anne encounters Captain Wentworth once more, she starts to believe in second chances. Jane Austen's last completed novel features a heroine much older and wiser than her predecessors in earlier books, and presents a more intimate and sober tale of a love found long after such happiness had been deemed hopeless. This edition includes an appendix giving the original ending of Persuasion.
Even when Darcy looks like this,
I contend Captain Frederick Wentworth > Fitzwilliam Darcy.
There is just something about Anne and Wentworth. Even after the years apart, the love still burns brightly. Probably more so the second time around.
Anne is surrounded by the worst people. Her father and older sister are vain and inconsiderate. Her younger sister is an attention whore. I have never felt that Anne was a push-over, but more of a peace-maker. She is always easily persuaded to do what others ask of her, never putting herself first. Including breaking her engagement eight years ago to Captain Wentworth, a man with no name and little prospects (at least eight years ago). And Anne has never recovered from the loss of Wentworth, never found another man who she was interested in. As this quote from the end of the novel shows:
We certainly do not forget you as soon as you forget us. It is, perhaps, our fate rather than our merit. We cannot help ourselves.
Wentworth returns to Anne’s life when his sister and her husband rent Anne’s family home. And has never gotten over the sting of Anne’s rebuff. He goes so far as to rebuke Anne at dinner one evening, stating:
A strong mind, with sweetness of manner
as the type of woman he is looking to marry.
quite ready to make a foolish match. Anybody between fifteen and thirty may have me for the asking. A little beauty, and a few smiles, and a few compliments to the navy, and I am a lost man.
And yet, as Anne and Wentworth are confronted with each other more and more, the old feelings rekindle.
Persuasion is my favorite of all of Austen’s works. I love the subtly. The misunderstanding that Wentworth is engaged to Louisa Musgrove. Or that Anne is engaged to her cousin, Mr. Elliot. The slow building of Wentworth’s feelings from anger, to jealousy, to hope and love. And like Pride and Prejudice, Ms. Austen’s fondness for letters plays out in the best scene of the book. Anne is speaking with Captain Harville while Wentworth is writing a letter. But that letter is secretly for Anne, with Wentworth professing his hope that he is not too late.
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, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago.
How can you not swoon at that? I would much rather the subtle, exquisite, confession of love than any contemporary romance with overt sex and instant lust.