“Persuasion” by Jane Austen

Recommended by Beth

Anne Elliot, at twenty-seven, may still be considered an eligible match due to her place in society, but the fact is she’s noPersuasion longer young and her romantic outlook is bleak, to say the least. Eight years earlier, she fell head over heels in love with and became engaged to Frederick Wentworth, a young naval officer. Unfortunately, her youth and inexperience allowed her to be persuaded to break off the engagement as Frederick held neither fortune nor rank.

Now the tides are reversed: Anne’s father has squandered much of their fortune, forcing them into reduced circumstances and Captain Wentworth has returned from the sea successful, wealthy and looking for a wife. Anne has never truly stopped loving Frederick, but can he forgive the weak-mindedness of her youth? Or will she have to stand by and watch him find happiness elsewhere?

I re-read “Persuasion” every year; it’s far and away my favorite Austen story. It gently pokes fun at the pretensions and vanity of the upper class; many of the proper lords and ladies are vain buffoons. Anne’s father has mirrors on every wall so he can admire himself wherever he goes; her sister Mary is clueless that her class snobbery makes her less admired, not more. While I enjoy the comedy these sketches provide, it’s the love story, the longing and heartache that makes me come back again and again. The regrets and missed opportunities between Anne and Frederick, Anne trying to keep her game face on while she sees the man she loves slipping away, and the final letter from Frederick that makes me swoon every time I read it…literary gold.

If you’re new to Jane Austen or have only read her opus, Pride and Prejudice, let me ‘persuade’ you to give “Persuasion” a try!

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