Blurb from Goodreads
Written during Jane Austen’s race against failing health, Persuasion tells the story of Anne Elliot, a woman who – at twenty-seven – is no longer young and has few romantic prospects. Eight years ago, she was persuaded by her friend Lady Russell to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a handsome naval captain with neither fortune nor rank. When Anne and Frederick meet again, he has acquired both, but still feels the sting of her rejection. A brilliant satire of vanity and pretension, Austen’s last completed novel is also a movingly told love story tinged with the heartache of missed opportunities.
My Thoughts Before Reading
I am finally doing it…
I am reading Persuasion.
This feels like a monumental day as I always declare Austen to be my favourite writer. I read my first Austen when I was a teenager. And within a month I had read all of her other full length novels except for this one.
And then I paused… I thought I should savour this book. Store it up for a rainy day…
And then that rainy day never came. I almost grew afraid of reading this book.
But here I am now. On a slightly damp day in July more than twenty years later and I am finally going to read the book.
Wish me luck!
Some days later…
WARNING TO ALL AUSTEN FANS! RANT AHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh my god why didn’t anyone ever tell me what a wet-wipe Anne Elliot is??? I waited twenty years to read this…
Oh heavens no Jane.
I have always proclaimed Jane Austen to be my favourite author so it truly pains me to say this but wow did I not enjoy this AT ALL!!
I get that Austen was older and more ticked off at life when she wrote this and therefore was aiming for quite the sombre tone…
BUT THIS WAS NOTHING MORE THAN A DIRGE!!!!!
I was so excited to read this freaking book. And I read chapter one and was all ‘oh I’m loving it’ to people because it’s Austen! And my default reaction is love…
But then I realised I hadn’t picked up the book in well over a day…
LEFT LANGUISHING ON MY BEDSIDE LOCKER!!!!
WHAT IS THIS SACRILEGE?????
And then it dawned on me…
I just wasn’t enjoying it.
Where were the sparkling characters that jump off the page?
People level accusations of dullness at Fanny Price from Mansfield Park… I want to ask those people have they read Persuasion??? Because Anne Elliot is dullness personified. She’s so humble and intelligent and meek and perfect and her family just don’t understand her…
AND SOMEONE PASS ME A FRYING PAN SO I CAN SLAP EITHER HER OR MYSELF!!!!
ANYTHING TO END THE TORMENT!!!!!
Reading about her was just tedious.
And Captain Wentworth…
Errr I’m sorry Jane but did you actually forget to include him in like half the book?!?!?! Because truly I feel like he utterly lacked presence and not one fiddlers did I give about him and Anne.
ONE GOOD LOVE LETTER IN THE SECOND LAST CHAPTER DOES NOT A GOOD LOVE STORY MAKE!!!!
And the supporting characters…
Dear god no.
Anne’s family were just ridiculously written. They shared one personality between them and that was shallow cliched knob. There was no nuance, no subtlety.
I have finished this book and truly I’m still confused by which one is which. I know there was a sister called Elizabeth and a cousin called Louisa? Was she even a cousin???? She wasn’t, but there was some marriage connection….
But basically no one left a truly lasting impression.
And the cad, Mr Elliot…. *yawn*
I’ve read that type of character before (Wickham, Willoughby, Frank Churchill, Henry Crawford) and each of them were faaaaaaar more interesting to read about.
And wtf was up with the narrative???? It was so choppy. All over the place really. And the prose lacking in both clarity and beauty.
About the only good thing this has going for it is that it’s not too long. I mean it felt long. But compared to some of Austen’s other works this was short.
A POSITIVE! GOT TO FIND A POSITIVE!!!!!!!
I definitely enjoyed the social commentary that took place regarding gender inequality. It was interesting to see how a spurned man could take himself off to join the navy and earn himself both respectability and a fortune, whereas a woman had no such options available to her. She was utterly dependent on attracting a man to secure her future. And without man or fortune could end up on some very hard times like Anne’s friend Mrs Smith.
But overall to me this novel was dull.
I’ve always read Austen because I think she writes fabulously trashy escapist novels. Emma (which is probably her best written work imo) is so full of gossip and backbiting, Pride and Prejudice has the best enemies to lovers romance, Mansfield Park is full of high morals with an extremely tawdry underbelly, Sense and Sensibility explores the idea of gender inequality with more interesting characters and Northanger Abbey is straight up trashtastic gothic brilliance.
Whereas Persuasion just simpers along to its inevitable ending.
I’ve heard it referred to as autumnal…
I’d be more inclined to say barren. Yes there’s interesting social commentary but the plot and characters are so painfully prosaic that Austen’s biting satire can’t save this book.
I can’t bring myself to rate this lower than a three because it’s Austen.
But give it a few days…
If my annoyance keeps simmering away this might go lower.