Persuasion Persuasion discussion


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I was not enamoured with Persuasion

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message 1: by Mathis (last edited Sep 01, 2013 08:44PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mathis I had always wanted to read Persuasion and I finally did for my f2f bookclub meeting. I must say I was a bit disappointed with this one. It did not have that same wit and humor as "Pride and Prejudice' and "Emma". I found the story to be dark and moody; and the heroine weak. I've heard that Jane had written this story on her death bed, and I feel this book definitely a reflection of her illness. However, the writing is tight! And that is the reason why I'm giving this book three stars.

The story is essentially about a well-bred girl by the name of Anne, who becomes persuased to break up with her penniless boyfriend, Captain Wentworth, who geographically moves away after getting his heart broken, and returns 8 years later under different circumstances. In Anne's suspense, she mulls over the possibility of their romance rekindling.


Annemarie Donahue This was not one of the funny quirky upbeat stories. And it's definitely as far from Northanger Abby as one can get! I liked it, but I won't ignore the fact that it's a very slow story, and felt like a downer at many points.


message 3: by Mathis (last edited Mar 03, 2012 08:19PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mathis Annemarie wrote: "This was not one of the funny quirky upbeat stories. And it's definitely as far from Northanger Abby as one can get! I liked it, but I won't ignore the fact that it's a very slow story, and felt li..."

Yeah, I found the story to be very slow as well; however, I did not hate it. It just wasn't my favorite out her novels. And it's so sad, because I really wanted to love this book.


Maria All of the above posts - my feelings exactly! This was not funny, sarcxastic, witty Jane Austen here. The heroine is weak, not very bright, or sharp-tongued like Lizzy or Emma and she whalows in self pitty for so long it´s not funny....i thought that if i started my Jane Austen experience from this book alone i wouldbe tempted not to read anything welse from her.


message 5: by Amy (last edited Mar 04, 2012 06:09AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Mathis - I agree about Anne not being as strong of a character. In P&P, I was able to like Elizabeth's independent personality (for the time period) and her spunk, but Anne just was a bit dull in my mind. I also did not really get a feel of Capt Wentworth either. I was not able to fall in love with him at all like I did with Mr. Darcy :) I have not tried Emma yet - it's on my soon-to-read list, so I'll take your word that I'll like Emma better than Persuasion.


Annemarie Donahue Mathis wrote: "Annemarie wrote: "This was not one of the funny quirky upbeat stories. And it's definitely as far from Northanger Abby as one can get! I liked it, but I won't ignore the fact that it's a very slow ..."

Yeah, I hear ya. I really want to like this story because the protagonist is older and has lived a little more life than traditional Austen women so she has a more enlightened perspective. But, I dunno, I just find myself wanting little Katherine Moreland and her silly imaginary adventures. Or darling Emma and her obnoxious prejudices which make her so loveable and fun. I guess I like watching characters grow up, instead of already being grown up.


Annemarie Donahue Amy wrote: "Mathis - I agree about Anne not being as strong of a character. In P&P, I was able to like Elizabeth's independent personality (for the time period) and her spunk, but Anne just was a bit dull in m..."

Amy you will love Emma! It's absolutely wonderful!


Mathis Yeah, I think you would enjoy Emma. It's very up beat.


Lauren I feel like the odd-one-out here… I loved Persuasion!! Oh no, Mathis - I’m sorry that you didn’t like it as much as JA’s other works. :( Maybe it’s a grower.

I really loved the way the characters evolved from beginning to end; Anne gained a subtle strength and Wentworth was able to let go of his wounded pride.
And don’t forget that letter. It has to be the most beautiful letter ever written: “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, that such precious feelings are gone for ever”

(I sound like Persuasion’s own personal Cheerleader. He he)


message 10: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy Lauren wrote: "I feel like the odd-one-out here… I loved Persuasion!! Oh no, Mathis - I’m sorry that you didn’t like it as much as JA’s other works. :( Maybe it’s a grower.

I really loved the way the characters..."


I did love the letter. The letter was a pretty close second for me to Mr. Darcy's outpouring of his feelings at the end.


message 11: by Mathis (last edited Oct 31, 2013 09:35PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mathis Don't feel like the odd ball, Lauren. Irrespective of my lack of enthusiasm, majority of the people on goodreads seems to share your blissful sentiments. I think it's just a personal preferrence. As I said before, this novel seemed much more dark and serious than her other work. There really wasn't any comic relief in this story. I mean, there was Mary, Anne's sister, who threw fits for being excluded from vanity fair, which I sympathized with rather than laughed at.

Now, the letter written to Anne from Captain Wentworth was just okay. It didn't move me much. Perhaps because I felt a lack of a connection with Mr. Wentworth. It seemed as if his character wasn't thoroughly developed. I felt I didn't get the chance to know him. His character was introduced in the middle of the book when he went for that long walk with Anne, Mary, Charles and his sisters, and showed a little bit of his blase personality. But through out the the book I felt his character was a bit ambiguous.

I also would have liked if there was a little more of a romance between Anne and Mr. Benwick, to make the story a little more interesting. Because we already knew she didn't fancy Mr. Elliot.

All in all, I felt the story was predictable and serious. However, I do like the title "Persusasion". It sounds devious and edgy, which caused me to pick it up.


Hillary It is my favorite because it is more dark and serious than her others. I agree that Anne is not that strong of a character, but I loved her growth throughout the book. And Lauren, that letter at the end made me cry.


message 13: by Asel (new) - rated it 5 stars

Asel I love, love, love Persuasion! I am so sorry to hear that others disliked it, maybe a second read through will change your mind? The characters are older than in her other novels, they are subdued and a little beaten up by life. I felt they had so much more depth and breadth to them that just made me feel their pains so much more! And I completely agree, Wentworth's letter is simply beautiful: "I am half agony, half hope..." G-d, I love this book!


Toria It's not my all-time favorite, either, but it definitely grows on you when you give it a second try. To all those who wanted to like it but just didn't, I say try once more. Re-reading works wonders.

Mathis, I agree that Cpt. Wentworth's character doesn't seem to be very fleshed out. I suppose Miss Austen meant us to form our estimation of him through our knowledge of his previous association with Anne. The most you get of his actual personality comes from Anne's reminiscing of their engagement, and you just sort of guess that if Anne loved him so, he had to have the qualities she admires.

I will say that I loved his letter.


IUHoosier Persuasion is my favorite Austen book, tho it wasn't the first time I read it. I agree with Lauren and Hillary - come back to it in a few years and you'll probably get more from it. I read it the first time in my teens and came back to it in my late thirties - its a completely different book the second time around.

I just re-read it again a month ago(I'm mid-forties now), and was struck all over again by how cynical Austen is with this book. The snide little commments about society, the disparaging remarks about her family, the blatant dislike for the norms of the time - delicious little snippets of what Austen must have thought privately all of her life. She couldn't be that cynical in the other books because they were all about hope; Persuasion is about hope already lost.


Pandora I also didn't like Presuasion but, as I said in my review going from Sabtani (my current favorite)to Austen is not the best of moves. I did perfer the second part of the book and the ending was a nice payoff for having read the book. The heronine though was too weak for my taste. She kept reminding of my worst faults. I am glad I saw this discussion. Encourages me to try another Austen. My neice is crazy about her so I would like to find one to like.


Mariana It was the first Jane Austen book I read, when I was about 14 years old. Thought I didn't love it, it had more depth than any other book I had ever read, and it kept me reading till the end, in suspense. In a certain way, it was the starting point for more adult literature for me.
I love Jane Austen, she can do no wrong.


Brenda Mathis, I'm sorry you don't like Jane Austin's best book. Persuasion is my all time favourite. I have not read Emma, but have seen the movie of it and I would have locked the meddling know it all Emma in her room until she was 75. She's an obnoxious character and a person I would not be friends with.

On the other hand, Anne is a kind woman who cares for others and what they think and feel and was persuaded as an 18 year old to do something dumb. This time around, when Wentworth returns as a rich man she doesn't care. She's still in love with him. Not his money like her older sister.

Read it again and see the beauty of the story. Leave Emma on the shelf.


message 19: by Neha (new) - rated it 5 stars

Neha I did not like this particular austen book, I found that it was a plot largely centred on the renewing of an old love story which was ended by the weakness and shallow mentality of the protagonist, and rejoined only after the old lover had made his fortune after a painfully dull period of self pity from Anne


Robin I think Jane Austen's books are good. Although this one is unlike the Pride and Prejudice as earlier mentioned, this one is one of unrequited love from Anne's perspective and I am glad that she got her captain in the end. Wouldn't it be horrible if all Austen's books were compared to her earlier books.


Libby Addison I frown on your order to "leave Emma on the shelf" when you haven't read it.


Brenda Fair enough Libby. At least leave the meddling movie on the shelf. I forced myself to watch it to the end and it was a waste of time. but everyone does have different opinions and tastes.


Brenda Pandora wrote: "I also didn't like Presuasion but, as I said in my review going from Sabtani (my current favorite)to Austen is not the best of moves. I did perfer the second part of the book and the ending was a ..."

I have never heard of Sabtani. What does he-she write about? What type of novel?


message 24: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin W Persuasion is definitely one of Austen's mellower novels, but I have to quibble with two points:

1. There are no comic characters. Yes, there are. Mary, the hypochondriac sister. Mary's bratty children. And my fave, Sir Walter, the silliest, most egotistical, most mirror-loving, responsibility-hating of any of the Austen fathers. (No wonder Anne makes misguided choices; this is her role model!)

2. Anne is not smart. No, she is. She is too quick to compromise, because every other member of her family is selfish and whiny, but she's witty and dignified, and the only person present who is able to act when Louisa falls off the wall. She also sees through Mr. Elliot pretty quickly.


message 25: by Pandora (last edited Apr 23, 2012 11:38AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pandora Oh, Brenda are you in for a treat. Despite the name Sabatini was an English male writer who specialized in swashbuckler historical romances with some great comedy moments. One of his books Captain Blood lauched the career of Errol Flynn. His other great masterpiece was Scarmouche - "He was born with gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad." Unfortunely the movie version with Tyrone Power was not very well done. Tyrone Power also made The Seahawk which was very good but, different from the book.

If you want to try him out I would suggest starting with a short story collection. The one I like was The Evidence of the Sword which was O.Henry in a Dumas world (The Three Musketeers). The Curate and the Actress would probably be a favorite for an Austen fan.

As a novel a good place to start with is The Lion's Skin which was his prep work for Scarmouche. I wouldn't start with Scarmouche because that is his best one. If you look at my reviews I have written quite a few on Sabtini.

PS I tend to rate Sabatini very high so it would be good to look at the average ratings for his books.


Brenda Ok, sounds interesting.

My favourite author is clive Cussler and two of his books have been made into movies and both have been disasters. don't go by the movie to determine if a book is good or not.


message 27: by Pandora (last edited Apr 25, 2012 07:44AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pandora My neice has a bag that says Never judge a book by the movie. Actually they did a good job with Captain Blood. I actually have a slight preference for the movie of Captian Blood. Scarmouche the movie did keep me away from the book because the better actress was in the wrong part. Fortunately the book did a better job.

Still, waiting for them ever to do a correct verison of Count of Monte Cristo. I don't think I would mind changes so much if they get him with the right girl Haydee not Mercedes.

PS I have enjoyed reading Clive Cussler too. Loved it when the classic car went down the ski slope.


message 28: by Maria (new) - rated it 1 star

Maria Brenda wrote: Persuasion is my all time favourite. I have not read Emma, but have seen the movie of it and I would have locked the meddling know it all ..."

Why leave Emma on the shelf? Everyone is entitles to their own personnal tastes! If you don´t like it - fine. But if you haven´t read it, then it´s a very silly recomendation to give to someone.
I did not like Persuation very much, although i am willing to give it another chance, in coming times; Anne is not my kind of main character, and the story felt, to me, that dragged endlessly but hey that´s my opinion of it. Emma - loved it! But the movie is not the best thing in the world - try the BBC series about it: it´s much better.


message 29: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin W Many, many great books have been written about characters we wouldn't want to be friends with. Emma is one of my favorite Austens, too.


message 30: by Maria (new) - rated it 1 star

Maria Erin wrote: "Many, many great books have been written about characters we wouldn't want to be friends with. Emma is one of my favorite Austens, too."

100% agreed! My fave heroin is Rebecca Sharp, from Vanity Fair and believe me, i would not want be near her least of all be friends with her....


Brenda Maria wrote: "Brenda wrote: Persuasion is my all time favourite. I have not read Emma, but have seen the movie of it and I would have locked the meddling know it all ..."

Why leave Emma on the shelf? Everyone i..."


I have seen several different versions of Emma. I don't like her. And I didn't tell anyone that their opinion of Emma was wrong, just that I didn't like Emma. You can like her all you want, but I don't. Everyone is entitled to like or dislike whatever they want. I voiced my opinion and everyone is telling me I'm wrong. I'm not wrong, just my opinion. Live with it.


Brenda Maria wrote: "Erin wrote: "Many, many great books have been written about characters we wouldn't want to be friends with. Emma is one of my favorite Austens, too."

100% agreed! My fave heroin is Rebecca Sharp, ..."


What is Vanity Fair? I haven't read that. Who's it by?


message 33: by Erin (new) - rated it 4 stars

Erin W Vanity Fair is by William Makepeace Thackeray. Its main character, Becky Sharp, is an unrepentant social climber who uses people and then drops them when she's done with them.

Also, Brenda, nobody is suggesting that you're not within your rights to dislike Emma. We can all hate whichever books and authors we want. It just seemed by your phrasing that you were advising Amy to not even bother to read it for herself.


Brenda Erin wrote: "Vanity Fair is by William Makepeace Thackeray. Its main character, Becky Sharp, is an unrepentant social climber who uses people and then drops them when she's done with them.

Also, Brenda, nobody..."


My suggestion was not to bother to read it, yes. It wasn't any different of a suggestion than anyone saying someone should read a book. I just suggested not to read it instead of to read it. But everyone has the brain to choose whether to read it or not. My suggestion to NOT read was just different than those who are enamored with EMMA with their suggestion to read it.


message 35: by Maria (new) - rated it 1 star

Maria I never say to anyone "don´t bother reading it" - because every book strikes a different chord with the different people:i would say i didn´t liked it, but that´s just me and my humble opinion - try it and see what you make of it.

That´s why i don´t mind about spoilers and reviews of books: if i want to read it, i will and i will judge it for myself.


message 36: by Nana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nana persuasion is my favorite Austen book. Followed by Pride and Prejudice. I didn't like Northanger Abbey. I enjoyed Sense and Sendibility, Emma a good deal less.


message 37: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne Elliot Persuasion is my favourite Austen book. The heroine is the most likeable of all her characters imo. I like that she was able to finally do what was best for her, not in a selfish way, but in a 'I deserve this' way.


Lauren Anne wrote: "Persuasion is my favourite Austen book. The heroine is the most likeable of all her characters imo. I like that she was able to finally do what was best for her, not in a selfish way, but in a 'I d..."

Anne, I totally agree :)


Faith I love Persuasion. It is my favorite Austen novel and Anne is my favorite heroine. She isn't extroverted and assertive like Elizabeth Bennet or Marianne Dashwood but she has such a quiet strength to her. I found her to be so easy to relate to. She made dumb mistakes when she was young but she manages to fight on in her own way. She also has wisdom and dignity as well and cares for others deeply.


message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

My favorite, too! The sentiments in Persuasion about love, loss, and constancy are wonderful. Anne is a solid, steady girl, who always does the right thing, even when it hurts her. And, Wentworth comes to realize the value in her, more than a pretty face and an over-lively imagination.

As for humor, Austen starts by showing us what a pompous, stuck-up ass Sir Walter is! He derives pleasure from reading his own biography of the Elliott lineage. And, Elizabeth, way past her prime, still considers herself the great catch! So many lines that are funny in a more subtle way, but they are there.

I hope some of you will read it again some day.


Brenda I agree with you Jeannette. It's a fantastic book.


message 42: by sarah (new) - added it

sarah I was introduced to Jane Austen through the movies, so I saw the movie of Persuasion before reading the book. The book helped the movie make more sense. I like it for one reason..... I can relate.

On the other hand, I didn't like Emma. I felt she was very shallow.


message 43: by Melissa (new) - added it

Melissa Mitchell Lauren wrote: "I feel like the odd-one-out here… I loved Persuasion!! Oh no, Mathis - I’m sorry that you didn’t like it as much as JA’s other works. :( Maybe it’s a grower.

I really loved the way the characters..."


It is my favourite of Austen's works. Anne has a quiet dignity, Wentworth a man in love from the very beginning, it feels to me to be Miss Austen's most mature work.


Xenia I actually prefer Persuasion over Pride & Prejudice. For one the hero and heroine are older which is a welcomed and refreshing change. I agree that Anne was weak minded but she did grow a bit stronger over time. Not as much as I would have liked her to but she did grow. Captain Wentworth stole my heart even before I read his beautiful letter. The Letter made Persuasion worth it all to read. I plan to print the words of the letter, have it framed and put up someplace in my house.

I agree with Melissa that it is Jane Austen's most mature work.


Brenda sarah wrote: "I was introduced to Jane Austen through the movies, so I saw the movie of Persuasion before reading the book. The book helped the movie make more sense. I like it for one reason..... I can relate...."

Thank you Sarah, I have the same feelings. I saw the movie first, several times, and then read the book. The book was much better and I liked the ending for Mrs. Smith in the book much better.

and I don't like Emma. She's a busybody know-it-all. I also like Pride & Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility, and am in the middle of Mansfield Park. I've seen the movie and it was interesting, but it didn't seem like the way Austen wrote. It's not. I have put it down to read other things, but will go back to it soon.


Brenda Erin wrote: "Persuasion is definitely one of Austen's mellower novels, but I have to quibble with two points:

1. There are no comic characters. Yes, there are. Mary, the hypochondriac sister. Mary's bratty chi..."


I'm not sure it's a mellow book Erin, but I do agree with the rest of what you said.


Barbara Folk I did my reading of Austen's book after watching the movies, and after listening to the audio versions from LibraVox. I still haven't managed to read Emma or Sense and Sensibility.

I adore Persuasion. I think it's her best novel. But it took a while to get there. I'd grown up on Pride and Prejudice, and really do enjoy Elizabeth Bennett. Anne is different from the other characters. As many have written here, she's older, and she lives as a regretful spinster who's only 27.

She's invisible to her family. They all use her and have her do what they don't want to do. Mary runs off to dinner after her son falls from a tree. Anne, according to Mary, lacks "a mother's tender heart," and is better to stay with the boy. Her older sister is horribly jealous of Anne, and it's often disguised, but it really becomes obvious as Anne begins to receive attentions of the men in their company. Anne's father is just horrible. He's so vain it's ridiculous.

And Lady Russell plays on Anne's care for her family, and for the respect of her position. I alternate between disliking Lady Russell and respecting her.

I think this book speaks to people who've felt invisible. It reminds us that we can become visible again. The power is within us.

As I mentioned before, I came to this backwards. Reading it now, I find it thoroughly enjoyable. But I do have to work at getting into some books that were written in the 1800s, so the audio books help a lot. The movies also help, as they give me a framework to read from.

This did backfire recently. I just finished reading Jane Eyre for the first time and I really disliked parts of it. I found Jane to be stuck-up and snobbish. I wanted to like her as I had in the movies, but she was so caught in class stratification that she couldn't admit that intelligence and effort wasn't tied to class, or that she admitted it grudgingly.


Evelyn Brenda, I agree with you about Emma! As much as I want to like her, she's too confident that she's right about everything (although of course she isn't!) In my opinion, Anne is much more realistic. I like that she's older, that she has a past and that she's unhappy with her choices. And although I love Elizabeth and Mr Darcy, I actually prefer Captain Wentworth! He can forgive, unlike Darcy, and is a genuinely caring person. Everything about this book is less superficial and much more mature (exactly the right word!) than Austen's other novels. I wasn't even sure if they would end up together! It's my personal favourite.


message 49: by VJ (new) - rated it 5 stars

VJ I agree that it is not as witty as Austen's other writings, however, I found this book more mature; more realistic -- I can relate to it -- which is why it is my favorite Austen book. I, too, am inclined to find Captain Wentworth more desirable than other male protagonists of Austen's novels because he is by far the most steadfast of them and the only one that had more depth. So yes, it may be a bit 'weighty' because of its serious tones, but I consider it Austen's best work.


message 50: by kellyjane (last edited Feb 01, 2013 04:56PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

kellyjane I have always had the impression that Jane Austen wrote 'Persuasion' as an homage to her elder sister Cassandra, who had also lost the chance of marrying the love of her life during her early adulthood, regretting ever afterward the overweening caution that had led her to postpone the marriage until it was too late (in Cassandra's case, her fiance died unexpectedly, and Cassandra adopted the clothes of an early spinsterhood in response). Jane Austen, in my impression, wished to use her gifted imagination to create a reality in which that choice was both properly regretted yet ultimately vindicated: unlike Cassandra, Anne Elliot suffered but did not forever despair her mistake, as true love at age twenty-one enjoyed a second chance and reprieve at age twenty-seven in the novel.

But Jane Austen was beginning to experience the first effects of the illness that would claim her life during the composition of 'Persuasion'. She had neither the time nor especially the energy to subject the story to her characteristically rigorous process of editing and re-writing. And this, I believe, along with her sympathetic purpose for writing it, during the 'swan song' season of her own existence besides, accounts for the peculiar subdued and almost melancholy, autumnal, softened strains that color the work. It is closer to a 'rough draft' presentation than any other of her mature published works-- and was composed at a time and for a purpose that would have prioritized deep sympathy over sparkling wit, as I fancy it.


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