Jaclyn's Reviews > Persuasion

Persuasion by Jane Austen
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Jun 19, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: classics, bbc, author_jane-austen, books-i-own, england, historical-fiction, romance
Read from April 11 to 24, 2010

I love Jane Austen and can now proudly say that I have read all her books (in order of publication). This final novel of Austen's did not disappoint and I certainly enjoyed it as much as any of the others. I don't know that I can agree with the many others that feel this is her best work, but I can certainly say that it stands up with them. It's definitely a more mature story and I enjoyed that both Anne and Captain Wentworth were adults who could look back on the choices they made when they were young and reflect on them.
Although, like all Austen novels, we know how it will end, there was a certain tension woven throughout the story that makes you truly feel for both characters and the pain they're going through. I loved the debate about the strength of feeling between men and women and who feels more. And I LOVED the letter! That got me more than any of Austen's other novels.
There was one critic of this book who amazingly gave it 1 Star. While I do not agree with his rating at all, he made a few comments that I wholeheartedly agree with and are the reason that I could not give this novel the full 5 Star rating I wanted to. He was bothered by the fact that Anne did not seem to have changed and although she lamented having been so easily persuaded in her youth, she did not seem to be stronger for it. She struck me throughout the book as just as weak and demure as she had been so many years ago. She gets no respect from any of her family members and still feels the need to justify herself to Lady Russell, as we see when Anne learns of Mr Elliott's character and her first thought is that she needs to be sure Lady Russell is aware of this revelation. Why? I didn't understand why it was so important that she know this before anyone else.
I also agree with this critic that it's a little annoying how we got to know so many other, non-essential characters, but never met one of the pivotal players in the story, Lady Russell herself. I might have been more forgiving of Anne's tendency defer to her for so much advice if I'd gotten to know her better. Instead though I ended up siding with Captain Wentworth as far as my feelings toward her and thoughts about Anne's being so influenced by her.
Enough with the criticism though, overall this is a great story, and more enjoyable due to their being fully mature adults with a bit of a history behind them. I highly recommend this novel just as I do all of Austen's other works.
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