Saturday, June 27, 2009


I'd heard that Persuasion is one of Jane Austen's best novels, so I snapped it up when offered it. The heroine, Anne Elliott, has a life complicated by a vain father, cold eldest sister, annoying younger sister, AND! she lived with regret because she had turned down her The One -- Captain Wentworth -- because her dear friend Lady Russell didn't think it was a good match (the Elliotts were too highly bred to consort with the lower social classes). This novel was published in 1818, and Austen describes the prevailing attitudes of the upper class at the time with her usual good humor and earnest prose.

At the heart, Persuasion is an examination of the constancy and steadfastness of human hearts, both men's and women's. Anne was influenced by Lady Russell into not marrying the person she was madly in love with, and she would only see him again eight years later, when his resentment over her rejection had had time to fester and make him act coldly towards her. Austent throws other obstacles in the lovers' way, such as a pretty young woman besotted with Captain Wentworth, and Mr. Elliott, Anne's handsome and gentlemanly cousin (BAAARRRRFFF *cough* inbreeding *cough*), professing interest in her. I'd had enough experience with Austen to expect the ending -- of COURSE Elliott turned out to be a tool, and whatserface ended up marrying someone else -- but was still kilig [SPOILER ALERT] at the way Captain Wentworth finally confessed to Anne that he remained faithful to her.

(ZOMG. Please may I have an English captain, and please may he have Alan Rickman's voice? Or I can just have Alan Rickman. I'm not picky.)

Anyway, Austen crafts a fine love story, one more mature because the central characters are older (in their twenties), and understand love AND loss. *sniff* We can't all have happy endings like Anne Elliott and Captain Wentworth, but then again, that's what fiction is for: to remind us that the imagination is where dreams really come true.