Persuasion

I actually can’t remember how old I was when I first read Persuasion. I must have been at university, though, because I know where I bought my copy from; the Oxfam book shop in my local high street, on my lunch break from the library job I worked at during my summer breaks. This Oxfam bookshop was run by two complete stereotypes; slightly younger than middle aged men, with terrible corduroy trousers and hand knitted jumpers, hair that hadn’t seen a barber’s in years and an awkward, fumbling inability to meet any of their customers in the eye. My attempts at striking up some kind of rapport failed miserably; red faced and damp palmed, the poor member of the duo who had the misfortune to actually have to serve customers did nothing but mumble and raise a faint smile at my witty banter as I self righteously bought piles of old Penguin Classics to read smugly on the bus home. I was devastated to find, when I returned home from my final year at university, that the shop had been closed and replaced with an organic café. Apparently my particular patch of South East London is not a profitable market for Oxfam Books; considering that I was usually the only person in there, I can’t deny the truth of this. However, neither is South East London a good place to launch wheatgrass juice and smoothies; the café closed soon afterwards and the shop has stood empty ever since, an epitaph to the fate of the second hand books industry. I still think about that book selling duo. I worry for them, and hope they managed to find jobs elsewhere. I also hope they’re not still living with their mothers.

I digress. My copy of Persuasion is an old Everyman paperback; a double edition, including Northanger Abbey. I’d read all of Austen apart from these two at this point in my 18 year old life, and I was excited to discover more. I raced through Northanger Abbey, not really ‘getting’ it, because I hadn’t studied Gothic Literature yet, but enjoying it nonetheless, and then began Persuasion. I really don’t understand why so many copies of Persuasion have Northanger Abbey tacked onto them, because you could not find two Austen novels more opposed in their tone and subject matter. I was riveted by Persuasion, and read it in a day. Newly experienced in the travails of love, thanks to a gorgeous drama student who had already managed to break my tender heart, I read my pain in every line. Anne Elliot was a heroine I could identify with; sensible, good, downtrodden, undervalued, and heartbroken. She too feared spinsterhood; she too feared change; she too had her regrets. Even at 18, I had begun to understand that life was not all I had been led to expect it might be, and the note of melancholy, rather than of predominate lightheartedness found in Austen’s earlier novels, struck a chord with my burgeoning adult heart.

Fast forward a few years, and I had entered my twenties. Living in a grotty shared house with friends, working hard for a pittance in London, struggling to make ends meet and nowhere closer to finding my Prince Charming, I wondered when the glamour of adulthood was going to turn up and start transforming my life into a plot worthy of a romantic novel. I turned to Persuasion time and time again to soothe my already world weary soul with the tale of Anne Elliot; Anne, who was loving, and kind, and resourceful, and who had managed to soldier on and enjoy her life despite the heartache of losing the man she loved and the home she adored. Anne was a heroine worth believing in. Her life was no fairytale; she wasn’t particularly rich, particularly pretty, particularly talented or particularly loved. As much as I love Emma, Emma Wodehouse, despite her faults, is still a picture-perfect heroine, and her life does not throw many snares across her path to a happy ending.  Anne’s, by contrast, has been a steady stream of them; a dead mother, an indifferent father, two nauseous sisters, a beloved childhood home thoughtlessly snatched from her, friends and family who take her for granted and do not consider her thoughts or wishes, her heart given to a man who no longer loves her; she is cast adrift in a world that she has no control over, subservient to the desires of her odious father and demanding, selfish sisters. Overlooked, belittled and treated like a servant, she is someone you cannot help but root for, and identify with.

Anne’s story became my comfort and my joy on long evenings when I found myself melodramatically reflecting on all the things that had gone wrong in my life, and what a failure I was already, at the tender age of 22. Instead of crying myself to sleep, I would sit up into the early hours, reading Persuasion, to remind myself that ordinary girls like me could get their happy ending. I might have to wait a while, like Anne does, but that day would surely come. Then, life took a further twist for me, providing a further, and deeper, reason for Persuasion to gain such a hold over my heart; I met my own Captain Wentworth. As our friendship began to develop into romance, I found myself falling in love. But then he did something to disappoint me; furious at his behaviour, I refused his attempts to make amends.  Over long nights of talking things over with my friends, accompanied by copious amounts of cheap red wine, I was persuaded by them to give him up; he wasn’t good enough for me, they said. Fuelled by my anger and convinced by my friends’ character assassinations of the poor boy, I cut our ties. I only realised my mistake a few months later; by then, it was too late.

I can’t tell you how many times I have read Captain Wentworth’s letter to Anne, wishing that it had been written to me. We have shared the same experience, and have the same constant hearts; even though it makes no sense, we continue to love, and long, and hope, despite all hope appearing lost. Anne gets on with her life, as I have with mine, and neither of us are unhappy, but that Captain Wentworth shaped hole has been burned into our hearts, and nothing we can do will ever make us forget. When I read Persuasion, I often feel like Jane Austen had somehow been able to peer into my heart, and spill its secrets like ink from her fountain pen. It hurts to read Anne’s pain, so deeply does my own still run, but it does also heal. Jane Austen wrote Anne’s experiences so well because she was not alone in feeling them. My experiences and my feelings are not unique; millions of men and women have gone through the same tribulations and come out on the other side, still in one piece. Anne shows that loving and losing does not a tragic heroine make; she is no Marianne, wasting away on a sofa. Instead, she just gets on with her life. She taught me that whatever happens with my own Captain Wentworth, I can and will be perfectly happy regardless. I am not naive enough to believe that I will get my happy ending as Anne gets hers, but I am romantic enough to appreciate the lesson that love enriches, even when it wounds, and that the person I have become because I have loved and lost is still better than the person I would have been without ever having done so.

Oh, Persuasion! It is a beautiful portrait of the depths of the human heart, and I am going to be re-reading it slowly, probably over the course of a month, starting on September 18th. I’d love for you to join me. I’ve made a little button you can use on your blogs (just save the image in this post) and I will come up with a posting schedule and some topics for discussion nearer the time. It’s going to be a casual, leisurely, very Autumnal read along; perfect for when the nights begin to draw in. You don’t need to sign up or commit to anything, and all are welcome, regardless of whether you have a blog or not, or whether you have time to read the whole book or not. I am keen to explore all facets of this remarkable work of Austen’s, and I can’t wait to read it with others whose experiences of Persuasion are perhaps not quite so emotionally tangled as mine. I am looking forward to it already – I hope you are too!

92 comments

  1. Are you aware that the ending of Persuasion, with the “you pierce my soul” letter, was a redraft of what Jane Austen originally wrote?

    http://www.mollands.net/etexts/persuasion/prscancel.html

    Imagine Jane Austen being such an incredible genius that she could take that weaker ending and turn it into one of the greatest romantic climaxes in literary history, in the space of a couple of days of making revisions!

    And the so-called cancelled chapters also shed light on another aspect of Persuasion, which is that Jane Austen’s conception of the Crofts was as covert matchmakers, seeking from Day One to bring Wentworth and Anne together!

    http://www.jasna.org/persuasions/printed/number15/heldman.htm

    And finally, here is a post at my blog about a wonderful covert pun in Persuasion:

    http://sharpelvessociety.blogspot.com/2011/02/reflections-on-pun-on-sir-walters-large.html

    Cheers, ARNIE

      1. You’re very welcome!–those canceled chapters are a precious treasure, as they show us Jane Austen in the act of spectacularly creative revision of her fiction, AND they also confirm my claim that all of her novels are double stories.

  2. ‘Anne shows that loving and losing does not a tragic heroine make;’ Rachel I love this piece of analysis, because as much as we’d all like to get the happy, romantic ending there’s no use crawling into a corner and persisting in howling at the moon if it goes missing.

    Sometimes it seems people would be more satisfied with that kind of recation. Do you ever find that people ask you ‘Don’t you miss having someone?’ regularly as if hoping to see you break apart, thus confirming that the single life is just the refuge of those with no hope? The truth is so much more layered than yes or no, but so simple if only people would listen to you honestly: Yes, but not all the time. Sometimes I can’t imagine standing a relation at all, sometimes I pine and most of the time I think about many other things.

    Obviously you’re not the only one who will go off on an emotional journey during this re-read (forbid you should ever decide to re-read Jane Eyre, because you’d never get rid of my comments). I mean I love Lizzie Bennet and Jane Eyre comes very close to Anne, but there’s something just so real about Anne and the way her happy ending comes about. It’s not a narrative reward, it’s…something else, a little reward for the reader perhaps for believing in Anne as a seperate person, rather than the inevitable half of a couple…

    1. Hi Jodie thanks for your comments. I heartily agree – a relationship is just part of a life and I can’t honestly say I spent much – if any – time during my average day obsessing over the fact that I’m alone and that I have no one in the wings. It genuinely doesn’t factor into my life that massively. I don’t think of myself as being ‘single’. I’m just me! I like my life thanks very much and when people say ‘oh but don’t you want a boyfriend?’ I just say, well I wouldn’t mind, but the fact that I don’t have one has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on my happiness. It’s just not that big a deal to me. I have so much going on in my life to keep me happy and busy that I don’t feel I am lacking anything. Any ‘single’ people who do pine and mope need to get more hobbies!

      Yes – Anne’s happy ending is a reward, because I think even without it she would have been fine. It doesn’t feel twee or trite, it feels like a just ending for a woman who was brave enough to make a life for herself after heartache and who didn’t give in to the temptation to pine and waste away like so many heroines from books of that era. She’s magnificent!

  3. What a lovely review–and I couldn’t agree more! Persuasion is my favorite of all Austen’s novels, and Anne is my favorite Austen heroine, for all the reasons you stated. Many prefer the easier-to-like Lizzie Bennett, and I love her, too, but I identify more with Anne. My sister and I argue about this; she maintains that Lizzie’s hasty judgments and her struggle to overcome them make her more lovably human; I maintain that Anne was not so much swayed like a weak reed by Lady Russell’s influence, as by her own desire to do right by her family (being the only sensible member in it), and in doing so, she’s rewarded in the end. They are both strong, human, and endearing–in different ways.

    1. Thanks Leticia – yes, Lizzie and Anne are very different heroines and I love them both. However, Anne’s quiet patience speaks to my heart so profoundly that I can’t help but adore her more!

  4. This is a beautiful book. People recommended it to me last year when I disliked my first read of Pride and Prejudice — as a different side of Austen I might better appreciate. The book is gentle and delicate. I truly loved it.🙂

  5. Oh, Rachel, dear soul, you had me first giggling like a schoolgirl with your descriptions of the Oxfam duo you worked with, then, tears trickled down my cheeks with your own story, side-by-side with Anne Elliot’s, and your own Captain Wentworth. You are such a remarkable writer with such a good heart. I am sitting here with my own edition of “Persuasion” beside me, taken hastily down from its dust covered section of the bookshelf, and will give a stab at it come September.

    1. Oh Penny, I didn’t want to make you cry! Thank you very, very much for your lovely words. I am so glad you’ll be joining the readalong – your thoughts will be a wonderful addition.🙂

  6. It’s a good thing I wasn’t sipping tea when reading about your hopes that those socially awkward men weren’t living with their mothers!

    Oh to be in London during a Persuasion read-along! I’ll be only too happy to pull out one of my three copies whilst sitting on a park bench, enjoying a roast chicken and stuffing sandwich from M&S. Your gorgeous button has already been employed on my blog. And don’t worry, Rachel, your Captain Wentworth is out there somewhere…and definitely not living with his mother!

    1. Hahahaha! I wish you could have met them!

      Darlene, you can sit in Hyde Park under the autumnal leaves and be in heaven as you eat that sandwich and read Persuasion! I timed it especially for you!

      Ha! Thank you – I’m sure he is. And when he does meet me, he’ll grow to rue the day no doubt!🙂

  7. Okay, still haven’t read this, but I distinctly feel like Emma’s going to remain my favorite Austen book. I love all her books (except Sense and Sensibility), but Emma’s my favorite. I love how bossy Emma is. I know she’s a brat but I kind of identify. I too am bossyish. You may have noticed. :p

    1. Jenny, Jenny, Jenny. You may be bossy,but you’ll never out-boss me and you know it! NOW GO GET PERSUASION! Because you’re reading it in September and you will love it! Just because I won’t be there in person any more to prod you (sniff😦 ) it doesn’t mean I can’t harass you online, does it?!😉

  8. Persuasion is also my favorite Austen, neck-and neck with P&P. (I’ve never been able to get on with Emma, though I love Jenny, above.)

    And thank you for being the only person in the blogosphere to use the word nauseous correctly.

    1. Oh really? No Emma? Interesting. It took me two reads to fall in love with her. Perhaps because her personality is a little similar to mine, I just adore her, but I can understand her being difficult for others to like!

      Well thank you very much!!

  9. Ah, I want to join! I, too, was relieved I had an empty mouth while reading about the Oxfam duo.🙂 Reading along will give me a break from school reading with the kids, and you’re starting far enough away that I won’t feel overwhelmed. Thanks for putting it together.

    1. Fantastic! I can’t wait for this readalong – so many brilliant readers are joining in! Hehehehe!🙂 You are welcome – I know September is a busy time for everyone – me included – just a transatlantic move to do and a new job to start…so a leisurely readalong is just the ticket!

  10. Im In! I have persuasion but have yet to read it. This will give me a nudge. I love Jane Austen and I loved your review! Has made me want to start reading now, but alas im reading two others at the moment.
    Thankyou for the invite.

  11. Persuasion is, I think, the only one of Austen’s books I’ve not read. Firmly convinced now that reading along with you will be rewarding.

  12. My first foray into JA was when I was 14 years old. Pride and Prejudice was an English text in school. Loved it then but love it even more now.

  13. Gosh, what a great post! I do love the story of ‘Persuasion’ the most. The most relatable to me as well, although I have been known as a Marianne at times. I really appreciate the comparison to your life with the story, something that all or most of us have experienced at some part of our life, but don’t write it down as beautifully as you do. I’ll be moving back to Italy around that time, so it may be just the right thing to carry along with me…

    Onto bookshop owners: I have such a love and affection for them. The other day I was in a secondhand shop in Providence and found next to the desk a book about George Tooker (a favorite of mine). I rapidly went into a conversation with the young attractive clerk in tortoiseshell glasses about him. Unfortunately MINUTES into my banter I realized he was probably just being polite and started to choke on my words and get all red and flushed. Moments like this make we wish I was shy.

    1. Oh thanks Daniel! I know all of us have been an Anne at times…it’s a tough place to be but at least it gives you a story to tell. Back to Italy? How wonderful! I hope to get there soon myself. Please take Persuasion along with you if you can!

      Me too – if only because they are odder than me. Book selling seems to attract the socially inept. I am sure your clerk was more embarrassed than you to have to talk to someone – good for you for striking up a conversation! I’m usually embarrassed by their awkwardness and don’t bother!

  14. Persuasion is my favorite Austen too…and my last one to find. I avoided it for thirty years, and then promptly fell in love with it. After reading your lovely post I can’t wait for September. I will find one of my four copies, curl up and read away the weekend. Thank you for sharing such a tender story. I have no doubt your Captain will find you!

  15. Oh Persuasion indeed, and what a wonderful review. It is almost impossible to find something fresh to say about Austen, and yet you did😀 Your button is now on my blog. I have six copies of the book to choose from!

    I mentioned this readalong to my mother who said ‘I know your father chose your name, but in my head you were named for Anne Elliot’. You learn something new everyday!

    1. Hi Enid, of course you can be a part! All you need to do is copy the picture at the top of this post – that’s the online ‘button’ you can use on your own blog (if you have one) to advertise it. if you don’t have a blog, you can just come by here and comment on my posts about Persuasion and follow the links I will post to other people’s writing about Persuasion on their blogs during the readalong. Make sense? Hope so! Let me know if not!

  16. Might well join in with this, I love ‘Persuasion’ and it will be interesting to see what other people get out of it, hopefully I’ll find more in there this way.

    Poor oxfam book boys, I can only imagine how terrified they were when a real live pretty girl spoke to them. I expect they still remember you with fondness.

    1. Fantastic – I hope you can find the time to join us Hayley!

      Oh bless them!! I think they were more the back room type…perhaps they started their own online bookshop!

  17. “I really don’t understand why so many copies of Persuasion have Northanger Abbey tacked onto them, because you could not find two Austen novels more opposed in their tone and subject matter.”

    There is a simple explanation–they were both originally published together in 1818, a year after Jane Austen died. Jane Austen had tried to get Northanger Abbey published back in 1803, and there is a long and mysterious chain of events that resulted in it coming back to her unpublished in 1816. It’s my opinion that it never got published because the feminism in it is too close to the surface, too clear, and therefore it was too threatening to publishers in a very anti-feminist social and political climate.

    Persuasion she never got around to publishing, because what turned out to be her final illness had already begun by the time she finished Persuasion, and she died within a year of finishing it.

    It was her brother Henry who therefore got both Northanger Abbey and Persuasion published posthumously.

  18. Oh, that sounds doable, and wonderful! I will definitely try to be in on it!! I am glad I came here today – haven’t been around in a while.

    Why September 18th? I suppose you’re just giving people fair notice. ?

    Your story is very touching, but you’re right about the fact that it’s better to have loved and lost, etc.. I love Anne Elliot, she’s such a good example, although I’ve seen the Amanda Root film so many times I tend to think of her portrayal as the reality; I’ve read the book twice, maybe? Not lately. So, this will be excellent!! I look forward to it.

    1. Fantastic! It will be lovely to have you, Lisa! I chose the 18th because it will be a good week after I start my new job so it will give me time to get settled before I have to coordinate anything. Plus it’s fair notice for everyone to find a copy and get started!

      Great! I love the Amanda Root film but I also really enjoyed the more recent one with Sally Hawkins – I thought she was very good.

  19. I loved your review! “Persuasion” has always been my favourite Jane Austen (along with “Pride and Prejudice”, of course). And your description of the Oxfam booksellers is priceless! It reminded me of the bookshop opened by David Garnett and Francis Birrell in the 1930s, which was frequented by all the Bloomsbury Group (though almost no-one else!). Frances Partridge wrote hilarious accounts of her time working there in her memoir “Love in Bloomsbury”.

    1. Thank you Miss Darcy! Glad you enjoyed it. Anyone whose favourite Austen is Persuasion is a friend of mine🙂 I didn’t know about that bookshop! I’m off to look it up right now – thank you for mentioning it!

  20. This is my favorite Austen. I can only say that if I were in high school I would admire the heck out of Lizzie, I would shake my head in fond exasperation at Emma, I would seek advice from Elinor, and I would giggle with Catherine. But I would be Anne.

    1. I am so glad to hear that! Us Persuasion lovers are an elite group! Exactly – though I don’t think I could quite be as good as Anne. I’m more of an Elizabeth. I have that glint of steel – don’t mess with me!😉

      1. I must make a confession here, so please, please, please be gentle with me:

        I’ve never been a big fan of Jane Austen. There! – I’ve admitted it, at long last. Okay…you can stop throwing pillows (and whatever else you have handy) at me, Austen fans. I humbly apologise. I don’t exactly know why, and can’t exactly explain or defend how or why it is that I just never got into her, but there it is.

        Having made such an admission and committed such a literary crime, however, after reading your wonderful review and post about ‘Persuasion,’ coupled with your invitation to read-along come September, I actually find myself wanting to read this book.

        That is … if you’ll have me, after writing such blasphemy as this?

      2. Oh June! Blasphemy!!!

        Of course you are welcome! I would love for you to discover the beauty of Jane…maybe Persuasion will be the one for you after all this time of not liking her!

        Austen is an acquired taste, despite being so popular. You either find her writing witty and dry or you find it old fashioned and her plots dull. I think the problem is that people are more and more used to heavily plot driven novels these days, and Austen deals more in the minutiae of every day life, where nothing and yet everything happens. I do hope the Persuasion read-along can change your mind about her!!

  21. I know. I know…I’ve sinned (literarily speaking), but I’m trying to mend my ways…hence my request to be invited to the read-along.

    It’s not that I find her writing old-fashioned or dull. And it’s also not a case of me preferring more faster paced or heavily plot driven. I actually do like, and prefer everyday life minutiae, where seemingly nothing but actually everything is going on. I really do.

    That’s why I can’t offer up any real explanation or defense about why her writing never appealed to me. Maybe it was all the hype, both then and even up to the present day, surrounding her work. Maybe it’s because there’ve been so many (too many?) popular film interpretations of her books. And even with my affection (obsession? addiction?) for Hindi cinema (read: Bollywood), I couldn’t even bring myself to watch ‘Bride and Prejudice’ (have you seen that? With Colin Firth, I think, and the Bollywood superstar Aishwarya Rai). Again, I’ve no words to explain why I’ve developed this aversion to her work. Or perhaps that’s too strong or harsh a word to use. Or maybe because we were force-fed ‘Pride and Prejudice’ in high school, and I hated every moment of the experience.

    I’m really hoping that ‘Persuasion’ will both open and change my mind and my overall opinion.
    Thanks again for not stoning me or sending me to Coventry for such an admission of guilt.
    I’m ready to be converted (I hope so, anyway).

    1. June, the image of Jane Austen you’ve received filtered through film adaptations and popular misconceptions of her writing as being very narrow in scope, does not correspond at all to the way she wrote.

      As soon as you start reading Persuasion, pay attention to the way Austen subtly depicts the character of Sir Walter, and you will see how sharp, how funny, and how modern her social and psychological insight really was!

      1. Hi Arnie – I’ve a feeling that I will most definitely enjoy ‘Persuasion,’ and perhaps and hopefully then, I will finally ‘get’ Jane Austen and the love and adulation for not just this book, but all of her work.

        About film adaptations of her books, I’ve never seen any of them, so it’s not the films that dissuaded or put me off her writing. I’m not big into Hollywood adaptations of books at the best of times, and I’m not big into Hollywood or popular blockbuster, star-studded films to begin with, so I can’t blame it on Hollywood this time.

        I’ve requested ‘Persuasion’ from my local library to get me a copy from the main branch in Dublin (I live in a very small town, with a very small library, although I’m thankful to even have a library so close by that does have a fair amount of good books on their shelves, so I shan’t and cannot complain), so hopefully it will arrive in time for the read-along in September. Failng that, I’ll have a look in a couple of second-hand bookshops and see if I can find a copy there. I’m keen to read this, believe me. Rachel’s taste in books is wonderful, as is pretty much everyone who subscribes to this wonderful blog of hers, as well, so I realise I’m well in the minority here. I’m hoping that ‘Persuasion’ will turn me around and have me realise what I’ve been missing, and missing out on all this time, and will have me yearning for more Austen as soon as I’ve read ‘Persuasion.’

  22. Oh my. This is exactly how I felt. I read it in February and was totally taken aback by how much I fell for it. I was really weary of Austen because I tried P&P when I was 15 and just found it too hard going. This, however, I tore through and wanted to start reading it again the minute I finished.

    I think it’s going to become “my” book. The one I re-read every year. I just could loved it so much.

    Have you read “The French Lieutenant’s Woman” by Fowles? It has a lot of references that I didn’t appreciate having read TFLW first. I’d recommend it!

    I’d be up for the re-read. Slow sounds good for me since it’ll be term time soon!

    1. I’m so glad to hear that, Jessica! It’s such a beautiful book and you illustrate exactly why so many people discount Austen for ages -they start too young or have it taught to them at school and have bad memories as a result. You have to go back once you’re a bit older and then, most of the time, Austen’s magnificence is revealed.

      No! I keep meaning to. I know it’s set in Lyme Regis – I’ll be interested to read it to find the rest of the Persuasion links!

      Fantastic! We’ll be glad to have you.

  23. Jessica, Fowles was a huge Janeite, and TFLW indeed has several allusions to Persuasion, and another one to the life of Jane Austen herself, hiding in plain sight, which I will be writing about in my book about Jane Austen’s shadow stories!

  24. Oooh, I would love to join the readalong! (I am a bit late chiming in). Persuasion doesn’t have the same personal connection for me but I think we all can relate to Anne to some degree. It’s been a while since I read this one, can’t wait to pick it up again.

  25. Hello! I just found your blog and the invitation to read Persuasion. I don’t have a blog, but would love to join the read-along. I had just been thinking that it was high time I read the book again, it has been a while. It will be fun to read and be able to share thoughts. Thank you! Lori, New Hampshire, USA

  26. I loved your personal account, your connections to this novel. You’ve succeeded in having me eager to participate in the Persuasion read-along; I’ll go put the button on my sidebar and look for your ‘schedule’ nearer the 18th. Thanks for hosting!

  27. Read about the read-along when you posted,thought it a great idea and promptly forgot about it.
    I am in that horrible place where you have finished your book and can’t settle to pick another one. So when I checked in today I thought “A-ha ! Just the thing !”
    On another note thanks for directing me to “Fair Stood the Wind for France” and “Due Preparations for the Plague ”
    Though I was not so thankful on a recent turbulent flight. If you know what I mean ?
    Anyway Persuasion it is .

  28. NO !
    It was Kim from Reading Matters who led me to those two books !
    I check both your blogs for new postings every day.
    That will teach me to leave a comment with a glass of wine beside me .

  29. How strange! I don’t usually enjoy people talking about books except my daughter. Not since I left university. People do say the silliest things and I’m afraid I can’t bear them most of the time. So I was pleasantly surprised coming to your blog – my first visit. I saw the title of your previous post on The Long Winter (I love that book, so I hope you do), which I am looking forward to reading and I liked The Girl of the Limber lost very much too. Actually I have two, no three favourite Austins, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey (quite different as you say) and Mansfield Park and I am afraid I do like Marianne.

    I found your review very touching and poignant. For me the novel that touched a chord in me was Frenchman’s Creek, I was so longing to get away to some excitement! When I first read it as a teenager I desperately wanted Dona to run off with her pirate. As a mother, I couldn’t bear it if she did! I read the book over several times. I am mature too now and all the loving in my life seems to be one sided – the losses have never been my choice. I recognise the need to be a person with a happy life in my own right and as I get further away from the possibity of a happy ending, I still dream from time to time! We just never know do we?

    1. What a compliment, Sara! I am so glad you have enjoyed what you’ve read here. How interesting about Frenchman’s Creek – I’ve never read it and I’m interested now you have so raved about it! We really do never know – if you don’t have a dream, you can’t have a dream come true!

  30. I’m currently re-reading Persusion again. I think of Anne as a imperfect heroine, someone who is more in common with ordinary people than the characters in other Austen’s works. I have seen several television adaptations and they never get the ending right, still, the letter that Wentworth wrote to Anne is always used in the adaptations. It is quite a sweet, perhaps a bit cheesy to some, but still quite worthy of any woman. it certainly makes me wish that was written to me.

    anyway, I will check back to see what the discussions will be. have a lovely day.

    1. Yes, she is a very ordinary heroine, which I think is why she is so easy to love. I LOVE that letter – I have never seen an adaptation that quite captures the Anne of my imagination, I have to say. I am currently enjoying my re-read and look forward to the upcoming discussions!

  31. Loved your posts on Persuasion, will go home and read them again. I had always thought P&P was my favorite Austen book and Lizzy and Darcy were my favorite Austen couple until recently when i finally got to see the Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry Jones movie. I realized how much i really love Anne and Captain Wentworth. Of course i am years older than when i first read both these books and have seen life and probably have been a bit burnt by it, so that makes a difference … but Persuasion is now my favorite Austen book. I am going to re-read the book now and come back to your posts one more time to compare opinions. Love your blog!

    1. Thanks PV, so glad you’ve enjoyed my thoughts on Persuasion. Personally I find it to be miles ahead of P&P in its acute understanding of the disappointments and regrets that come with adult life – however because of that, I don’t think people come to appreciate it until they are a little older. Enjoy re-reading Persuasion and I hope you’ll come back and tell me more of what you think!

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