Book Review: Persuasion

A Book Review

By Melissa Fortuin

Author: Jane Austen

Year Published: 1817

Genre: Romance, Comedy

It’s the end of the year pretty soon and I know you need a well-deserved break from drawing up that darn list of New Year’s resolutions you definitely won’t be sticking to, so really put that green liquid diet away and eat that cake. You deserve it!

The year of 2018 has been rather a strange one with much negativity and strife splashed onto our nightly screens more often than should be the case. Many people have been facing a plethora of ups and downs. So what is one of the best ways to soothe the tired achy soul? Partying? Focus Odd peeps the partying comes later. I was going to suggest swapping the pen and notepad of resolutions for a nice feel-good book and settling in for the evening. And this really is a feel good book and feel good as the romantic classics get.

We’ve dealt with love before, I mean… It’s love! Love is an integral part of the human condition which is why it remains one of the most commonly dealt with themes besides the doom and gloom inescapable reality of death. Wuthering Heights was a stormy twist of both intertwined. The Scarlet Letter was the epitome of the unfaltering loyalty persevering through love, with a dash of vengeance of course (Whisky on the rocks? No… Splash some water please). But today’s tale is nothing but a tale of love. There are no dressings, no ribbons or decorations. This is just love, and the type of love that’s like a well made and sturdy oak table that stands the test of time.

Welcome to the world of Jane Austen. Today I chose her last novel, Persuasion, which she wrote before passing on a few months later. It’s not what comes to mind traditionally when one mentions Jane Austen. Most people think of Pride and Prejudice or Emma. Strangely enough, NEITHER of those are my favorite Austen novels. From her entire collection, I picked this baby, and may I mention I’ve read All of her work. From the very beginning, I expected Jane’s usual light and jovial tone, embedded ever so carefully under beautiful prose. I couldn’t wait to see what young and vibrant heroine she had birthed in her mind and carved out into paper, who would be almost perfect with the occasional slight fault in nature.

This novel, however, is different, and I think because at the time of its creation Austen herself was different. The tone is more… mature. The characters are more mature. There is still her usual wit under the surface, but it is considerably toned down and replaced by greater refinement in writing and freer indirect discourse in the narrative. So here is a summary of the plot without any spoilers… I hope.

It’s been a long seven years after the broken engagement of our heroine, Anne Elliot who by now is ancient and unmarried in that era. At the tender age of 19 she had fallen in love with Commander Frederick Wentworth at the time, but due to the huge differences in their wealth (Anne’s father the Baronet Sir Walter owned a family estate Kellynch Hall) and was deemed an unsuitable match financially. This lead to the end of it all. However, after the passing of so many years, the Elliot family are in their own financial distress and have to rent their home. Due to the war, sailors are now also put back on shore. It is through family connections that Anne soon finds herself once again in the company of her long-lost love Frederick, who makes it known to he is ready to be married, and who has still not forgiven Anne for letting herself be persuaded into leaving him almost a decade before. Unbeknownst to Frederick, Anne still harbors a deep love for him. However, another suitor is stirred by Anne and tries to win over her heart, when in the meantime a near-deadly accident causes Wentworth to rethink his feelings for Anne.

Talk about love and the power of love! I absolutely love tales about love that seem so pure and true. I truly appreciate when love can conquer anything, mostly distance and time (seven to eight years is a long time ya’ll… I can’t even wait two minutes for my noodles)…and the real effort in which the main character tries to unfold the roots of her decision years back, the decision made through Persuasion. It is a powerful story of that age-old concept of choosing love for you and By you…NOBODY else. Nobody feels that love, experiences that love or wakes up next to that love by you, and if the reciprocity is as ardent as yours, people will wait! Even if they have to be reborn a thousand times to find you again. There is a truly more mature

I hope you will enjoy this novel as much as I did. Let’s give the December relationship omens a rest, and tell someone we love them! Also, let’s be responsible and safe this month. Until next time, happy reading.