Many years ago, Anne Elliot was engaged to Frederick Wentworth, but took the advice of her motherly friend Lady Russell, as well as listened to the opinions of her father Sir Walter and her sister Elizabeth and dissolved the engagement since Wentworth didn’t have much standing. Quite by coincidence Frederick is back in her life after years in the Navy and has made a name for himself as well as a fortune. Anne is convinced, though, that he will never forgive her for her past actions. And when her cousin William Elliot starts courting her, she might be getting another chance, despite being alread 27 years old and still unmarried.
I really enjoyed Persuasion, even though it means that there are no new Austen novels for me anymore. But that just means that I’ll have to re-read everything. In any case, Persuasion shines with vibrant characters and a sweet story.
Persuasion was one of the few novels by Austen of which I didn’t know the plot before and I completely got into it. Like “oh my goodness, what is going to happen, how will they ever get out of that predicament, what the fuck is going on” into it. With too much stupid grinning when I finally got to the happy end. (For a while I really wasn’t sure where the story was going and with which guy Anne would end up – though I did have my suspicions.)
Austen’s tone in this one was much sharper. I mean, she always had a rather biting way of characterizing people she didn’t like, but in this one she was much more direct and she extended that sharpness even to the characters the reader is supposed to like, like Anne herself. Sometimes that even seemed a little cruel, but at least she never went overboard with it so much that I couldn’t go along with her anymore. In fact, more often than not it is laugh out loud funny.
It definitely didn’t take away from my liking Anne. Anne is what Fanny Price (from Mansfield Park) could have been. Strongwilled, principled and a little too serious for her own good, but still likeable, warm and pretty self-confident. I absolutely loved that we got a scene where Anne wonders abour Frederick’s behavior and immediately draws the conclusion that he must be in love with her. No self-conscious angsting, no “maybe he hates me, what have I done wrong”, just a simple, yet positive assessment.
Since Anne was far from the only character I liked, I’m really looking forward to watching the adaptations soon and see them all on screen as well.
*If you want a ranking (from favorite to least favorite): Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Emma & Persuason (tied), Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park.