Saturday, 14 January 2017

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion by Jane Austen
First published in England by John Murray in December 1817.

How I got this book:
Downloaded the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository
Amazon US / Amazon UK

Anne Elliot, the heroine Austen called 'almost too good for me, ' has let herself be persuaded not to marry Frederick Wentworth, a fine and attractive man without means. Eight years later, Captain Wentworth returns from the Napoleonic Wars with a triumphant naval career behind him, a substantial fortune to his name, and an eagerness to wed.

Persuasion was chosen as one of three group reads for January by the Proud Readers Of Great Stories group on Goodreads to which I belong. Having never actually read any Jane Austen novels before, I took this as my inspiration to try at least that one, then, when I realised that 2017 is the 200th anniversary year of Austen's death, I decided to challenge myself to read all six of her novels within the year. If you would like to join my Jane Austen Challenge 2017, feel welcome to download the above badge and link up to this post!

I think what surprised me most about Persuasion is the sharpness of Austen's eye and the frequent pretty vicious satire of her pen. I admit, based only on film and TV adaptations of her books, that I was expecting a fluffy Regency romance, but other than the societal expectation that everyone be either married or seeking to become so, the story for me was more satirical humour and a comedy of manners.

Anne Elliot is a heroine with whom I could easily identify and empathise. Concerned with more intellectual pursuits that her peers and frequently overlooked, I was glad at her eventual triumph although for a time I wasn't sure in which of three directions it would be best for her to go. My favourite characters however were both terrible people, but wonderfully portrayed. Anne's younger sister, the fabulously self-centered Mary only ever understands other people as they pertain to her entertainment and her father, Walter, is probably the most vain and shallow male character I have ever read. I enjoyed several giggles at the expense of both!

The aspirational snobbery of most of the characters did get a little wearing for me at times, especially as even those considered 'poor' were still way above the financial situation of most of England's population at the time - and now! I did sometimes struggle to remember all the familial connections too as the various intermarriages and resultant relationships made it difficult to always know who was being gossiped about behind their back. Overall though I am happy to say that I did enjoy my first Jane Austen novel and look forward to more. Perhaps Mansfield Park will be next?

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Books by Jane Austen / Women's fiction / Books from England


  1. I love my Jane Austen books <3 I quite liked Persuasion. Even though it wasn't a favourite of mine, I remember it being a good read. I'm glad you could relate and identify with Anne!

    1. Which was your favourite? I plan to read all six Jane Austen novels this year :-)