7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Persuasion (Modern Library) (Hardcover)
Jane Austenites such as myself dive in most willingly and blissfully into her stories. We bask in the sway of waves bearing her lively pitch, her precise and playful interaction with the language - and we bemusedly acknowledge that such magic has never even yet come close to being rejuvenated by anyone, despite so many attempts made within the some 200 years since her novels were written.
PERSUASION quaintly commences on a quiet country estate in Regency England, and on a fanciful whim journeys on through to the seaside resort of Lyme, thence onward through the social promenade of Bath. The story follows Anne Elliot, daughter of snobby baronet, Sir Walter Elliot. Anne is the middle daughter, in between older sister Elizabeth, the apple of her father's eye, and married younger sister, Mary Musgrove. Jane Austen makes very good use of her exquisite wit in the depictions of shallow, haughty Elizabeth and selfish, frivolous Mary.
Anne, however, is cut from a different cloth. Having fallen in love at age 19 or 20 with a handsome young man of no fortune, Anne denies her passion for what she sees as her duty and breaks her engagement with Frederick Wentworth - after, of course, some persuasion from Lady Russell, a friend of her late mother. Then, some eight years later, after Anne has apparently lost her youthful bloom, Captain Wentworth returns - still very handsome, and now quite rich after having made his fortune in the Navy during the Napoleonic Wars.
As Captain Wentworth brandishes warm, flirtatious attention upon the young, lively Musgrove sisters, Louisa and Henrietta, sisters of Mary's husband Charles, Anne silently harbours the certainty that her deep affection and love for Wentworth had never faded despite all those years apart from him, and that his aloofness bears witness that his feelings for her have forever disappeared. She all the while keeps those pangs of loss and regret subdued, and stays steadfast in her knowledge of what is right and what is good in the complex modes of interaction with others. After her father's frivolity with money has necessitated moving his family to Bath and leasing out his estate, Kellynch hall, Anne must search for her place in the world.
Although PERSUASION may not be the wittiest, nor the liveliest, nor the brightest or most luminous of the six novels written by Jane Austen, one cannot deny that it is perhaps the most moving. Our heroine's allure takes the reader gently into that era of innocent romance, that beautiful country where sometimes what once had been lost might inexplicitly, almost magically, be found...if sought.