There is something incredibly indulgent in reading Jane Austen. Reading one of her novels is like eating chocolate or taking a nap – just such a simple pleasure. Therefore, this is only the third novel that I’ve read of hers – I try to space them out to enjoy over time, though I’m finding it very hard right now to go pick up another one and start that.
Also, it may be hard to believe, but I might like this more than Pride and Prejudice. I know, unthinkable, right? But it’s so reader-friendly. The language isn’t as heavy, and the pacing of the story is much quicker.
Persuasion is beautiful, partly because you feel the romance between Wentworth and Anne right from the beginning. Eight years earlier, they were in love and wanted to be married, but Anne’s friend and family convinced her that the match should be broken off, because he was of lower rank and little money. Now, he’s back as a wealthy captain after spending years at seas. And there it starts…
There’s strong tones of regret and longing throughout this book, which kept it fast-paced and interesting. Anne very gradually throughout the book admits to herself just how much she does want to be with Wentworth, and you can see the pain Wentworth is in. Definitely tugs on your heartstrings a bit to watch these two people who so obviously want to be together deal with trying to correct the past.
Besides their romance, they are also extremely likable characters. Anne is quiet, intelligent, sweet, and completely underappreciated by her own family. Unlike her family, she does not hold rank and wealth as something of much importance (a big Austen theme). Wentworth’s character is shown mainly through recounts of his life at sea, and his kindness and sense whenever he interacts with others.
The social critiques were strong in this one, which I loved. I really enjoy the mockery of those considered to be in the high social class, and of silly women who make themselves look weak (Mary Musgrove). As always, intelligence, common sense, and love win in this novel, making it an incredibly easy and enjoyable read.