Friday, December 10, 2010

Book Review of Persuasion by Jane Austen

In the start of the book Anne Elliot, the daughter of a regency-era baronet is twenty-seven. Her mother is dead, and her father is vain and self-important. Her sister had been managing the household but never considers Anne's wishes as of any importance. Her father is heavily in debt, so they decide to have their house rented and move to the English city of Bath. Anne stays behind with her married sister, 'because Anne will be of no use in Bath.'

It happens to be that the brother-in-law of the man renting the Elliots' property Anne had been engaged to eight years before. Frederick Wentworth was a sailor, and while vistiting near the Elliots had fallen in love with Anne. Anne loved him also and they were engaged. But Anne's father hardly approved of the match, since Frederick was not rich, and Anne's friend who had been like a mother to her, Lady Russell, persuaded her that it would be only fair to Frederick to break their engagement. Eight years had passed since that time, and time had softened Anne's love and sadness, but then Frederick Wentworth went to visit his sister in the Elliots' old home, and Anne met him again. He had grown wealthier, and Anne could see that all Lady Russell's arguments that it would be best for both of them not to marry each other had been unfounded. She could also see that he had not forgiven her for rejecting him and she watched him court her brother-in-law's sister Louisa Musgrove.

This is Jane Austen's last finished novel and also one of her least known stories. In addition to the romance of Anne and Frederick it has interesting subplots including Anne's father Sir Walter Elliot, her sister, her sister's friend Mrs. Clay, and William Elliot, heir presumtive of the lands and titles of Sir Walter. I would recommend this book for ages twelve and up.

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