This novel completes part of the requirements for the Jane Austen Reading Challenge.
Persuasion is Jane Austen's most mature novel, a tale of disappointed love, enduring hopes and second chances. Written late in Austen's life, as she was falling ill with the disease that would ultimately kill her, Persuasion is a darker, more subdued tome than the cheery brightness and sparkling wit of previous favorites like Pride and Prejudice. Anne is a lovable heroine, full of wise caution and gentleness that is highlighted as a virtue in contrast to the ignorance and selfishness of her family. Unlike many Austen heroines, Anne Elliot knows her own mind, and as a result readers are given much more insight into her thoughts and feelings, making it easy to sympathize with her pitiable plight. Despite his initial aloofness, Wentworth is a charming hero whose clearly wounded heart makes him all the more endearing. It's impossible not to love the big-hearted sea captain, especially as suspense begins to wreak its toll on his emotions. The tense guessing game between him and Anne could become tiresome and juvenile under a less skilled pen, but Austen does it in such a way that the evolving sentiments and slowly revealed secrets are tantalizing for the reader, while the characters' feelings and motivations are so complex that they remain engaging without becoming trite and superficial. There is much less of the biting sarcasm and dry irony that is Austen's trademark in this final novel, but Persuasion still contains that insightful social critique which makes Austen's tales so much more than traditional love stories. The groveling aspirations of the pompous Sir Walter and Elizabeth Elliot (poor Anne's closest family), and the comparative warmth and camaraderie of the omnipresent naval officers is a clear commentary which deftly evokes the reader's highest respect for the band of brothers who were defending the country at the time. The portrait of family Austen draws amongst the officers holds a reassuring promise that the beloved heroine will finally find well-deserved happiness after a youth of lonely insignificance at the hands of her closest relations.
Today is the LAST DAY to enter the Jane in June Giveaway for a chance to win one of three Jane Austen classics - Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice!