August 9, 2013

Persuasion by Jane Austen (Review)

Title: Persuasion
Author: Jane Austen
First published: 1817
Add it: Goodreads, The Book Depository
Rating: ★★★★☆

The Elliots is a proud but now quite broken family of English land owners. Walter Elliot is an appearance-obsessed widower with three daughters, only one of whom has managed to marry, and no sons to inherit his estate. The eldest daughter, Elizabeth, has become the mistress of the house at the age of 13, after her mother's death, and it has not improved her character. Besides, being 28 she now has little or no chance to marry. Anne Elliot, the main heroine, is now 26. 8 years ago she was engaged to an officer, but was persuaded to break the engagement because of his lack of money and position. She hasn't married since, and now she is to be trialed with meeting her fiancee, now rich and successful, again while staying with her younger married sister Mary, an owner of a whining and hypochondriac character.

Persuasion is a bit different from the other Austen novels I've read, mainly because the heroine is older, is supposed to have lost all her charms (at 26!!! Now this is shocking!), and have quite some history. This makes her a good observer and a skeptic rather than an easily-excited girl. Living in such a shallow family, it is surprising how she could get such a good understanding and tolerance, but she has, and it makes her a great narrator.

The usual Austen humour is of course present too: the book is full of mockery towards the notions and ways of rural aristocracy, and some of the situations made me laugh out loud, especially the ones including Mary's scheming. But there are also some beautiful moments in the book, one of which is the relations between Admiral and Mrs. Croft, who consciously choose to spend time together, seem to care about each other and are generally an example of a happy family.

In my book:
Persuasion is a bit inferior to Pride and Prejudice for me, but then what can equal it at all? :) However, it is a very nice and decent book, a comfort read of sorts, written with Jane Austen's brilliant wit and inimitable skill.


  1. Persuasion was the first ever Jane Austen novel I read (earlier this year) and it was surprising to see how at age 26 and 28 girls/women were already "written off", but then again, those were the times... Mary was equally obnoxious and hilarious :)

    1. Yes, although I know it was the case then, still this perception of age was a bit shocking for me :) Mary is my favourite! A great character - so vivid!

  2. When I reread Austen in 2011, I realized that I love Persuasion even more than any of Austen's other novels except Pride and Prejudice which is, and shall probably always be, my favorite.

  3. I will always love P&P but Persuasion has become my favourite Austen. I love the more mature relationships developed in this book.

  4. I love Persuasion--I think it's a wonderful book. I love that she has an older heroine who has experienced disappointment and difficulties.


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