Persuasion by Jane Austen is a novel about a well-off daughter, Anne, and her desires for a man, Captain Wentworth. The novel kicks off with Anne’s father, Sir Walter Elliot, having lost his first wife and now married to another, spending above his means. They have to sell off one of their pieces of land, Kellynch Hall, to a navy man, Admiral Croft, and his wife. Sir Walter Elliot hates this, and says, “a sailor grows older sooner than any other man…”. Admiral Croft brings with him Anne’s old lover, Captain Wentworth, who believes she betrayed him when she cut off their relationship. This was in part due to Lady Russell’s, Anne’s house-maid, word. Once Anne moves from Kellynch Hall, she meets Captain Wentworth and desires him throughout, but then begins to be courted by her cousin, Mr. Elliot. Captain Wentworth was also trying to marry another woman, Louise, but soon falls out of love with her after his friend courts her. It’s only when Anne’s friend, Mrs. Smith, reveals to her that Mr. Elliot is a conniving person only out for prestige that she cuts it off with him. And throughout, Anne goes to concerts, card parties, and hosts parties of her own. At the end, even though Captain Wentworth is not the type her family or friends want her to marry, they do and everyone, except Mr. Elliot, seems to get around to being fine with it.
I enjoyed the wit and acuity Austen deploys with Anne and Captain Wentworth. And while it is a story of its time, I did find the way everyone treated Anne to be transcendent. Lady Russell tells her to marry someone else, her father thinks she’s the lesser of the three daughters, and Elizabeth is simply rude to her. Though, at times, the parties got a little overbearing and I had difficulty with how quick the final chapter wraps things up. I’m also not that interested in stories about well-off families, as their problems seem more or less comparatively small to others. Overall, I thought it to be a fairly enjoyable read.
Final Rating: 3.5/5
Maxwell Suzuki is a writer, poet, and photographer based in Los Angeles.