Saturday, 23 February 2013

''Persuasion''- Book review

Author: Jane Austen
Publication date: 1817
Genres: Romance novel

Rating: 4 out of 5


''Persuasion'' is the last completed novel by the wonderful Jane Austen. It was published posthumously along with Northanger Abbey.   

I quite loved Persuasion, and enjoyed it quite very much. The novel's heroine, Anne Elliot, is the daughter of arrogant and extravagant baron Sir Walter Elliot. She is in her late twenties. She has little value in her family; her father and unmarried elder sister Elizabeth treat her with no affection and hardly acknowledge her. The little respect she gets is from Lady Russell, a friend of her late mother, and she is Anne's close companion.

Anne has had a troubled and sad past. Eight years ago, she had fallen in love with Captain Frederick Wentworth, a sailor with little money, fortune, and no family name. They were both in love, but her father was against the relationship because of Wentworth's status, and Lady Russell, also quite prejudice, was able to persuade Anne to break off the relationship.

Now, Sir Walter Elliot faces financial hardship. He decides to move to Bath and rent out their house. The tenants are Admiral Croft and his wife, and we learn that Captain Wentworth is Mrs Croft's brother.

Anyways, Sir Walter and Elizabeth (accompanied by Elizabeth's friend Mrs Clay) move to Bath, and Anne goes to her married younger sister's house, and would arrive in Bath after some time. Her younger sister, Mary, is more sisterly than Elizabeth, yet still arrogant, selfish and envious. Mary is married to the pleasant Charles Musgrove. Over the days, Anne becomes very friendly and close to everyone of the Musgrove family: Charles and Mary's children, Charles's parents, and Charles's sister Henrietta and Louisa. 

The Musgroves become close with the Crofts, and Captain Wentworth has come to visit his sister and her husband. Wentworth also visits the Musgroves, and he and Anne have a cold, distant and civil relationship.

Things take a different turn as everyone (Anne, some of the Musgroves, Captain Wentworth) goes to Lyme. It seems that the Captain is in love with Louisa, while Anne briefly meets her cousin, Mr Elliot, who seems to have interest in her. Then...

I won't go into more details. This is an amazing novel, maybe not as excellent as Austen's classics Sense and Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice. Yet, it is a touching tale, and I think it is not just a love story. It also gives a great focus in the character of Anne Elliot. At the beginning of the novel, we see Anne as a lonely, friendless woman, who is given no respect by her family. At Uppercross (where the Musgroves lives), she finds comfort, friends, and happiness. She meets Captain Wentworth again, the only love of her life. Uppercross, where much of the novel is set in, changes her life in many ways. She goes through happy and painful moments throughout the novel. 

Later, when she arrives in Bath, she gets none of the hearty welcomes which she had got in Uppercross; the same old cold relationship with her father and sister is resumed, both of them still being extremely arrogant. There are too many characters, everybody connected with the other, and everyone play a role in Anne's life. There is a startling revelation about Mr Elliot, and much more surprising elements. 

Overall, it remains a sweet and emotional novel, excellently-written, wonderfully narrated, and overall, it is an enjoyable classic.

4.5 out of 5

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