11. Persuasion: Jane Austen

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To my shame, I have not read a lot of Austen. I did Emma in college, and read Northanger Abbey for one of my book groups last year, and I have seen so many TV and film adaptations I certainly feel like I have read more of them. But I have never read nor seen Persuasion and when discussing books in work recently a colleague said it was her favourite. Moreover I have just been given (well, lent) an iPad by work and as all classics are free to download I went a bit mad and got loads, this being the first. So, here we are reading my first ebook and classic of this challenge.

As my aforementioned colleague said, it is a typical Cinderella story. Anne Elliot is, inexplicably, the least favoured by her family of the three sisters. Several years before she had been persuaded (hence the title) to break off her engagement with the love of her life, Captain Wentworth as he had neither the money nor status befitting of the daughter of a baronet. Anne’s hopelessly vain widower father had run up debts forcing them to leave the family seat and rent it out to an Admiral and his wife. Inevitably, there is a link between the Admiral and Captain Wentworth and his and Anne’s paths cross once again. In true Austen style there is plenty of ‘will they won’t they’ as various suitors line up to possibly snatch away one or the other. And, as it’s Austen, you know there will be a happy ending it’s just the wondering how it’s going to come about that makes it so entertaining.

As you would expect, the writing is exquisite; full of humour and understatement. The characters range from the sublime (Anne) to the ridiculous (her sister Mary) with a few bores and bounders in between. For me, Anne is just a little bit toooooooo good. I love Emma because she has a great character development and significant flaws (sharp and spiteful) and Anne is quite samey throughout. Just such a nice book though, definitely feelgood!

4.5 stars

Up next: A Spaceman’s Guide to Life on Earth by Commander Chris Hadfield

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