Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Book Review: Persuasion by Jane Austen

Book: Persuasion
Author: Jane Austen
First Published in: 1818
Genre: Fiction, Romance


At the age of nineteen Anne Elliot of Kellynch Hall fell in love with someone of no fortune or family status. As can be imagined there were problems. Anne’s father Sir Walter Elliot considered this attachment to be nothing but a shame. Lady Russell, Anne’s godmother approved of it either. What followed was persuasion. The engagement had to be dropped. There was to be no other way. Anne Elliot finally relented and put an end to the relationship. Captain Wentworth, which was the name of the unfortunate gentleman, left the country.

Seven years had passed after this course of events. But such heartbreak at such a young age had taken its toll on her. She was pretty but had lost her cheerfulness and bloom. But then nobody really cared. Her father Sir Walter had eyes and ears only for his eldest daughter Elizabeth who was beautiful and more or less similar to his own character. Elizabeth cared for her neither but preferred the company of a Mrs. Clay; a woman whom Lady Russell despised immensely. Anne’s younger sister Mary had married and was living in Uppercross Cottage, three miles from Kellynch Hall. Anne’s life was dull and her only real friend was Lady Russell.

Soon a serious problem came up. Elizabeth had been in charge of the house after the death of their mother. Due to the extravagance of both father and daughter they had fallen deep in debt. The only way out as advised by Lady Russell and the lawyer Mr. Shepherd, was to let Kellynch Hall. This was extremely unacceptable to Sir Walter’s vanity but alas there was nothing else to do. The family was to shift to Bath for sometime and no one was to know about the circumstances.

Admiral Croft and his wife were to be the new tenants. Sir Walter, Elizabeth and Mrs. Clay(to the dismay of Lady Russell) were to set off to Bath. Anne was to stay with Mary for sometime. But then Anne came to know of something which unsettled her- Captain Wentworth was Mrs. Croft’s brother! This was a shock to Anne but she strengthened her heart for such an encounter.

It was not long before Captain Wentworth visited Uppercross Cottage..And met her once again...
What happened then? Was he still in love with her? Or would he fall for someone else and ignore her??
I won’t tell you...read and find out for yourself!

I find that whenever I write something after reading Jane Austen’s novels my style of writing becomes different somehow and the sentences tend to become longer than usual lol! Anyway I loved reading Persuasion very much. At the end of the day it is a love story but it has a wider scope. It is a study of human nature and how persuasion could change lives altogether.

Jane Austen has six completed novels to her credit, all of them special in its own way- Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Mansfield Park and Emma. I suppose Pride and Prejudice is the most popular and recommended book of hers. But I like all of them. Her style of writing is wonderful- witty, insightful and brilliant to read.

My Rating: 5 stars, I love Jane Austen’s novels!

If out-of-date stories and unending sentences are not your cup of tea, you can read the modern version of this story in ‘Persuading Annie’ by Melissa Nathan. I will be posting the review of that book soon… So do come back later!


Stella said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

I love Persuasion. It's my favorite Austen, after Pride and Prejudice, of course.

It really made me smile when you said that her style creeps into your own writing. I have the exact same problem. Try not to use the words "vex" and "countenance". They're a dead giveaway :)

Novice Writer said...

Extremely delighted to make your acquaintance!! It was generous of you to pay a visit to my humble blog:-))
(I know I know- A very bad imitation of poor Jane Austen's writing..Couldn't help it!:-))
Thanks Stella for the comment.

Paul said...

Agree with your observation about automatically imitating style. It's hard to avoid at times, as if the ability to mimic is practically instinctive. I used to find myself doing it after listening to people with distinctive accents, and had to train myself not to, in case they thought I was mocking them!

And yes, Jane Austen is timeless.