I love to re-read this book almost every year around Christmas time – it’s a bookish tradition I’ve got. But since this is the first time I’ve reread it since starting this blog, I thought it would be a nice time to write a proper review.
Spoiler Free Review
Authors: Jane Austen
Published: Headline Review, first published in 1817
Eight years ago, Anne Elliot let herself be persuaded against marrying the man she loved. Now, she finds herself confronted by him again, and has to watch as he – newly successful and just as handsome and kind as she remembers – looks for a wife to settle down with. But she’s never forgotten the love she has for him; thinks she won’t ever be able to. Has he really moved on?
Let’s start off by saying that this is my favourite Austen novel. If I’m looking for an Austen reread, I’ll pick this one 90% of the time. So don’t expect this review to be unbiased – I’ll try, but I’m making no promises! Additionally, don’t expect this to be a very in depth, analytical review – I’m basically just going to gush.
One of the things I love most about this novel is Anne Elliot. She is a wonderful character. She manages to rise about the snobbery of her family and thinks little of her station in life (which is her father’s favourite thing to talk about – ‘we are Elliots, darling!’). But she is a genuinely nice, kind person. Although there is a real absence of flaws in her character – which I always feel makes a character more real – her only real flaw was her sense of self when she let herself be persuaded against the man she loved. However, much of the rest of the cast of characters make up for her lack of flaws. Many of the other characters are quite self centred and this elevates Anne’s character above them. I spend most of the time reading this book scoffing at the other characters and thanking the lucky stars for Anne’s character.
But I can’t forget my love of Wentworth. I love a good angsty, romantic character and he just fits the bill. It is a little unclear of his feelings for Anne when he first reappears in the novel, but over time his anger and resentment seems to slide. He seems to be falling for another, and whilst my little shipper heart always hurts at this section, it definitely pushes the plot-line along and allows Anne to fully realise that she could never love another. He is dark, a little mysterious but downright lovely.
There isn’t too much plot in this novel, and I feel much of the plot driven parts allow the side characters to come into their own. However, the main story for me is always Anne and Wentworth’s journey, making this novel more about the story of their relationship than anything else for me. I adore their scenes together – the tense, awkward meetings and the glances from other sides of the room. And crucially, because we see characters meeting for the second time, not the first, we are treated to a new side of Austen – rather than falling in love, we see her pushing characters to fall back into love and disregard the mistakes of the past. That’s what I think makes this Austen novel different from the rest.
And why do I love this story just a little more than Pride and Prejudice, you may ask? That’s a very close second. I love P&P, and always enjoy rereading that novel too. But there’s something that draws me to Persuasion more. I think it’s because it’s a little more ‘untold’. There’s something quiet about this novel, whilst P&P is loud, and well-known and constantly spoken of. Don’t get me wrong, I love that P&P is so accessible, but I also enjoy rereading Persuasion knowing that, although it is many Austen fans’ favourite, there’s something soft and secret about it too.
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars!
Did you expect anything less? I adore this book and it’s characters and I’m beyond glad I picked up this read again. It’s like settling back into your favourite nook of the sofa – so lovely and comfortable. Also, the BBC adaptation is great – give it a go if you’re looking for a quick period drama fix over the Christmas period.
What’s your favourite comfort read? I hope you enjoy rereading as much as I do!