I couldn’t help it – I just couldn’t resist… It was so pretty, with quotes on the lovely blue cover, each in a different font. And it was really well made – the pages are actually sewn together instead of just glued. To top it off, it is one of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors: Persuasion, by Jane Austen. It is one of my go-to reads when life is stressful or (and) busy, which the last couple of weeks have been. It doesn’t matter that I already have a copy of this book; this one is far nicer, and will stand up to many rereads – or at least that’s how I am justifying the purchase…
If you have never read anything by Jane Austen, then I would say start with this one (or possibly Pride and Prejudice, another favourite book of mine). Many people dismiss Austen, thinking that her books are just old fashion romances, but they are not – they are so much more. Austen was truly a wonderful writer, with great insight into people and life. She writes believably about life and the choices, good or bad, that we make, and how they impact our life. She is also wonderfully sarcastic (yes, seriously). Sometimes you have to hear it said out loud to catch just how sarcastic it can be (the BBC renditions of her books are perfect for this).
This story follows Anne Elliott, the middle of three daughters of a baronet, Sir Walter Elliot. Sir Elliot is vain and superficial, and spends more money than he should. He becomes so indebted that they end up having to rent out the family home (mansion), Kellynch Hall, and choose to rent a home in Bath in an attempt to keep up appearances. Anne’s older sister, who takes on the role of lady of the house after their mother’s death, is just as vain and superficial as her father.
Eight years previously, Anne had fallen in love with a young Navel officer, Frederick Wentworth, but had been persuaded by family and friends that it was too risky a match; that she may end up living a life of poverty with him. So she gave him up – and always regretted it. In a twist of fate, don’t his older sister, Sophie, and her husband, Admiral Croft, rent Kellynch Hall; a twist of fate that brings her into contact with her lost love, who is now a naval captain and had made his fortune in the war. Can they possibly reconcile? Or will he marry another? Added to the mix is William Elliot, a cousin of some sort, and heir to Sir Walter. He comes across as a wonderful, kind, and thoughtful individual, but he seems to have a shady past. He also wants to marry Anne. And to her family, he seems a perfect match. Will her family succeed again, convincing her to marry William, or will she finally be reunited with Frederick? Who would be the best choice, and who would cause a life of regret?
Between the foolish parading of her father and older sister, the dramatics of her younger sister, the scheming Mrs Clay, William Elliot and his shadowy past – just to name a few characters – there is plenty to keep a reader enthralled and entertained.
Read this book! It’s a wonderful, feel good story. It also touches on life, and the hardships, of a military spouse. Even though this story was written about two hundred years ago, some things don’t change that much.