Flashback Friday is a meme hosted by Bookshelf fantasies focusing on showing some love for the older books in our lives and on our shelves.
The book I have chosen to celebrate this week is Persuasion by Jane Austen. I love Jane Austen and her books to the point of craziness.
I have read all of her books several times over the years. Most people say that Pride and Prejudice is their favorite. It is the first Austen that I read and I like it a lot, but I like Persuasion more.
It has a lovely set of characters, some sensible, some ridiculous. A heroine, Anne Elliott, who at twenty-seven is older, smarter and wiser than the rest of Austen’s heroines. A hero, Captain Frederick Wentworth who is charming, sensible and strong willed.
The story goes somewhat like this:
Eight years before the story begins, Anne and Fredrick Wentworth meet and fall in love. They even get engaged, but Anne’s family does not approve and she is persuaded to end the relationship. A decision that she regrets deeply in the years that follow.
Eight years later they meet again. There is contrition on her side and wounded pride on his. Throw in a couple of young girls who are determined to marry Captain Wentworth and Mr Elliot, Anne’s cousin who insists on wooing her and there is plenty of drama before they find their way back to each other.
This is a love story, but it is so much more than that. The book is beautifully written. It is prose at its best. There is a fluidity and an ease in the writing that is charming. The characters are nicely fleshed out and if some of them seem like caricatures, that is only because they are intended to be.
The thing about Austen’s books is that they are not just romance, there is satire here and a faithful depiction of the society and customs of her day, combined with a commentary on the same.
Persuasion is Austen’s last published book and it is her best. There is plenty of satire and ridicule here, but there is a lot of warmth as well. It is a beautiful book and one that will stay with me forever.