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Persuasion

Jane Austen

Book Overview: 

In Persuasion, her last novel, Austen explores the theme of postponed but enduring love, delayed by class boundaries and excessive pride. Eight years ago, Anne Elliot fell in love with a poor but ambitious young naval officer, Frederick Wentworth. The Elliots were dissatisfied with Anne’s choice, feeling he was not distinguished enough for their family, and her older friend and mentor, Lady Russell, acting in place of Anne’s deceased mother, persuaded her to break off the match. Now 27 and considered a spinster, Anne re-encounters her former fiance, now a captain, as he courts her spirited young neighbor, Louisa Musgrove. The self-interested machinations of Anne’s older sister Elizabeth, of Elizabeth’s friend Mrs. Clay, and of Anne’s father’s heir, William Elliot, constitute an important subplot.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .She had gone to her letters, and found it all as she supposed; and the re-perusal of these letters, after so long an interval, her poor son gone for ever, and all the strength of his faults forgotten, had affected her spirits exceedingly, and thrown her into greater grief for him than she had known on first hearing of his death. Mr Musgrove was, in a lesser degree, affected likewise; and when they reached the cottage, they were evidently in want, first, of being listened to anew on this subject, and afterwards, of all the relief which cheerful companions could give them.

To hear them talking so much of Captain Wentworth, repeating his name so often, puzzling over past years, and at last ascertaining that it might, that it probably would, turn out to be the very same Captain Wentworth whom they recollected meeting, once or twice, after their coming back from Clifton--a very fine young man--but they could not say whether it was seven or eight years ago, was a n. . . Read More