Synopses & Reviews
Of all Jane Austen’s great and delightful novels, Persuasion
is widely regarded as the most moving. It is the story of a second chance.
Anne Elliot, daughter of the snobbish, spendthrift Sir Walter Elliot, is a woman of quiet charm and deep feelings. When she was nineteen, she fell in love with–and was engaged to–a naval officer, the fearless and headstrong Captain Wentworth. But the young man had no fortune, and Anne allowed herself to be persuaded, against her profoundest instinct, to give him up.Now, at twenty-seven, and believing that she has lost her bloom, Anne is startled to learn that Captain Wentworth has returned to the neighborhood, a rich man and still unwed. Her never-diminished love is muffled by her pride. He seems cold and unforgiving. Even worse, he appears to be infatuated by the flighty and pretty Louisa Musgrove.
What happens as Anne and Wentworth are thrown together in the social world of Bath–and as an eager new suitor appears for Anne–is touchingly and wittily told in a masterpiece that is also one of the most entrancing novels in the English language.
From the Hardcover edition.
Jane Austen's last completed novel, a brilliantly insightful story of regret, second chances, and the courage to follow our hearts
Anne Elliot is twenty-seven and unmarried--by all accounts a spinster in her time--seemingly doomed to spend the rest of her life waiting on her image-obsessed father and extravagant older sister; attempting to maintain their once lavish, now dwindling family estate; and occasionally babysitting the children of her married younger sister.
It wasn't always this way, though. When Anne was nineteen, she was in love with and engaged to Frederick Wentworth, a man with no money and few prospects. Anne's well-meaning family and friends convinced her that a young heiress like herself could do better, so she broke off the engagement. But when chance brings Wentworth and Anne together again eight years later, he is now an accomplished naval captain with an impressive fortune, and Anne must face her feelings for him that remain and consider how different her life could have been if only she hadn't been so easily persuaded by others.
Jane Austens last completed novel, Persuasion
is a delightful social satire of Englands landed gentry and a moving tale of lovers separated by class distinctions. After years apart, unmarried Anne Elliot, the heroine Jane Austen called “almost too good for me,” encounters the dashing naval officer others persuaded her to reject, as he now courts the rash and younger Louisa Musgrove. Superbly drawn, these characters and those of Annes prideful father, Sir Walter, the scheming Mrs. Clay, and the duplicitous William Elliot, heir to Kellynch Hall, become luminously alive—so much so that the poet Tennyson, visiting historic Lyme Regis, where a pivotal scene occurs, exclaimed: “Dont talk to me of the Duke of Monmouth. Show me the exact spot where Louisa Musgrove fell!”
Tender, almost grave, Persuasion offers a glimpse into Jane Austens own heart while it magnificently displays the full maturity of her literary power.
Introduction by Judith Terry
From the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Though the domain of Jane Austens novels was as circumscribed as her life, her caustic wit and keen observation made her the equal of the greatest novelists in any language. Born the seventh child of the rector of Steventon, Hampshire, on December 16, 1775, she was educated mainly at home. At an early age she began writing sketches and satires of popular novels for her familys entertainment. As a clergymans daughter from a well-connected family, she had an ample opportunity to study the habits of the middle class, the gentry, and the aristocracy. At twenty-one, she began a novel called “The First Impressions” an early version of Pride and Prejudice
. In 1801, on her fathers retirement, the family moved to the fashionable resort of Bath. Two years later she sold the first version of Northanger Abby
to a London publisher, but the first of her novels to appear was Sense and Sensibility
, published at her own expense in 1811. It was followed by Pride and Prejudice
(1813), Mansfield Park
(1814), and Emma
After her father died in 1805, the family first moved to Southampton then to Chawton Cottage in Hampshire. Despite this relative retirement, Jane Austen was still in touch with a wider world, mainly through her brothers; one had become a very rich country gentleman, another a London banker, and two were naval officers. Though her many novels were published anonymously, she had many early and devoted readers, among them the Prince Regent and Sir Walter Scott. In 1816, in declining health, Austen wrote Persuasion and revised Northanger Abby, Her last work, Sandition, was left unfinished at her death on July 18, 1817. She was buried in Winchester Cathedral. Austens identity as an author was announced to the world posthumously by her brother Henry, who supervised the publication of Northanger Abby and Persuasion in 1818.