Top critical review
Not Jane Austen's best
on 21 December 2015
When I first read Persuasion many years ago, I liked it, but not as much as many others have. So I thought I'd try it again, fully expecting to change my original opinion. Well, maybe I've become cynical with age, but this time round, I really didn't enjoy the novel. I found Anne Elliot so anodyne - good, sweet, patient, unselfish - as to be unreal. By half-way through, I wanted to give her a good smack. I can't believe I'm writing this, but compared to Emma and Elizabeth Bennett - both feisty, energetic, flawed Jane Austen heroines - Anne fades into utter insigificance, sandwiched between her two very selfish sister like Cinderella. I have been a life-long lover of Jane Austen's novels, but, as before, I was really disappointed in this one. Maybe it's me, but I like my heroines to be a bit more human.
Of course, the love story between her and her Captain Wentworth has its ups and downs, and the arrogant Sir Walter Elliot - her father - is certainly an entertaining character, as are other less likeable characters. However, by the end of the novel, I was actually becoming a little bored (another thing I never thought I'd say about a Jane Austen novel). One thing that didin't help was that there are two characters named Charles, which can be confusing. But that's a minor niggle. Altogether, for me, not a patch on some of her other novels (albeit beautifully written, as ever). But I fear that few would agree with me.