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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 11 September 2014
At 19, Anne Elliot accepted Frederick Wentworth's proposal of marriage. Although a capable and ambitious naval officer, Wentworth had little money and no connections with an important family and Anne's family and friends persuaded her to reject him. Not only Sir Walter, Anne's snobbish father and her older sister, Elizabeth, disapproved of the match but also Anne's respected friend and mentor, Lady Russell, who was trying to give Anne the care that her deceased mother might have done. However, at 27, Anne has not found a more suitable husband and she is in danger of becoming too old to attract one.
Anne meets Wentworth again when Sir Walter is forced by financial mistakes to let out his beloved house, Kellynch. The tenants turn out to be Mr and Mrs Croft - and Mrs Croft is Frederick's sister.
Anne and her family move to Bath, where she is repelled by the superficiality of their social life. Wentworth has become a captain and is quite wealthy from his share in the spoil of sea victories over France in the Napoleonic wars. She finds that, had she followed her heart, he would have proved a very eligible and suitable husband. She has sacrificed her happiness and his good opinion for nothing. Still bitter against her, Wentworth openly declares that he is looking for a wife and subtly makes it plain that he won't be considering Anne Elliot. Fortunately, Anne has another admirer and Wentworth is forced to face the fact that he is jealous...
Jane Austen exposes the kind of pressure and inappropriate persuasion society placed on young women at that time. Austen had a much-loved niece and came to regret deeply that she had advised her not to enter into the same kind of protracted engagement as Frederick and Anne had planned. Polite society thought it better to remain in the marriage market and, for material advantage, sell oneself to a man without love or any depth of respect for him. All this was regarded as merely practical and a way of ensuring that lovers did not give way to sexual temptation, since sex outside marriage and - heaven forbid - a consequent pregnancy was disastrous for a woman (though less so for a man).
There's plenty of satire and social comment in this book, as well as excellent psychological insight and wise observations about human nature.
Captain Wentworth and other naval officers have become the 'nouveau riche' and the snobbish landed gentry are forced to accept them and often to acknowledge their greater success and wealth. Society is changing, something of which Jane Austen seems to approve. She was a witty and intellectual woman and she gives Anne Elliot similar intellectual qualities and sensitivities to her own. She remained unmarried and perhaps Anne's late romance was what she wished for herself. Sadly for Jane, she was already unwell when she wrote this book and two years later (at only 41) she was dead.
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on 9 July 2014
That's how "Persuasion" is usually defined, which is one of two posthumous novels of Jane Austen. The environments and situations are always the usual ones, which are also found in the other five books, but the maturity factor (let's call it like that) makes it different from the other works of this great author.
First of all I must say that I've read the book while listening to the audiobook. It was an enjoyable and instructive experience, thanks to the skill of the reader (I've downloaded the audiobook from LibriVox.org). Listen to an audiobook in English with a text in front helps to better savour the words and improve your pronunciation.
Beyond that, I was greatly impressed by the novel where all the characters really are so well defined as to have the impression of having them before your eyes. The love story of the main character remains in the background for most of the book, while a series of events is shown, filtered by the impact that these have on Anne. Her character is a docile at first, but as the story takes hold one realizes how she has learned through experience, given by the maturity , to get by in the most diverse situations without doing harm to no one and without exposing herself too much to others.
The narrative is divided between long dialogues and long tales of past and present events. In some passages I admit that I would rather know the exact words of the characters, rather than the summary of the author, but she seems to want to focus only on certain aspects of the story.
In this sense, the end is almost precipitous, but the twist that precedes it is spectacular, especially if you consider that you know from the beginning that there can be only one conclusion. Nevertheless, I was open-mouthed in front of the manner in which the author has decided to play her cards and this is where you see the maturity of Austen, no longer a young girl, but a woman who looks at the world with eyes that are a little less carefree than ever before.

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli, author of Red Desert - Point of No Return
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on 21 January 2014
This is a strong contender for my favourite novel of all time! An absolute classic that I could happily read again and again.

For me, this is the most romantic of all Jane Austen's novels and Anne Elliott is my favourite Austen heroine. Not as beautiful or as witty as Elizabeth Bennett or Emma Woodhouse but a quiet pillar of strength and graciousness despite her ungrateful family. A good role model for young women!

I was delighted to see the Kindle edition availble to download for free. It could really encourage more people to read the classics.

I LOVED Persuasion and couldn't recommend it highly enough!
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on 3 February 2016
Persuasion, seems to me, to be Jane Austen's saddest novel. The story features sensible, more mature, heroine, Anne Elliott, who when 19 was engaged to Captain Wentworth. She is then persuaded by her friend/guardian Lady Russell, that this is not a match which is worthy of her and calls of the engagement. Eight years later she is still regretting it, and still very much in love with Captain Wentworth, when he arrives on the scene again (now an eminently worthy match, having made money through the possibly dubious means of privateering in the Navy). The sadness comes from Anne's utter regret at her calling off the engagement, knowing that she would have been happy with Wentworth and the realisation that she cannot be happy with anyone else.

Anne is so self-effacing and such a wonderful heroine - she realises her mistakes and doesn't expect for a moment that the now wealthy Captain could have spent the last eight years thinking about her as she has done about him. The resolution to this wonderful love story, when it comes, is just beautiful.

This is also a really interesting book for both Austen scholars and 18th century scholars generally. Austen's own brothers were in the navy and these depictions of a fine class of men during this period (and this still applies in current times) is very entertaining and insightful to read. Being a student of the works of Charlotte Smith, I particularly liked the character "Mrs Smith" who bore an uncanny resemblance to Charlotte, right down to her feckless husband, her troubles with estates in the West Indies and her lack of champions in the "honourable men" who surrounded her. Austen was a fan of Smith's work and was influenced by her, so it's entirely possible that Charlotte Smith has made it into one of Austen's works.

Highly recommend this book - it's not hard to read and it's a wonderful classic love story.
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on 9 April 2015
This is a satisfying love story set in the west country of England in the early part of the 19th century. It involves an extended family and their friends from the upper echelons of society. We follow downtrodden but resolute heroine Anne through her trials and tribulations and in the process encounter a variety of skilfully drawn and convincing characters, albeit without straying far from the original narrow class. As expected, the reader gains insight into the distinct roles of men and women of the time and how they led their lives.

I enjoyed this book but could not give it five stars because of some misgivings concerning style and technique. Austen occasionally writes extremely long and convoluted sentences during which the modern reader can easily get lost. If you misread something, you can reach the end of the sentence and realise that it has not made sense. It also sometimes does not make sense purely because of the tortuous grammatical structure that she employs. This, of course, interrupts the flow of the narrative and you are obliged to go back to the beginning of the sentence and try again, more slowly this time.

The author also makes too much use of the personal pronoun and often the reader does not know which of the characters present is meant by "she". This is irritating and trips the reader up.

Extraordinarily, four of the characters are called Charles! News flash, Ms Austen - this is fiction. You can choose any names you like. If you want to help your readers, give all the characters different names, ideally starting each name with a different letter of the alphabet.

The quality of the eBook is high. I could find no proof-reading errors (although sometimes it was hard to tell, due to Austen's typically unusual, but delightful, vocabulary). From that point of view, "Persuasion" is the best free eBook I have come across.
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This is one of Austen's more serious novels. Unlike P&P and Emma (which fall on the chick lit/romcom side), this novel is less comedy and more thought provoking.

The heroine is older (27) and there's no sought after eligible Mr Darcy here to save her or her sisters from a Mr Wickham type. In this novel, the heroine, Anne Elliot was in love with a man considered unworthy of her affections and thus rejected when she was only 19. However, now a self-made man, Captain Wentworth has returned to the scene and we explore a woman's position in society, her love for a man and the difficulties of relationships and all that it entails.

Synopsis:
Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen's most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne's family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work
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VINE VOICEon 31 July 2013
As a maiden youth, good, quiet Anne was persuaded by her betters to break off her engagement with the dashing Captain Wentworth because of his uncertain prospects and lowly status. Eight years later their paths cross again. Will their awkwardness give way to renewed romance? Obviously.

This is my third Austen (after S&S and Emma) and favourite so far. There is never the slightest doubt about the outcome, but the journey remains endlessly interesting. The writing is muscular and purposeful, leaner than it looks, in that everything is of use. In amongst the comedy of manners and the deft character portraits there is serious chewing over of how much one should be guided by one's own impulses, and how much submit to the judgements of others, who may be equally fallible. There is also, by the by, a quiet appreciation of the rigours of naval life at the time. Indeed, this is a novel big on duty. But withal, the core experience for the reader is of sustained emotional tension, which, given that almost nothing actually happens, is a pretty neat trick.

Of course, it's lucky Austen wrote when she did, as the modern version of the tale would have Wentworth asking Anne out for a drink and in for a coffee, and that would be that! Her testaments of life and thought when relationships had to be negotiated to their conclusion without a word spoken are like treasure chests buried two centuries ago: you dig them up, fling back the lid, and a brimming hoard of insights and sensations spills out at your feet.
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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.
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on 25 November 2013
Maybe not as complex a story as some of Austen's other novels, however it appeals to me more as an adult reading it as a teenager. I had read it quickly then and not particularly wanted to back to it in the way that Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility drew me back for second readings. But it was mentioned to me recently and I thought to give it another chance. That people make mistakes and can sometimes get a second chance is something we perhaps appreciate more as we get older and see life in less of a black and white way.
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on 12 April 2014
This novel is the ultimate of this era of British classics. Ann is resigned to life as a single older woman as she hasn't married off in the given time period. But she has loved, loved deeply. After a number of years Captain Wentworth returns to the are and Ann finds herself in the same group of people by circumstance. The relationship that initially appears to be of hatred from Captain Wentworth ebbs and flows intertwined with resentment, hurt, passion and longing. Beautiful writing and beautiful reading.
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