When I saw a dvd of the movie at the library, it reminded me that Persuasion is on my list to reread. It’s been at least thirty years since I last read this classic, but it’s a favorite of mine. The story of Anne Elliot has never left me.
Anne is the youngest daughter of an English baron. Anne’s father is a very vain man with mirrors all over his bedroom. He cares only about appearances and his place in society. Anne’s mother died many years ago, but her godmother, Lady Russell, has been a good friend and adviser to her. Anne has two sisters, but they don’t care about her at all unless they need her to do something for her.
Anne is different from the rest of her family. She has a pleasant and hopeful personality, helps others and quietly lives her life. Her only regret is that she hasn’t married and born children. Eight years ago she was engaged to marry Frederick Wentworth. Her father disapproved of him as he had no standing in society. Anne was persuaded by Lady Russell that they were not a good match. They parted and Wentworth went off to see as a naval officer.
Now things are different. Frederick has returned from the Napoleanic wars a rich man. As Captain Wentworth he is respected and admired by nearly everyone. However, when Anne and Frederick come together Anne realizes he is still angry at her. As the days pass Anne watches as he flirts with other women and considers marriage to one of them.
Persuasion is a lovely character study. Jane Austen certainly knew how to make her characters come alive. There all sorts of interesting characters woven into this story as well as a good number of side stories. There are times when the story gets a tiny bit tedious with too many explanations of minor details, but I just let them go. After all, this is Jane Austen.
The movie I watched was the 20007 one starring Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones. They both did a good job fulfilling my mental image of the characters and the time period. The story in the movie was a little different from the story in the book. I let it go too because the changes fit the drama necessary for a film. I loved the movie’s ending of Anne running back and forth on the streets of Bath which was not a part of the book.
If you have some time during the holidays, read the book and watch the movie. They make a lovely break from all the hustle.
Persuasion was first published in 1817.