Persuasion is my second Jane Austen novel after the brilliant piece of dry wit, storytelling and writing that is Pride and Prejudice. While I found the writing beautiful ultimately my summation is that the story was far more serious and lacked the degree of wit and humour which provided warmth to Pride and Prejudice. In my eyes it lacked passion and character when compared to the previous work. However this is still a fine example of storytelling and is well crafted. As such I believe it is worthy of being considered as one of Austen’s classics.
The story follows one Anne Elliot and her family in love and -figuratively speaking - ‘war’. Anne once loved a certain Captain Wentworth years ago and was persuaded that because he lacked the money and fame he was an unsuitable match. At the time of the narration he returns with wealth and prestige – a man any woman would have considered worthy. However it appears that he no longer loves Anne and is looking for a far younger, more beautiful woman to be his wife. And so the story continues to unravel as Anne tries to understand which man is truly one she can love and be loved by.
While lacking the passion of Charlotte Bronte in Jane Eyre (I find Austen can be very dry which works when she applies herself to creating sarcasm or wit) the writing is still beautiful and highly descriptive. The novel is so elaborately constructed in fact that if you do not pay attention you could find that you’ve missed some of the poignancy of the detail. For detail appears to be everything in this work of fiction in allowing a full understanding of the story. This is not a story you can drift through or one which you can skip words; it is one which demands every word be meticulously enjoyed. That is part of its allure and part of the beauty of its construction. It is a methodically created work where every word distinguishes itself and proves the power and beauty of the English language in a living vibrant way.
Persuasion is a novel that I must persuade you to read. I fully recommend it, particularly if you are intending to read more Austen after having gone the usual route of Pride and Prejudice. I have admitted that it lacks the wit of Pride and Prejudice but the romance, the craftsmanship and the detail is all still to be found in Persuasion. And I therefore must recommend it.