It was not long after reading ‘Sense and Sensibility’ that ‘Persuasion’ graced my perusal. By far the most compact of Austen’s books, the novel tells the story of Anne, a veritable Cinderella with a grossly superficial family who believe her to be of little importance and zero advantage to their pompous selves. Anne’s father, Sir Walter, loves himself so much I’m surprised he can manage articulate conversation with other humans, and his favoured daughter Elizabeth isn’t much better. We also have Anne’s sister Mary, a moody hypochondriac who lacks empathy toward others of her species and is severely deficit of any maternal instinct.
Anne has to deal with this moronic lot as she is forced to move house, travel to a distant seaside, meet new and old acquaintances, and care for the sick and small, finding love and appreciation en route. An array of characters abound, my particular favourite being Mrs Smith, a friend of Anne’s who not only suffered every hardship that could befall an Austen character, but managed to maintain gaiety and grace in the face of adversity. She stood out from the pages as a beacon of amiability and hope during Anne’s own personal trials, and I loved everything that woman represented.
Our author loves a happy ending, and this one rounded off beautifully with Anne finding her true self, her loving husband and her own place in the world at last. A well-paced, feel-good read.