Thursday, July 29, 2004

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Eight years had passed for Ann Eliot since she fell in love with a certain Captain Frederick Wentworth. Eight years since accepting his proposal and then breaking off the engagement. But eight years had not diminished her love for said Captain. Now she is a woman of 27, past her bloom of youth, her beauty fading, her father's wealth diminishing. He, a successful naval captain, a war hero, has made his fortune of 25,000 pounds while at sea, still as handsome as ever, still as well-spoken and amiable, all that is witty and intelligent, and secretly harboring an anger towards Anne while still nursing his broken heart.

With his return from the war and in a strange twist of fate, Anne and the Captain are thrown together. He is determined to get her out of his heart even as he discovers how sweet, patient, unselfish, and kind she is, and exactly why he fell in love with her all those years ago. But he remains stubborn, his pride and anger forcing him to distance himself from Anne. And Anne in her despair and agony remains silent.

While Austen has not lost her touch in her final book, her view is more mature. The irony is as strong as ever, and some characters remain as ridiculous. But the heroine is older and more mature, with a better sense of the world, less naivete and much more experience. Eileen Y.

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