I have a confession. I always wanted my own Mr Darcy, and I pretty much have one – minus the riding pants, knee high boots and fancy shirts. The love affair of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett will no doubt remain one of literature’s greatest, for…well, forever. It is for this reason that I think I set my expectations for Persuasion, too high.
Anne Elliot is the much downtrodden middle daughter of Sir Walter Elliot. Sir Walter is as blue blooded as they come and no one but the best may be afforded the privilege of associating with his family. After the death of his wife, he is assisted in the raising of the three girls by his neighbour and friend, Lady Russell. When a young man of small means proposes to Anne when she is at the prime of her youth, Lady Russell persuades Anne that it would not be wise to marry him. The impressionable Anne takes the advice of her friend and breaks off the already promised engagement. As fate would have it, Anne crosses paths her spurned lover many years later, causing almost forgotten feelings to resurface
On the whole I enjoyed the book. I probably wouldn’t read it again in a hurry, but I would probably watch a film adaptation of it – a good alternative to watching Pride & Prejudice on a Saturday when you’re home alone with a bottle of wine and a bowl of pasta. What bothered me most about the book was the main character, Anne Elliot. Mind you, it’s not her fault. I was expecting a strong female lead like Elizabeth Bennett, and instead I had a woman who is taken for granted, pushed around by her family and the one friend that she has can convince her not to marry someone who makes her happy. All the way through the book I just felt irritated by her and just wanted her to stand up for herself and say what was on her mind. One thing I did love? A certain love letter that makes an appearance towards the end of the book. It’s all very Darcy.
Long story short, if you love Austen, you’ll appreciate this book. But if you admire the strong will of Elizabeth Bennett, don’t start reading this book with her in mind.