I ripped through Jane Austen’s Persuasion. I have only read one or two of her books but the Gutenberg Project is making it easy to cut down excuses and get to those books I’ve been meaning to read for years. It is the usual thing. That our protagonist, Miss Anne Elliott is passed her mid-twenties and she’s yet to find someone who will agree to provide her food and shelter for the rest of her life – a husband. Because she’s a rather romantic sort she also imagines that she has options – that she ought to be able to choose someone who’s “compatible” with her. Unfortunately compatibility is no guarantee of food and shelter. She has to choose and then again and then at last, providence blesses her….Well, I won’t spoil the fairy tale ending. What’s amazing about the book is Austen’s ability to make that tired old tale feel vibrant. I really do worry if Mr. Wentworth has forgotten about their idyllic courtship. I cannot decide who is sillier: Mary or her husband for putting up with her. Then, Austen’s poise is at its peak when she describes a tragic incident. You really do feel the anguish, the anticipation, the hope, the helplessness that all the characters experience as they go through it. But as I said there’s a fairy tale ending. All’s well that ends well.
I love Anne’s patient, obliging spirit. She’s an ideal heroine. She’s someone you’d want to talk to. I wonder how of herself Austen put into Anne, who I imagine as a rather modest person with a radiance about her despite her modesty.
Happy book munching!
*mouse over photo for the other image to appear.