Sunday, April 26, 2015

SPIN substitute - Persuasion by Jane Austen

Since I refused to read that horrible book about the Dumb Blonde who does nothing but gossip all day, it occurred to me that perhaps I could read another novel by Jane Austen.

Up until this Spin challenge began, the only Jane Austen Book I was familiar with, was of course Pride and Prejudice.

Now I am familiar with 3 of Jane Austens Books. P&P, Emma and the novel I WAS able to read.

Title - Persuasion
Author - Jane Austen
Published - 1818

THIS Book I fell in love with.

I now claim Persuasion to be MY most favourite Jane Austen Novel!!!

There are several reasons why I LOVED this book.

1 - It only has 24 chapters compared to 55 of the Dumb Blonde Book.

2 - It was set in Somersetshire and I have ancestors from Somersetshire, although they were NOT from Bath.

3 - It started off in Chapter 1 with the Elliot family genealogy and I LOVE genealogy!!

4 - Anne is the middle of three daughters. So am I!!

5 - Anne loves to read. So do I!!

6 - Anne did not get on at with her older sister, but did get on reasonably well with her younger sister. The same for me. My older sister and I never got on at all. My younger sister and I get on very well indeed.

7 - This novel involves Officers from the Royal Navy, and takes place a few years after the end of the Napoleonic Wars. (Persuasion is set in 1814). I have always loved the sea and the many Navies that fought battles upon the waves. I also love reading and learning about the Age of Exploration!!

8 - Like Anne, I too was persuaded to not follow a dream of mine (education rather than marriage). This is a decision I have not been able to rectify and which I still regret.

9 - Anne married late. Well, it was late for the Regency era anyway. She was 27 when she became engaged to Captain Wentworth. I too married late, I was 35 when I met him, and 36 when I got married. 

10 - In this novel Anne gets to travel. While she does not travel to London, she does travel from her home near Crewkerne in Somersetshire to Lyme Regis and to Bath. I don't think anyone from the other novels get to travel much. Certainly not Emma.

Lyme Regis is famous for dinosaur skeletons and Mary Anning who discovered them. Oh, but in 1814, Mary Anning is still just a teenager. If you know the riddle - She sells sea shells on the sea shore - this riddle is believed to refer to Mary Anning.

I have travelled and lived in 3 countries in my lifetime. New Zealand, Solomon Islands and Canada.

Frederick Wentworth has travelled all over the Mediterranean during the course of the Napoleonic wars.

There are of course plenty of differences between myself and Anne as well.

Anne's mother died when she was a child. Both of my parents are still alive - although my mother is currently ill with cancer.

Anne's older sister never married. Both of my sisters married in their twenties. I did not get married until I was 36 years old.

Both of Anne's sisters are still alive in this novel, although the oldest sister does not have a very large part to play. My older sister passed away more than 20 years ago. She left behind 3 young children. Those children are now well adjusted and happy young adults in their 20's. None of them married yet, although one is living with a partner.


That's enough, lets get on with it... (quote by Rolf Harris)

Eight years before the novel opens, Anne Elliot was persuaded by her godmother to NOT marry a young officer in the Royal Navy because he had no money and no prospects.

Anne deeply regrets making that decision but has not seen the young man since.

In the meantime, her father, Sir Walter Elliot, a Baron, has been living above his means and is now in debt. He is forced to leave his home and move to a smaller house in Bath and let out the family home of Kellynch Hall.

The new tenants turn out to be Admiral and Mrs Croft. Mrs Croft's brother is the young man whom Anne rejected. Only a very few people are aware that they did have plans to marry. Anne is terrified of meeting him.

Anne's younger sister Mary demands that Anne go and live with her instead of moving to Bath and Anne agrees. Because Mary still lives just three miles away from Kellynch Hall, there was always the chance that she and the now Captain Frederick Wentworth would eventually meet, which they do. By now the Captain has made a lot of money from the wars. It is rumoured that he now has 25,000 pounds, which is QUITE the fortune!!! 

 It is clear that Captain Wentworth has not forgiven Anne for her actions. He flirts with Mary's two young sisters in law - Louisa and Henrietta Musgrove.

Someone suggests a ride to Lyme Regis. so they all bundle up and make the 4 hour trek to Lyme.

Lyme Regis has this huge harbour wall called The Cobb. It is wide enough to easily walk 3 abreast. It has stairs along it every few hundred feet, leading down to the Lower Cobb (or lower wall).

Louisa Musgrove, being the teenager she is, jumps off the steps and into Frederick's arms. She runs back up the stairs to do that again. But Frederick gets distracted and there is noone to catch Louisa when she jumps the second time. She hits the ground and hits her head.

Henrietta and Mary both start screaming in panic thinking Louisa is dead.  Frederick doesn't know what to do either. Anne demands that Frederick's friend Benwick be sent to find a surgeon (doctor),  since he has lived in Lyme and would know where to find one.

Anne and Henrietta return home while Mary and Charles - Louisa's older brother and his wife - remain in Lyme.

Louisa ends up remaining in Lyme for a month during her recovery. Wentworth disappears to Shropshire to visit his brother. Noone notices his friend James Benwick who stays behind and visits Louisa every day.

Anne is eventually persuaded to visit Bath with her godmother Lady Russell. While in Bath, some distant cousins of Mr Elliot, the Dalrymples, who are slightly higher than Mr Elliot on the Nobility rankings, also visit Bath and Mr Elliot schemes to obtain an audience.

Around this time, the news is spread that Louisa has fully recovered and is now engaged to be married to James Benwick, the friend of Frederick Wentworth, Anne is thrilled to hear this news because she had thought that Louisa was rather overly friendly with Frederick in Lyme and that perhaps they would become engaged.

At the same time, another cousin of the Elliots, William Elliot, who is the heir to Mr Elliot, is making a play for Anne, in order to not only obtain the Baronet title, but also what little money there is left.  He starts a rumour that he and Anne are engaged. This has Frederick rushing to Bath to find out for himself. He has never stopped loving Anne. He eventually sends Anne a letter.

Tell me that it is not too late.

Anne runs after Frederick and when he proposes again, she accepts and tells him that this time she will NOT be persuaded to change her mind.


Jane Austen died in July 1817. Persuasion was published in December 1817, although the publisher placed the official date of 1818 on the book instead. 

This is another typical love story from Jane Austen. But this time while Anne's sister Mary was the one doing the whining, and everyone did the gossiping, Anne is portrayed the sensible one. Which is why I like her so much. In Lyme, while everyone was panicking over Louisa, Anne knew what to do. This is why Frederick notices her again.

At one point Anne described what she considered to be good company.

My idea of good company, is the company of well-informed people who have a great deal of conversation. 

I whole-heartedly agree. Well, about the well-informed people anyway. I do love a good intelligent conversation. I detest gossip.

1 comment:

  1. Hello! I like your review too. Oh that letter! <3