Recommendation: Duh (but the BBC adaption is excellent as a substitute)
Where to read: This is great quiet Friday night in / lazy Sunday reading
Read with: Brandy … I guess. Or a good ol’ gin and tonic on the Sunday
In brief: Less iconic than Pride and Prejudice and less commonly taught in English than Emma, it’s still more than worth reading.
Iwill start by pointing out that the 2007 BBC adaption starring Sally Hawkins and Rupert Penry-Jones is marvellous. While I’m not one to suggest substituting a book for a movie, I might just let you get away with it this time.
Persuasion is less sweeping than Pride and Prejudice and less histrionic than Sense and Sensibility but, for my money, it’s both sadder and more romantic.
Briefly, Anne Elliot loved a man when she was younger, got engaged and was then persuaded to break it off because he was poor and about to go and fight a war, the average life expectancy in the Royal Navy not giving much cause for optimism. A decade-ish later he comes back, now rich and respectable, and it turns out they’re still madly in love with each other.
Austen being Austen, Persuasion features the usual cast of absurd aristocrats, bumbling relatives, hysterical mothers and gauche acquaintances lining up to be satirised. And, because we like DRAMA, the cads abound (as, fittingly, do bounders).
There is also the usual dig at unchecked sensibility (see Sense and Sensibility and Northanger Abbey) and the over-consumption of poetry, both of which I appreciate.
Grown up, mature analysis can be found here.