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Words of a Bibliophile

"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees

Persuasion - Susan Ostrov Weisser, Jane Austen Anne Elliot is a quiet, tender girl who is largely ignored by her nobility-obsessed family: a vain and dandy father, Sir Walter; a cold older sister, Elizabeth; and a whiny younger sister Mary. Eight years ago Anne was persuaded by an old family friend to break an engagement with outgoing naval officer Captain Frederick Wentworth, though her feelings remain unchanged. When chance threw the two into each other's paths once again, are they strong enough to withstand outside influences and overcome painful memories in order to be together?


The renewal of Anne and Captain Wentworth's relationship comprised mainly of awkward meetings, stolen glances and restrained exchanges, of "smiles reined in and spirits dancing in private rapture" (Ch. 23). We are led to delve into the quiet agitation of Anne's heart whenever she is in her ex-fiance's company; and though there is no similar passage into Wentworth's mind, his actions increasingly indicate that he is, after all, still in love with her as well. Throughout the course of the novel I can't help wishing for their luck, rooting for them to be a couple again.

Earlier in life Anne had made the mistake of following the advice of Lady Russell, who is almost like a mother to her, to cancel her engagement on account of Wentworth's lower financial and social position--although he later returned as a wealthy and successful Navyman. One of my disappointments with this novel is that I was always waiting for Anne to stand up to Lady Russell and tell her she's going to do what her heart knows is right, but somehow it never happened.

Another minus point for me is that I kind of expected an apology from Anne for rejecting Wentworth eight years before, because she at least owed him that. I was waiting for her to express something in the lines of "I'm sorry. I still love you". But then again I was thinking with my modern mind and should've taken into account the norms of society of that era and Anne's own character: the reserved lady of 19th century England upper-class couldn't possibly say something like that, couldn't she?