Sense and Sensibility - and I disliked it! So, it took me quite long to have a heart to take another. And following Ruth's suggestion, I finally picked Persuasion. Now I'm glad I've done it. Though still not my favorite, I can at least say I've finally found an Austen to like, LOL!
I have read the book many months ago, so I won't go into much detail now (which I've forgotten anyway). The main theme is love and marriage, and of course, the unwise act of persuasion in delicate matters, such as love and marriage. Our heroine, Anne Elliot, was engaged to a Captain Wentworth when she was 19 years old. However, her pretentious family saw it as unsuitable, as Wentworth did not fit, socially and financially, to the Elliots. Lady Russel, an aunt, who acted as a mother (who died earlier), and was very attached to Anne, persuaded Anne to broke the engagement, which she complied, despite of the couple's love for each other.
Seven years later, Anne was much more matured, and regretted that she ever complied with Lady Russel's persuasion against marrying a man she truly loved. Since the break up, Anne never found another man equal to her refined mind and principle. She also noticed how shallow, pretentious, and hypocritical the society she lived in, that she often felt out of place. Being an intelligent and introverted woman in 19th century, I can imagine how difficult it was to find a companion with whom she could have a fulfilling relationship. With the women, she would find them shallow; with the men, why, she couldn't be too free to avoid causing unnecessary rumors, and most of them didn't like to talk with "too intelligent" woman anyway. I can relate to Anne very well, as I, too, often experience similar condition, though not as acutely as Anne's.
This (seemingly) simple story opens layer upon layer of how complicated the 19th century society have treated marriage. Why two young people who loved each other could not decide their own faith, always perplex me. It seems that people were sure they knew what make others' happy, and felt obliged to decide and act upon it by themselves. What a nuisance!
Persuasion gives us a glimpse of this, so well crafted by Jane Austen. Anne Elliot is the embodiment of how a woman could be strong without being rebellious. She persevered in her love for Captain Wentworth, but at the same time she also regulated her action so as not hurting others' feeling - letting them learn their own mistakes. She fought (bad) persuasion by giving (good) example. There must have been many girls at that time who felt grateful with Austen's powerful lesson!
My rate: 4/5