Miss Anne Elliott is the oft ignored daughter at Kellynch Hall. As a young woman, she is courted by a young sailor named Wentworth, but is persuaded to turn him away by a well-meaning family friend, her father and snobby older sister, Elizabeth. They feel that the up-and-coming naval officer lacks the proper place in society to be a suitable match for Anne. The decision has always left her wondering if she did the right thing.
Several years pass, and Sir Walter, Anne's father, finds himself in the awkward position of having squandered away much of his riches. While still well enough off to manage, he and Elizabeth have decided they must rent out their beloved home, Kellynch Hall, in order to survive financially.
Of course, Anne as usual has no say in the matter. She can either be dragged along to the city of Bath with her father and sister, or go to visit her other sister, Mary and her family. The second option appeals to her more, and she manages it by convincing Walter and Elizabeth that she can be of most use to everyone by caring for the ever-moaning Mary's stream of imagined illnesses and problems. But who should she be thrown into social circles with once arrived, but the same Wentworth, now a Captain! The reserved Miss Anne will have her work cut out for her as she tries to manage the awkwardness of meeting him again!
Those who have read Jane Austen's other works will surely recognize the same tone to her story line, and can immediately realize her disdain for "high society" of her day and the way those with money and power ostracized the "have-nots". Sir Walter and Elizabeth are perfect examples of all that Austen stood against in this regard. She pokes fun at their old-fashioned biases with tongue-in-cheek comments and descriptions. It's sure to bring a smile to your face as you read!
The novel has all the elements an eager reader could desire. There is drama, suspense and romance as we look in on the relationships going on in the story. There is not only the main plot of Anne and Frederick Wentworth, but also various subplots. For example, Mary's in-laws, the Musgroves, have two daughters of their own, each of whom have met eligible bachelors themselves!
There is plenty of intrigue and plotting as well. Meet Mrs. Clay, a friend of Elizabeth's who is more than what she seems, and Anne's cousin, William Elliott, once estranged from the family hearth for crying out against titles and money, but now suddenly back on the scene, trying to schmooze his way into Sir Walter's good graces -- but why? Austen weaves these elements into the tale with the skill of a true storyteller.
Austen also makes a statement about the plight of women in her day. Anne, like many women (including Jane herself) had very few options and opportunities. The few choices a woman may have had were heavily influenced by the men in her life, perhaps a father, brother, or husband. Novels like this prove that intelligent women had something to say about their circumstances, as much then as now!
There's nothing like revisiting some of the older classic novels now and again. The rich language, the literary skill of the writers we have enjoyed for years . . . writing that has stood the test of time. Jane Austen completed Persuasion in 1816, but was not published until a year after her death in 1817 at the age of 41. Nearly 200 years later, worldwide audiences are still enjoying her excellent work.