Monday, 19 September 2011

A Response to Persuasion

Rachel suggested a read along of Persuasion. After having read the final word I felt compelled to write her a letter, and I shall use this as my first post, of possibly many, regarding Persuasion.

Dear Dear Rachel,

Oh thank you for suggesting a Persuasion read along. I've just finished it and felt compelled to write my thoughts down in a letter to you. I write this on the train to work on my first morning of term at 7.30am.
Persuasion has thrilled, delighted, touched, inspired and moved me. This read along will stay with me forever. I didn't want the story to end. I wanted it to all be about Anne and Wentworth and became impatient to return to their story.
I first read Persuasion as a gift from Warmth, within the first year of being together. I think I must have been so caught up with being in a strong relationship that I missed so much of the story and emotions.
Now I read. I remember. I reflect. I am so pleased to have fallen in love with Anne and Wentworth now. Whilst waiting for my ship to sail in, in the middle of 'a little fever of admiration', with a troubled heart, I would have read and re read . Whilst waiting for the 'phone to ring or when it was dawning that another small relationship coming to an end. "Should I have been different? If I had changed my ways would the 'we' of that moment succeeded?" Maybe Anne would have encouraged me to not doubt being the constant 'me' that makes up Rachel.
Jane Austen writes so knowingly about the thrill and turmoil of attraction. Yes it is like 'a thousand feelings rushed on Anne.' Reflections on having met up with a previous boyfriend ring true 'she smiled over the many anxious feelings she had wasted on the subject.' When Mr Elliott notices Anne as she's out walking, and how Wentworth notices Anne is noticed and Anne notices Wentworth notices she's noticed. The cheeky joy and expectation that such occasions would bring.
The sensation when you can sense that something is changing, perhaps the attraction is mutual? 'All the over-powering, blinding, bewildering, first effects of strong surprise were over with her. Still, however, she had enough to feel! It was agitation, pain, pleasure, a something between delight and misery.'
Reading about the concert in the octogon room was also delight and misery for me. The guilt of rearranging meeting a dear friend for the hope of meeting that someone. Oh how well I recognised trying to catch a glimmer of a glance 'It seemed as if she had been one moment too late; and as long as she dared observe, he did not look again.' Or the anxiety of being seen speaking to someone else.
Oh That Letter that leads to these final emotions.

'and grew steadfast and fearless, in the thankfulness of her enjoyment... and always the knowledge of his being there!'

So now, just incase you hadn't guessed, if asked for my favourite Austen I shall now whole heartedly, with immense pride and without any persuasion say 'Yes - Persuasion.'

Thank you. I spend today in the glow of Anne and Wentworth thanking God for Warmth and praying for your Wentworth.

With love to you,

Rachel Anne (yes I share her middle name.)


  1. Beautiful! I really must reread Persuasion...

  2. What a lovely way of reviewing and reflecting on the book. It was my first Austen read, and I was hooked quite quickly.

    Those glances can me so much even to me now in the 21st century!

  3. JoAnn - oh do reread it. Fast track it to the top of your tbr pile.
    Jo - How lovely to hear from you. Off to read your thoughts about Persuasion.

  4. You know I've had Persuasion in my stack forever now and I still haven't read it, but this convinces me to get started!!

  5. What a beautiful letter, Rachel, thank you! Persuasion really is a book that touches the soul...any of us who have had to wait, who have longed and yearned, will identify with Anne. Austen writes it all so well...I can't help but think she had a Captain Wentworth of her own.

    Here's hoping mine shows up soon!

  6. HipHip Oh you must especially as you've just been visiting.
    Bookssnob Yes I too thought she must have had her own Wentworth to describe so perfectly the turmoil of emotions involved in waiting.

  7. Such a beautiful and original review or Persuasion. It has been wonderful reading this book and joining this read-a-long. We really should do more of this. Hmm, what other beautiful classics are waiting to be discovered and rediscovered?

  8. Mrs. B. I so enjoyed reading your review as well. It has been a very special read along. Hmm yes what else to rediscover? It's the 200th anniversary of Dickens' birth in February...


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