Persuasion was the last novel Jane Austen completed before her death. It is both bittersweet and heartwarming.
For the uninitiated, Persuasion is the story of Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth. Eight years before the novel begins, Anne and Frederick were ready to marry. But Anne’s family and in particular her father, a snobbish and spendthrift baronet believes that a sailor is a poor choice of husband for a young lady like Anne. Anne reluctantly breaks off the engagement. Eight years later, Frederick, now a respected and admired Captain in the Navy is both wealthy and eligible. Anne’s father and sister have nearly bankrupted the family. They meet again in the home of Anne’s brother in law after Frederick’s sister and brother in law rent Anne’s childhood home.
Will Anne and Frederick be able to move on or will their past choices linger?
Persuasion is for me, not just one of my favorite classic novels, it is one of the best novels of all time. The best novels have a quality that rings true regardless of the era that it was written in or the era that the reader is reading it in. Persuasion is about second chances, letting go of the past and forgiving mistakes.
My favorite moment in the adaptations is when Anne and Frederick meet again after eight years. The camera zooms on both of their faces. They try to appear as composed as possible, but the audience, especially the audience who has read the book knows better. That is the oh f*ck moment in Persuasion.
Sometimes in life, we make a decision. We don’t know the outcome of that decision, nor do we know if we decide to turn it down, if it will come around again. We can only hope that we made the right decision.
In the end (spoiler alert), Anne and Frederick have their happy ending. But their journey is not without it’s hiccups.
The truth is that life is full of ups and downs, and what ifs. But whatever happens, we can only move forward and hope for the best.