Persuasion follows Anne Elliot, the second daughter of conceited baron, and the less beautiful daughter. It follows her life in the usual Austen style of dealing with her family as a socially over-concious body and her own personal life, with the usual period emphasis on her getting married or at least finding potential suitors.
Despite that rather vague and perhaps dull little analogy, I adored this book. For me, it was so very much like Pride and Prejudice in terms of Anne and Elizabeth being similar and the story itself even sharing some similarities. Now these comparisons are very general and it is definitely not the same story, but as a general feeling for the book, it is so much like Austen's most famous novel that I think any fans of that book could feel safe to pick up this one and enjoy it.
In contrast to Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion is probably darker. It isn't really a dark book, but some parts suggest a more cultured character who sees the poverty and suffering around her- at least more than I remember Elizabeth doing- and someone who is more directly affected by evil times and nefarious people.
It's a little predictable at times. Perhaps it's a familiarity with Austen's novels, or perhaps it was me comparing it to Pride and Prejudice, but whatever it happened to be, it made the book less of a surprise but nonetheless enjoyable. Frankly, I read Austen's books because I love how she writes and how she can so aptly draw me into a story which on the outside would, to me, perhaps seem superficial and not work minutes, let alone hours, of my time. But Austen succeeds in crafting masterpieces that I love reading.
And more so than the other books I've read, I think one can see the influence and reason for the title of this book. Persuasion is a central feature in this book from early on and it is through persuasion, coercion, subtlety and even deception that the main characters work and the consequence of these actions have a number of reprecussions throughout the entire book.
Another interesting theme in the book is that of the Navy. They feature as the primary source of love interests for the characters, and the scorn of those characters Austen designates as distasteful, but not antagonists. Reading up on it, it transpires that Austen's brothers were of the Navy themselves and so it for that reason that she included and made such an exploration of them here.
Despite my perhaps rambly yet short review, I do believe that this is a quite excellent Austen novel and is one that anyone who start with Pride and Prejudice should definitely check out! (At least for the sake of discussing with me, since I could be under a self-imposed illusion!)