“The posthumously published “Persuasion” is Austen’s most wintry novel, and Anne Elliot is Austen’s most mature heroine. Having learned all the lessons Austen has to teach – she has overcome pride and prejudice, she has balanced sense and sensibility, and she has the empathy of heart so carefully won by Emma Woodhouse -- the lesson she has to teach us is endurance. Having been persuaded to let true love pass her by, Anne does her best to live life dutifully in the present, not frozen in a backward glance.
Austen’s wonderful ironic voice makes us immediately aware of the humble Anne’s vast superiority over everyone around her; she is like Cinderella or Snow White, and this quality is only enhanced by her magnificently ridiculous father, who dominates the novel like a powdered Evil Queen constantly begging of his mirror, “Who’s the fairest of them all?” The return of Wentworth, her Prince Charming, is a miraculous act of grace and the epistolary climax of their romance is one of the most moving moments in literature. It’s not a “mere” happy ending, but one patiently earned and poignantly deserved.
Lord Manleigh, I have to tell you that your review of "Persuasion", my most favorite book in the English language, is the most elegant, sophisticated, and intelligent summation I've ever encountered. Bravo!