Persuasion, by Jane Austen (Naxos AudioBooks) Review & Giveaway

Persuasion, Jane Austen’s last completed novel was written between 1815 and 1816, with final chapter revisions in August of that year. Published posthumously in late 1817 with her earlier work Northanger Abbey, each of the novels represents the alpha and omega of her writing career. Even though they are divergent in tone and topic, they each share a commonality in being partially set in Bath and display Austen’s trademark play on social strata, money and courtship. Austen finished the manuscript of Persuasion in declining health which may account for its slim size in comparison to her heftier previous efforts Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1816). Or, quite possibly it is exactly the length that she preferred for her story, allowing for a simpler plot and focus on fewer characters. Its size in no way diminishes it value. Some scholars consider it her finest achievement and readers have long cherished it for its jab at social mobility and moving love story. 

In 1817 Austen wrote to her niece Fanny Austen Knight in her usual ironic manner, “You may perhaps like the heroine, as she is almost too good for me.” At age 27, Anne is not your typical Austen heroine. The middle daughter of Sir Walter Elliot she is from a distinguished family of a landed Baronet. Her vain father takes their aristocratic ancestry and social position very seriously and expects his three daughters to make prominent matches. Quiet, reserved and not as pretty as her father values, Anne is often overlooked and her opinions dismissed by her family; “but Anne…was nobody with either father or sister; her word had no weight; her convenience was always to give way — she was only Anne.”  Eight years prior Anne met and fell in love with a young naval officer Frederick Wentworth. Because he did not match her social and financial status, Anne was persuaded by a well meaning family friend to reject his marriage proposal. Wentworth returned to sea and forgets her. Anne never forgets him and remains unmarried. When he returns eight years later a wealthy and successful naval hero he reenters her social sphere with heightened status. On the other hand, Sir Walter’s extravagant lifestyle has out paced his income to the point of serious debt and the family must retrench, let Kellynch Hall and remove to Bath. As Anne watches the younger ladies of the neighborhood swoon and play for Captain Wentworth’s affections she is painfully aware of her lost bloom of youth, deeply regrets her decision and pensively longs for his favor until a tragic accident at Lyme Regis and events in Bath renew her hopes.  

In yet another brilliant reading of a Jane Austen classic novel, British actress Juliet Stevenson interprets Austen’s poignant story of fidelity and second chances with wry humor and sensitive pathos. Her depth of characterization is remarkable and I am never in doubt that she is relaying Austen’s intension faithfully. Those who have previously read the novel will find new enjoyment in this beautifully produced audiobook and those new to Austen’s masterpiece will be treated to an unabridged eight hours and forty three minutes of pure perfection. Such equal blending of masterful story and artistic integrity is rarely encountered and I highly recommend it. 

5 out of 5 Regency Stars 

Persuasion, by Jane Austen, read by Juliet Stevenson
Naxos AudioBooks, USA (2007)
Unabridged, 7 CD’s, 8h 43m
ISBN: 978-9626344361 

GIVEAWAY CONTEST 

Enter a chance to win one copy of a Naxos AudioBooks recording of Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion by leaving a comment by midnight PST March 2, 2010 stating who your favorite character is in the novel or movie adaptation of Persuasion. Winners will be announced on March 3, 2010. Shipping to continental US addresses only. Good luck!

The giveaway drawing has now concluded and the winner has been announced. Many thanks to all who paticipated. 

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47 thoughts on “Persuasion, by Jane Austen (Naxos AudioBooks) Review & Giveaway

  1. Sigh. Captain Frederick Wentworth. Any man who can write a letter like that…

    But Persuasion is my favorite Austen altogether and I love Anne Elliot–and I think Amanda Root played her to perfection.

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  2. Anne and Captain Wentworth are my favorite characters. They both love the other so much yet are too afraid to admit it because of their past.
    Margay

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  3. This is a tough one for me. The Emma PBS special was my first Austen-experience. I am knee deep in reading Emma, now. I have learned so much from the great twitter parties and blogs i have found as a result! I was glad to hear that the novel Persausion is even better than the PBS film! This is definately my next to read, or, if i am luck, listen to as well :) So far i would guess Anne is my favorite character, there seems to be a lot more to her than meets the eye. I think i would like to read about Mary and Charles, though, what’s up with them? Mary is a bit nuts and Charles wanted to marry Anne??? I hope the novel tells all, i am very curious to read more about that pair!

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  4. (swoon!) Capt. Wentworth! (sigh of delight). Just recently saw the 2007 movie version of Persuasion which I was not really impressed with other than his character – fits my dream Wentworth quite well. :)

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  5. Okay – While Wentworth is truly too lovely to believe – he certainly is an ideal hero and my favorite Jane Austen hero (Darcy who?).

    What about a secondary character – I think Charles Musgrove deserves some attention. He’s a solid stand up guy who at least had enough sense to know what Anne was worth when no one else seems to think so.

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  6. Wentworth – he may have “forgotten” her, but he is able to get past the bitterness and love her again. Be still my heart! He is so deliciously romantic.

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  7. Has to be Anne, long suffering, but regenerated by encountering Wentworth again; thank goodness he was able to work through his resentment and welcome her back in his life.

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  8. Cpt. Frederick Wentworth!!!!!!!!
    ‘You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone forever…’ Sigh.

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  9. As much as I love both Anne & Wentworth, I get much enjoyment out of sister Mary.

    Well one minute, ill the next with a mix of pride and discontentment throughout. I have two movie versions of Persuasion – and I enjoy watching how differently (and yet the same!) the actresses play Mary! Perhaps it’s because I minored in Psych in college…

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  10. My favorite character by far is Mr. Wentworth, especially in the 2007 BBC production played by Rupert Penry-Jones. I just really loved how he played the part. You could see it in his eyes how he was still hurt after all those years. I love the scene with the orchestra where he over hears that Anne and Mr.Elliot are going to be engaged and just storms out! It just was a scene where you think, he still loves her! Wonderful character.

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  11. Persuasion has been my favorite work since I read it, and I haven’t been able to pin down why. I just really enjoy it! I find Anne to be a very sympathetic character. I like Anne and Captain Wentworth the best, but I enjoy the Musgrove sisters because they are so real, so girlish!

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  12. Persuasion is my favorite JA novel and I really like something about each character but Anne Elliot’s quiet manners and intelligence make her my favorite. Followed very closely by Capt. Wentworth! :)

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  13. While I love Captain Wentworth and his letter some of my favorite characters in Persuasion are Admiral and Mrs.Croft. I love the relationship they have; the description of them and their carriage rides is particularly enjoyable. “My dear admiral that post we shall surely take that post!” .

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  14. Oh this is the BEST of giveaways LA! Squeal! This is my favorite story of Jane Austens and it is because the movie adaption of Persuasion with Amanda Root and Ciaran Hinds MOVED me. I had seen Pride and Prejudice but it didn’t have the same effect as this movie did. It was mature love – reunited love and of course the I loved the acting, location, sets and costumes! This is what began my pursuit to the library to check out the book to read my first Austen novel and boy was I in for a shocker! I had a very difficult time reading it because of the language and her style of writing. The sentences went on forever with clauses and sub clauses and sub-sub clauses. ha ha I didn’t give up though and at that time a audio version was available on the internet and when I was able to hear it through my computer speakers, it filled my room with all the accent I needed and it made all the difference mentally to be able to read ALL the novels. My favorite character would have to be Anne herself because so much of it revolves around her and you feel like you are right there with her, experiencing what she shares and feels about Wentworth. Sigh…… it’s just the best! I would absolutely LURVE to win and would APPRECIATE it to the moon and back a hundred times over!

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  15. definitely Anne! no one so good, so perfect! and I LOVE that her patients, kindness, and overall goodness is rewarded in the end!

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  16. It’s a toss up: I love Anne because we know she’s matured as she’s aged from the bits we gleam of what happened during she and Wentworth’s courtship, and that feels real and as a reader one can relate to her coming of age, coming into her own in terms of opinions etc. But Wentworth–he’s steadfast and dependable. And what a letter! I had that letter typed up and on my wall in high school just wishing someone would write me that letter or a letter like it someday! Swoon!

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  17. I really admire Anne’s friend Harriet in the BBC version. So concerned for her friends happiness and perhaps only the one person truly interested, but of course in the novel Wentworth all the way! Like many have already said the letter at the end! Oye!

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  18. Anne, of course!! For her enduring love for Captain Wentworth, no matter how time & circumstances have kept them separated…
    “All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one; you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone.”

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  20. Woot! Woot! Love audiobook give-a-ways! I feel like a kid who is cheating on their book report. I haven’t read the book, but did watch it last weekend on PBS. Anne is without a doubt my favorite character since she follows her own heart in the end. (FINGERS CROSSED- WIN WIN WIN)

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  21. Persuasion is my favorite Jane Austen novel because the characters have suffered great agony in their love for each other, but get a second chance. Frederick Wentworth, with his quiet intensity, is everything noble and good. The fact that he has worked hard to get where he is makes him my favorite Austen hero. And the letter he writes is the icing on the cake!

    Please enter me into your contest, and accept my hearfelt thanks for this website. It’s truly the best online source for all things Austen. I visit often and find something new and interesting each time I do.

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  22. I like Anne. She’s sensible, grounded. Captain Benwick is sweet, too. I love the conversations he has with Anne. I find the rest of the Eliots very entertaining, however. I love Captain Wentworth’s letter.

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  23. I absolutely have always adored Wentworth. To me, having a man love one woman like that, for so long, is amazing and beautiful! Although I’ve enjoyed many of the various film adaptations, I have to say that I really like Rupert Perry-Jones as a hot, hot, HOT Captain Wentworth!

    Thanks for this wonderful giveaway opportunity!

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  24. I would have to say Anne…she may be quiet but alas so are many of my favorite people in the world. I like that she suffers with dignity but gets her reward in the end. I love Wentworth as well…any man who can remain constant is a catch… and to look like Cyrian Hinds to boot…well…guess you can guess my favorite adaptation. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Courtney
    Stiletto Storytime

    My favorite line in that film:
    Anne: “If I may, so long as the woman you love lives, and lives for you, all the privilege I claim for my own sex, and it is not a very enviable one – you need not covet it, is that of loving longest when all hope is gone.”

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  25. My favorite character is Anne. She’s intelligent, feeling, and loyal. She learns one of the most difficult lessons of all–trust your instinct. The runner-up would be Mrs. Croft, who’s simply wonderful. It’s fun to imagine Anne’s relationship with her sister-in-law after the marriage.

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