I have been doing a lot of running lately in preparation for a half-marathon that I’ll be running with my dear cousin Eden next weekend. Spending hours on the pavement has left me apathetic towards my iPod selection, but I’ve recently made a discovery that is helping to get me out of bed in the wee hours of the morning and to put on my proverbial Asics: audio books. I found a great website that allowed me to download a book into iTunes, working much like a podcast. And all of this for free! (Just don’t ask me for the web address. I can’t seem to find it again anywhere.)
I chose the book Persuasion because it was on my list, because it is in the public domain (and thus free), and because it sounded fun that day. Never have my miles flown by so quickly! I finished the book after my run this morning and can’t wait to download the next book. (If only I can find that address…)
Persuasion is the story of love found, love lost, love found, love lost, love…well, you get the picture. At a young age Ann Elliot falls in love with the handsome and dashing Frederick Wentworth, an unproven sailor. He loves her as well, but she is persuaded by her mentor to turn down the engagement because of Wentworth’s lack of connection and money. She spends the next eight years in misery, not regretful of her obedience to her mentor, but without any fading of her first love. Suddenly, Wentworth, now a rich and prestigious captain in the navy, appears in the neighborhood and Ann has to endure endless parties, trips, and walking expeditions within his company. He insults her directly and indirectly, tries to get her away from their group, or generally ignores her, and Ann is convinced that he has never forgiven her for letting him go. But a tragic accident alters all their lives and gives Ann a chance to hope once more.
This was a completely enjoyable read…um, listen, although it can never be my favorite Jane Austen. Ann Elliot is too perfect and Captain Wentworth too flawed for me to unsettle Lizzy and Mr. Darcy, or even Emma and Mr. Knightly as the best couple. It makes me laugh that Jane Austen is always so set on having a happy ending to a story that she takes Persuasion, essentially a story of an epically failed love story, and fixes it. Although she may not look it in her portrait, she sure was a helpless romantic.