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First published in 1818, “Persuasion” was English novelist Jane Austen’s last completed work. The novel centers on the story of Anne Elliot, a lovely young woman who years prior had accepted the proposal for marriage from the handsome young naval officer Frederick Wentworth. Despite Frederick’s cleverness and ambition, his lower social status and lack of wealth makes him an inappropriate match for Anne in the view of her family. Instead of following her heart Anne follows the advice of family friend, Lady Russell, who acting in place of her late mother encourages the young girl not to marry him. Years after breaking off the engagement, Anne is still unmarried and has not forgotten about Frederick, now a Captain in the navy and quite wealthy from his conquests during the Napoleonic Wars. Frederick, now a most eligible bachelor, has returned into her life and is ready to marry, just not to Anne, who he has still not forgiven for rejecting him. A biting criticism of the potential pitfalls of placing societal expectations ahead of the desires of the heart, “Persuasion” remains as one of the author’s most moving love stories. This edition is illustrated by Hugh Thomson.
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