Jane Austen’s last completed novel is also one of her most popular works. First published December 20, 1817, six months following her death, Persuasion is the story of a mature heroine and second chances.
Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen's most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne's family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?
The characters are subject to different types of persuasion. Who is persuaded by rank/class/family connections? Who is persuaded by self-interest? Who is persuaded by self-importance?