August 29, 2012

Austen in August Read-A-Long Week Three of Three

This month, one of my favorite book bloggers, Misty @ The Book Rat is hosting "Austen in August," two weeks full of giveaways, guests, interviews, reviews and more of all things relating to Jane Austen. She is also having a Persuasion Read-A-Long where you can discuss and interpret with everyone else participating. For the read-a-long, Misty provided us with some questions to help guide us for discussion and you will find my answers to those below for the "End: Chapters 19-24." You can also see last two weeks responses here and here.

What was your initial reaction to Persuasion as a whole? Did you connect with Anne as a heroine, and Wentworth as a hero? 

I was a little apprehensive at first. This was the first time I read Persuasion, or any Austen novel for that matter. But as soon as I started reading I fell in love with Anne. I felt that we had a lot in common in terms of personality and I was a very proud mama at the end when she stood up for herself. At first, I was a little put off by Wentworth, but then I remembered how hurt he must be and he soon found a place in my heart. I love them both!

Has your perception of Persuasion changed since reading it, especially if you've read it more than once?

YES! The language was what worried me about even starting but after talking with Misty she persuaded me (did you see what I did there?) to read it and that eventually I wouldn't even notice it. I also had both print and audio copies and would use both at the same time to also help (that's just how my brain is). 

The characters are constantly on the move in Persuasion (from Kellynch to Uppercross to Lyme to Bath, etc), so the reader gets to see a variety of scenes; did you like the constant changes of scenery? Did you have a favorite? Do you think the different locations bring out different aspects of the characters?

I did like having the constant change of scenery. With this being my first Austen novel it was helpful to get a better understanding of the time period. My favorites would have to be Uppercross and Lyme, although all of the locations were wonderful sounding. I think that Lyme was quite the pivotal point in the story and where a lot of characters switched gears. But I think each location did bring out different aspects in the characters.

Discuss one of the biggest fangirl-inducing moments in Austen: "The Letter;" did you know the ending was originally written without "The Letter" in it? Do you think your overall perception of the story would change without "The Letter"?

I did not know that the original was written without "The Letter." Considering that is probably one of my favorite parts my thoughts of the story would have definitely changed. I mean that letter just made my heart melt!

What do you anticipate for the futures of any of the characters, but particularly Anne? Will her family ever come to accept Wentworth, or is she essentially disowning herself by marrying him?

Well since her family is on the downfall, at least that is what I took from the last chapter, I am sure that they will try and weasel their way back to the top using Wentworth's name and what have you. Even if they don't I think Anne would be better off anyway without her father and Elizabeth. I think Mary will always be there for Anne, but mostly due to her being so wrapped up in herself she won't care.

On reflection, are you ever bothered by the fact that Anne is essentially put in the same position - to give up the life she knows and loves for Wentworth, and that the same is never expected of him? Does this bother your modern sensibilities, or do you think the right decision is made regardless?

No, I'm never bothered but I have a "traditional" kind of sensibility. I think I also separate her world from my own because they are so different. And if I was in her shoes I would have probably done the same.

What were your favorite parts of the novel? Your least favorite? Things you wish were different?

My favorite parts are "The Letter" & anything with Admiral Croft (I loved him). I also did enjoy some of the hot and cold parts with Wentworth, just made me want him more. I also loved the Musgroves, except Mary (ugh, that women). As for least favorite, that would have to be anything with Mr. Elliot. I just didn't like him; he was a threat and from the beginning I thought he had a second agenda. Which was proven by Mrs. Smith (you go girl!)

Any last thoughts on the book?

Made my usually cold heart warm. I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to Jane Austen's other novels as well :)