Some of you may disagree with me, but it’s time (considering Netflix’s recent adaption) to make a bold statement:
Persuasion is Jane Austen’s best novel.
But it transcends her other novels because of how the characters transform throughout the story, from regret over wrong decisions to moments that sparkle with hope.
Plus, Wentworth’s letter to Anne is one of literature’s most romantic writings.
If you’re coming to the story by way of the Netflix movie, you might be interested in experiencing the literary forms of the tale. Here’s a list of books to read after watching Persuasion:
By Jane Austen
Of course, to know that it is the best Austen, you must read the original. (Also true if you want to know how the movie compares to the book.) Persuasion tells the story of Anne Elliot, who, eight years ago, turned down the marriage proposal of Captain Wentworth after being convinced he was below her station. When he returns to England after a series of successful raiding expeditions, Wentworth is cold and distant, unaware that Anne did not stop loving him. Their gradual overcoming of the repercussions of that long-ago decision creates a beguiling love story, made richer for the characters’ growing wisdom on how to find individual happiness within the confines of English social conventions.
By Diana Peterfreund
When human biology across the globe was modified, only the Luddites, who resisted the genetic tinkering, did not become “reduced.” Elliot North now manages her father’s Luddite estate, providing for the children of the reduced and struggling to stay afloat without the use of forbidden technology. When Captain Malakai Wentworth, whose advances Elliot rejected many years ago, returns with a possible solution, she must face both the problems of her society and her feelings for him. A post-apocalyptic retelling of Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is just as haunting as the original.
By Sarah Dass
A young adult retelling of Persuasion with a contemporary Caribbean twist. Two years ago, Reyna gave up on her love for Aiden. He moved to the United States to pursue a musical career, while she stayed in Tobago and continued to run their family’s hotel. She intends on avoiding him when he returns to the island with his successful band, but their stay at the hotel makes that impossible. Infused with soca music, the story explores how familial expectations can squelch potential, as well as those same Austen-inspired themes of society, hope, and romance.
By Amanda Grange
This Regency-style romance novel retells Persuasion from Captain Wentworth’s point of view. It begins much earlier than Austen’s novel, imagining the story of Anne and Wentworth’s earlier romance and his adventures at sea. His interactions with Anne, from Kellynch Hall to Bath, read much differently when seen through his perspective. Anne has already matured during their eight years apart, but Wentworth’s growth from a brazen young officer to a mature man who understands more about the complexities of human nature are this novel’s focus.
By Meg Cabot
This contemporary reimagining is told epistolary-style, with emails, texts, messages, and even product reviews. Years ago, Reed Stewart fled from the small town of Bloomville, Indiana, leaving his girlfriend Becky Flowers. Now a successful professional golfer, he gets sucked back into the small-town drama after an Internet post is misconstrued. Becky has no intention of interacting with him, but situations conspire to force them together.
Written by Amy, Assistant Librarian