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Laurel Ann Nattress: You Pierce My Soul Persuasion: A Look at Jane Austen’s Most Romantic Novel

 It's my great pleasure to welcome my guest, Laurel Ann Nattress, editor of Jane Austen Made Me Do It to the blog today. Everyone knows Laurel Ann from her wonderful blog, Austenprose, and now she's just become a published author! Over to you, Laurel Ann.

You Pierce My Soul Persuasion: A Look at Jane Austen’s Most Romantic Novel

 Hi Jane, thanks again for hosting me during my Grand Tour of the blogosphere in celebration of the release of my new Austen-inspired anthology, Jane Austen Made Me Do It.

Besides being total Jane Austen enthusiasts Jane, you and I share an affinity for Persuasion, Jane Austen's last and most romantic novel. I was so excited then you shared with me that you were inspired to write a short story for Jane Austen Made Me Do It based upon Jane Austen’s characters Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot. I adore their love story and was so interested to see what you would do with the backstory of their first meeting and early romance that is only alluded to in the original novel. I was thrilled with the result Jane, and I hope readers will enjoy your sojourn with one of our favorite Jane Austen couples.

Persuasion is really a unique novel in Jane Austen’s canon. It is the last novel that she completed before she died in 1817 at the age of forty-one, and reflects her more mature style with an intriguing introspective narrative.

At age twenty-seven, its heroine Anne Elliot is considered “on the shelf,” – past the marriageable age to catch a rich husband worthy of her snobbish father, Sir Walter Elliot’s approval. She and our hero Captain Wentworth’s failed romance and separation for over seven years is the center of the story. Themes of regret, misdirection, and lost hope all fuel the plot. This may sound very dour, but Austen’s brilliance as a writer, tempers the bad with the good to create conflict and humor with a wonderful resolution. The famous “you pierce my soul” letter by Captain Wentworth at the end of the novel is one of the most romantic ever written, and their eventual reunion and prospect for life together the most fulfilling “happily-ever-after” in literature. Even though Pride and Prejudice gets all the attention, I think Persuasion is a refined and mature work of a brilliant storyteller, and is really her masterpiece.

During the editing process of Jane Austen Made Me Do It, I was really delighted to see a few authors interested in writing stories inspired by Persuasion. The end result is some of my favorites in the anthology. Here is a brief preview of them:
“The Love Letter,” by Brenna Aubrey
Young doctor Mark Hinton thinks his life is perfect.  He is just about to finish his residency and has accepted the offer of a fabulous new job.  Things could not be better…  until the arrival of an anonymous letter in the mail forces him to confront the truth he’s been hiding from for seven years.
Sent on a quest by the mysterious contents of the letter, he is forced to discover the contents of his own heart thanks to Jane Austen, a canny librarian, a cantankerous patient, and a coolly observant sister.
“Waiting: A story inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion,” by Jane Odiwe
Captain Wentworth and his beloved Anne Elliot have waited almost nine years to be together. At last all misunderstandings are swept aside. They have declared their love for one another, and all that remains is for their union to be blessed by Anne’s father, the irascible Sir Walter Elliot, and for the family members to be told. As Anne and Frederick ponder their futures each is reminded of the past, and all that has happened. Anne recalls the heady days of their courtship, but Frederick finds his memories overshadowed by the recollection of Sir Walter’s former hostility. Anne waits patiently for the outcome, but is disappointed by her sister Elizabeth’s reaction to the news, and further dismayed when she sees Captain Wentworth’s expression telling her all has not gone well with his interview. However, Anne is resolute. Despite being persuaded in the past against the match, she is determined to marry the Captain whatever the opposition. To her relief she discovers that Sir Walter has given his blessing, albeit grudgingly, and that at least one of her sisters is moderately pleased for her. Anne and Frederick know there are more obstacles to their happiness to come, but rejoice in the old adage that ‘good things come to those who wait.’
“Heard of You,” by Margaret C. Sullivan
In Jane Austen’s Persuasion, we are told that Admiral and Mrs. Croft married a shockingly short time after their first meeting, but that they had heard a great deal about each other before they met. How could they have known each other so well? In the midst of war, an unlikely Cupid brings together one of Austen’s best married couples in a story inspired both by Persuasion and by Captain Frederick Marryat’s novel Peter Simple.
I hope that readers will be as charmed and delighted with how Persuasion inspired these three writers to create their unique stories.

Thank you Jane for your wonderful contribution “Waiting,” and for hosting me today on your blog. It was a pleasure.

Cheers, Laurel Ann

Thank you, Laurel Ann, for joining me today. I’m so thrilled to be a part of your wonderful book, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, and have enjoyed reading all the fabulous stories!

Editor bio:

A life-long acolyte of Jane Austen, Laurel Ann Nattress is the author/editor of a blog devoted to the oeuvre of her favorite author and the many books and movies that she has inspired. She is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America, a regular contributor to the PBS blog Remotely Connected and the Jane Austen Centre online magazine. An expatriate of southern California, Laurel Ann lives in a country cottage near Snohomish, Washington. Visit Laurel Ann at her blogs and, on Twitter as @Austenprose, and on Facebook as Laurel Ann Nattress.

Ballantine Books • ISBN: 978-0345524966

Giveaway of Jane Austen Made Me Do It

Enter a chance to win one copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It by leaving a comment by November 6th 2011, stating what intrigues you about reading an Austen-inspired short story anthology. Winners to be drawn at random and announced on Monday November 7th 2011. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck to all!



A Scattering said…
Hello Jane,

I'm interested in seeing how the different authors approach the Austen stories - mystery? comedy? present day?

I am confused by your cotnest dates though. Your post is dated today, October 23rd but you request comments by October 6th. Help?

Have a great week! Elaine
Jane Odiwe said…
Hello Elaine-thank you for your comment and for noticing my mistake! Comments should be posted by November 6th, of course.
Thanks so much for hosting me today Jane. I hope that readers discover their romantic affinity to Persuasion also through your great story.

Cheers, Laurel Ann
Sophia Rose said…
I like what you ladies said about 'Persuasion'. It seems to take a back seat behind the other completed novels.
I look forward to this book because it does have several 'Persuasion' short stories, but I also like the idea of this anthology because it does have so much to offer: many authors, many takes on the novels and JA herself, and many genres for those takes.
Thanks for the post and the giveaway opportunity!
Jane Odiwe said…
It's a pleasure, Laurel Ann! Thank you for your wonderful support and encouragement of my writing.

Sophia Rose, thank you for your comment-I shall add your name to the hat!
cyn209 said…
what i enjoy about reading an Austen-inspired anthology is the possibilities of the secondary characters.........

thank you for this giveaway!!!

Jane Odiwe said…
Thank you for joining us today, cyn209-I shall add your comment!
Adalgisa SD said…
Love it! Then again what else is new? Thanks Jane!
Persuasion is on my top 3 most beloved JA works :)
Jane Odiwe said…
Thank you for your comment, Adalgisa!
Monica Fairview said…
Lovely to see Laurel Ann here on your blog, Jane! Congratulations again for the publication and looking forward to reading your story, Jane.
Jane Odiwe said…
It's lovely to see you here too, Monica! Congratulations to you too! I hope you enjoy my story as much as I enjoyed yours.
Jakki L. said…
I have said this before, but I like that there are so many short stories. If I feel the need for a quick fix, I can pick up one od these, and since there are so many, one will always fit whatever mood I am in!
Jane Odiwe said…
Jakki, that's what I like too, and all the different styles of writing-thank you for your comment!
Bren said…
You ladies all have such amazing taste. Persuasion is my favorite as well and so naturally I gravitated towards those Persuasion stories (aside from my own) in the anthology. I loved them all!
Jane Odiwe said…
I loved yours too, Bren-thanks for stopping to say hello!
Laura Hartness said…

I'm reading Laurel Ann's book now, and I just finished reading your entry, "Waiting" moments ago. As usual, your writing is lovely. I didn't want the short story to end. Any hope of a Persuasion-based book from you?

Laura Hartness
The Calico Critic
Jane Odiwe said…
Dear Laura,
I really appreciate your comment-I'm working on something right now inspired by Persuasion-it's almost done-I'll keep you posted! Thank you for making my day!
Eva-Joy said…
I would love to win a copy of this book, not only because it's Jane Austen themed, but because the reviews and summaries I've read sound so interesting. Good luck with the giveaway!

My e-mail is
Jane Odiwe said…
Thank you, Eva-Joy for your comment-your name has been added to the hat!