Persuasion 200: Anne Breaks off the Engagement — 38 Comments

  1. Oh, Shannon. 🙁 Brilliantly done, but so painful to read. Poor Anne; poor Wentworth.

    Thank heavens we have the fore-knowledge of the book to reassure us in a way they cannot.

    I look forward very much to the release of The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen!!!

    • Thanks so much, Cassandra. The two – P200 and my upcoming novel – go hand in hand beautifully. It’s been fun to be able to spend so much time in the world of Persuasion. And, yes, it’s a very good thing we know a happy ending awaits our lovers!

  2. What a heart-wrenching scene, Shannon. You write beautifully and I feel sad for both Anne and Wentworth to know that they have to break up. I’m really looking forward to your new release as I dearly love Persuasion.

    • I’m glad you (enjoyed?, no) appreciated this scene, Luthien, and I’ve been delighted to learn that there are so many Persuasion fans out there in JA fandom!

  3. Having read recent chapters, but not had the time to comment on them, and knowing the original so well, I’ve sort of been both looking forward to AND dreading this chapter! So sad and yet so beautiful at the same time. We know that there will be, eventually, a HEA, but they’ll have to wait eight long years for it.

    I like your comment at the beginning “It would be tempting to rewrite history in order to spare our hero and heroine the pain that lies ahead.” How different would things have been if they had married now? Their relative youth and relatively poor financial situation might have caused the flames to die down quite quickly. Lady Russell’s arguements from a previous chapter are quite logical from that perspective.

    I’m looking forward now to reading what happens during the next eight years. Will we get to see Charles Musgrove’s proposal and his eventual marriage to Mary?

    • Thanks for your comments, Anji. It’s hard to know what would have happened if they’d gone ahead. I’ve thought about it, but haven’t come to any interesting conclusions. It might all have been too mundane to make a good story.

      There are a few more “prequel” scenes to come, including CM’s proposal, before we get to the scenes within the scope of the novel. Jack has 3 written about Wentworth’s experiences at sea. That should be a real treat!

      • Sounds like Jack has been/will be having fun. Three chapters at sea sound wonderful. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in the intervening eight and a half years before we get into the timeline of the original.

        • Oops, hit the post button by mistake (again). Of course, without the intervening eight and a half years, we’d never have that incredible letter that CFW writes to Anne in Bath. Now THAT’S a chapter I’m looking forward to, especially if it’s written from his POV.

          • I daresay Jack is the only one qualified to write the Navy scenes. We certainly aren’t going to try to fill in the entire 8 1/2 years, just catch the highlights before rejoining the scope of what the novel itself covers. The rest will be told in “real time,” the way we did P&P200.

  4. OUCH!!!!! That was truly painful. Anne accusing him of having no sense…. harsh! His refusal to accept “later” or a long engagement – inflexible! And who will comfort Anne and Wentworth now…..

    It is going to be a long wait for resolution! Thank you for the post, Shannon.

    • I know, June, but it had to be harsh enough that the break couldn’t be easily overcome. 🙁 Thus the 8-year separation. JA’s dictate, not mine! Although, in my novel, Jane has to wait even longer than that for her captain to return, so she knows how it feels.

  5. I loved this, Shannon-brilliant writing! And now, though I feel for Anne, I really feel I can see why Frederick took it so badly-so sorry for them both!

    • Thanks so much, Jane. As I just commented above, it had to be harsh enough to keep them apart for 8 long years. I also thought it was important that there was responsibility on both sides – “he might have his pride, but Anne had her convictions.” Otherwise, Anne is a victim and Wentworth is a bully we don’t like very much.

  6. Gut-wrenching for both of them. This is such a decisive moment for both Frederick and Anne and I’ve been dreading it. I thought maybe you’d have some mercy, Shannon, but you didn’t 🙁

    Excellent writing, as always..

  7. So beautifully, heart wrenchingly written, Shannon. It is such a shame Wentworth let his pride get in the way and wouldn’t listen to Anne . So much wasted time between now and when they accidentally meet again 8 1/2 years later. Wentworth does seem to hesitate momentarily, but who wants to acknowledge their own mortality. It is such a shame he wouldn’t seek her out but then we wouldn’t have our book, Persuasion. Honestly, who in their right mind would even infer they would offer again.

    Thank you (did I really say that?) for such an emotionally upheaving, depressing post (even though we knew it would be). 🙁 You wrote your part superbly well. 🙂

    • Thanks for your comments, Deborah. There is an adage that tell writers, “You must torture your characters!” I guess Jane Austen instinctively knew this too, because you’re right. Without this tragic history, it wouldn’t be Persuasion, and we wouldn’t get the emotional payoff in the end.

  8. Oh! Rats! Posted before I was done. I am looking forward to seeing other parts filled in…which I know will be beautifully written as well. And now, I think I can safely say ‘looking forward to’. I don’t believe anything else will be as emotionally taxing, but then again, knowing you folks, I could be wrong. 🙂

    • Yes, now the worst is over and we can move on. Although, I hesitate to remind you, Deborah, but we do have to watch Wentworth punish Anne by courting Louisa Musgrove right in front of her eyes! That’s a bit of torture too. Good thing we know we’ll (eventually) get our happy ending. lol

  9. Beautifully done. My heart breaks for both of them and the long 8-1/2 years ahead of them; both tormented by thoughts of the other and what might have been. Persuasion is my second favorite Austen novel and I am enjoying this so much. You are all doing a brilliant job!

    • Thanks, Rae! Mine too – Persuasions, my 2nd favorite JA – and it deserves its share of attention. I’m enjoying this project very much as well. The fact that it comes on the heels of my just having written a Persuasion-based novel is just a serendipitous bonus for me!

  10. This is certainly one we have all been dreading, but you wrote it wonderfully. And yes, it is easier to read knowing that they will eventually be together! I cannot imagine having to wait 8 1/2 years! Thanks, Shannon!

    • You’re right, Kara. Eight and a half years seems a bit excessive. If I had been JA, I probably would have settled for four or five, thinking they had been punished enough for their youthful errors by then!

  11. gah! That’s hard to read.

    Eight and a half years….three thousand, one hundred and two and a half days. That’s a long time to be heartbroken and living with a selfish, irritating family. 🙁

    I, too, am curious about the scene with Charles Musgrove.

  12. Sniff, sniff…yes, we knew it was coming but it still hurts. Pride will not keep them warm over the next 8.5 years but at least we know they do meet again. I’m so glad that chapter is over as I’ve been dreading it. Well written Shannon and looking forward to your book too!

    • Thanks, Carole. I hope you’ll forgive me for inflicting pain, but I had no choice. As for my upcoming book, it’s been fun to sneak these teasers in and to have an excuse to spend a little more time in the world of Persuasion through P200.

  13. It’s so interesting to me that you looked forward to writing something that you knew was the “low” point in the story! But thank you for creating such a touching and sad scene! ! I think what helped keep them apart for so long was that they were reduced to saying angry things they didn’t mean. Anne losing her temper and accusing Frederick of not having any sense was probably not helping him to persuade him otherwise. And he was a little hasty in giving her an ultimatum. OK, I’m looking forward to the rest!

    • Exactly, Kathy. It had to be damaging enough that they wouldn’t easily get back together. Otherwise it makes no sense that they would let so many years pass.

      As for the writing, I always have the most fun with confrontation/conflict scenes (even though I can’t bear conflict in real life!). That’s why writing for Lady Catherine de Bourgh is such a kick; she creates conflict wherever she goes. I wrote a scene in “The Darcys of Pemberley” where she finally gets her comeuppance. That was one of my particular favorites!

  14. Well, I waited and then hesitated to read this one. First figuring that such a sad tale would not be the best to read first thing in the morning. Then, as the day gave way to evening, I still wasn’t sure I was ready for the sadness that this post must (and does) contain. I expected to be grieved, and I was. I expected it may bring a tear to my eye, but it didn’t…no, my reaction was quite unexpected. Rather than shedding a tear with Anne, I found myself sad but angry with her much as Frederick must have been. And then, my anger shifted to Lady Russell, and I wished she could feel at least half the pain and sorrow that Anne was feeling. I feel quite ready to walk into that story and shake a few people. 🙂

    Thank you for writing this, Shannon.

  15. This beautifully written piece put a lump in my curious about what will happen in the 8 1/2 years they are apart…if only Wentworth had truly listened, pride got in his way and his wounded ego. Impressed with Anne’s conviction…sometimes she may seem a mild, timid young lady but there is some steel there too. Wishing we could skip straight to the happy ending. But the getting there is some of the best of the story yet to be told.

    • Yes, Stephanie. I thought it was important Anne stand up for herself, rather than appearing a weak and helpless victim (of Lady Russell’s persuasion and/or of Cpt. W’s prideful demands). And you’re right about the other too. We love our happy endings, but there is no story without conflict.

  16. As with the last chapter, I put off reading this, knowing the angst that would be there – waiting to eat a hole in my heart. Knowing ahead of time what will happen does NOT lessen the pain for me. His pride, her self sacrifice and having no one really understanding what she feels or even caring to look at that side of the situation. I do not believe Lady R truly understood Anne – even in the end! After all we know who she wanted Anne to marry while in Bath. And poor Frederick, to have the one he loves not trust him to take care of her. Male ego got a big blow there, so he digs in and will not consider “later”…yes, he punished her, but at what cost to both?

    Excellent presentation of a very difficult part of this story.

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