Readers who follow me on Twitter may know already that Persuasion is my favourite Jane Austen book. When I was sixteen, I came across a copy of the novel in a used bookstore in the middle of nowhere. It was a 1944 edition, beautifully illustrated by John Austen (not a relation, as I understand, but do correct me if I am wrong!).
Intriguingly, although at the time I had already read Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice and Emma, and was enjoying Northanger Abbey, I did not read Persuasion until years later. I’m not sure why, but I suspect that perhaps I was not yet ready for it. When I finally got around to reading it, I had just been through a devastating break-up, and its overarching theme of second chances, it was just the balm my spirit needed.
This beautiful edition of Persuasion has occupied a proud place in my bookshelf ever since, and I find myself enjoying the book and its delicate illustrations a lot more than I might have imagined when I bought it, all those years ago.