|Photos courtesy of D. Sharon Pruitt and Rebecca Lim|
If you enjoy Rebecca’s choice, by the way, you should check out our Bookish Valentine’s Day Gift Guide. It happens to feature an item with a quote from this very memorable moment!
Rebecca Lim’s Favorite Romantic Book Scene
Persuasion (1818) by Jane Austen is a sublime romantic novel and something I return to often. It has wry humour, wit, restraint and elegance, but beneath it all, such a depth of regret, yearning and piercing insight.
The heroine, Anne Elliot – younger daughter of a snobbish aristocrat – was persuaded by class considerations, just over eight years before the action of Persuasion begins, to break her engagement to a young, penniless but dashing sailor, Frederick Wentworth. Frederick later returns to England in search of a wife, but with new-found status as a wealthy Captain of the Royal Navy. Circumstances throw him and Anne back into each other’s orbit and they must navigate their lingering resentments and regrets, and the treacherous undercurrents of their social set, in order to re-unite.
The scene that has always stayed with me is the one where Frederick slips Anne a note under pretence that he is writing a letter to someone else. In it he writes:
I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own, than when you almost broke it eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant. You alone have brought me to Bath. For you alone I think and plan … I must go, uncertain of my fate … A word, a look will be enough to decide whether I enter your father’s house this evening or never.
It may not seem like much to you, but that note always gets me right there.
Rebecca Lim is a writer/illustrator based in Melbourne, Australia. She’s the author of fourteen books for children and young adults and her novels have been translated into German, French, Turkish and Portuguese. Her most recent novels, Mercy, Exile and Muse are available internationally via The Book Depository. Exile will be available to U.S. audiences in April 2012 and the final instalment in the Mercy series, Fury, will also be published by HarperCollins Publishers this year for international audiences.
Check out the rest of the Literary Swoon series!
Nova Ren Suma, author of Imaginary Girls
Gail Carriger, author of Soulless
Rebecca Lim, author of Mercy
Deborah Cooke, author of Flying Blind
Cynthia Hand, author of Unearthly
Shirley Marr, author of Fury
Lauren Oliver, author of Delirium
Kendare Blake, author of Anna Dressed in Blood
The Midnight Garden Bloggers