It’s a truth universally acknowledged that love doesn’t matter. Or, at least, that love is kind of a silly concern. But love does matter, doesn’t it? The people we choose to spend our lives with, raise families with, go out to dinner with – those people shape the course and texture of our lives. And nobody gets that better than Jane Austen. Her heroines are always strong, and capable, and wise enough to overcome their circumstances. And her stories are always smart and complicated and wry. And on top of that, they make the choice to care about love.
And love’s no good without longing. And sorrow. And regret. And hope. And Persuasion – my all-time favorite chick lit book – has all that and more. It’s hard to choose one of her novels over another because they are all so delicious. But what I love about Anne Elliot in Persuasion is the way that life has knocked her around a little. She’s not young, or foolish. She’s made mistakes, and now she has to live with them. And when the man she rejected – even though she did love him – comes back into her life years later and they are thrown together over and over, the torture of it is exquisite. It’s exactly what a great chick lit novel should be: page-turning, relatable, and absolutely – brilliantly – smart about women.
Katherine Center is the author of three bittersweet comic novels about love and family: The Bright Side of Disaster, Everyone Is Beautiful and Get Lucky. She’s finishing up her fourth novel for Random House this spring. Come visit her website.