For every fan who has wished Jane Austen herself might have enjoyed the romance and happy ending she so carefully crafted for all her heroines: The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen, by Shannon Winslow. What if the tale Jane Austen told in her last, most poignant novel was inspired by momentous events in her own life? Did she in fact intend Persuasion to stand forever in homage to her one true love? While creating Persuasion, Jane Austen also kept a private journal in which she recorded the story behind the story, her real-life romance with a navy captain of her own. The parallel could only go so far, however. As author of her characters' lives, but not her own, Jane Austen made sure to fashion a second chance and happy ending for Anne and Captain Wentworth. Then, with her novel complete and her health failing, she prepared her simple will and resigned herself to never seeing the love of her life again. Yet fate, it seems, wasn't quite finished with her. Nor was Captain Devereaux. The official record says that Jane Austen died at 41, having never been married. But what if that's only what she wanted people to believe? It's time she, through her own private journal, revealed the rest of her story.
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