This is a typical Jane Austen book (which undoubtedly you've already read at least Pride and Prejudice), so you must already be accustomed to her style of writing. There is subtle humor in her writing, and though it takes a little while to parse through the etiquette and length phrases of niceties, it is worth it in the end.
The story follows Anne Elliot, the middle daughter of a prideful yet foolish baron, and her progression in love. I believe the most quoted phrase from this book is something along the lines that Anne "had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older – the natural sequence of an unnatural beginning." Or something of that sort.
So to condense the story, it basically follows her love life of denying a capricious and emotionally-driven match, only to meet up with that very same man eight years later. It's actually quite humorous how very little the two protagonists speak or even interact - it's almost in the ways they avoid each other that you begin to see the romance. A far cry from modern day romances, to be sure.
For me, however, things moved too quickly and too slowly at the same time (if that is even possible). In one sense, out of nowhere, a plot twist can happen without any foreshadowing just because. Or suddenly two characters fall in love, or there is a spontaneous meeting, or suddenly evil intentions are made known. Although this is typical of Jane Austen, it's all a little too capricious and too coincidental for my liking. (i.e. it pisses me off when plot lines converge too neatly). But at the same time, it moves slowly in the sense that nothing is really happening if you think about it!! I bemoan the actual lack of action and plot.
But oh, her wit is very clever. Austen titles the book "Persuasion", and this comes out in very clever ways and in her philosophy through Anne's eyes when interacting with different characters. So although I am pretty much complaining and nitpicking, I did appreciate many things in the book, including the way you could almost picture the character in your head. Very lovely.
Two and a half stars because I thought it was good, but rounded down because I wouldn't reread it. It is a classic that ought to be read at least once, more to understand this style of writing than for the actual story. Recommended for people who love Jane Austen or the Bronte sisters, or that ilk of books. Also recommended for people who want to broaden their horizons on different styles of writing.