Jane Austen, Persuasion (1818)[*****]. The list of things I will miss about 2008 is short, but near the top is having all of Jane Austen before me, unread. I'm sure there will be years of enjoyment in re-reading these books, but never again will I read with such bated breath. Of course, by this, my last JA, the formula was pretty clear (Of course Wentworth is not in love with Louisa, otherwise how could he finally overcome all of the obstacles and misunderstandings to dramatically profess his love to Anne in a letter in the final pages? Of course Cousin Elliot is not the gentleman he at first appears, but is actually a calculating fortune-seeker! Of course he and the equally calculating Mrs. Clay will make off together in the end! Of course Sir and Miss Elliot will never overcome their cold shallowness! Etc. etc.) Even so, JA kept me as glued to the page with Persuasion as she did a year ago with Sense and Sensibility, and everything in between.
In this assessment of Mr. Elliot, Anne is a woman after my own heart: "Mr. Elliot was rational, discreet, polished, -- but he was not open. There was never any burst of feeling, any warmth of indignation or delight, at the evil or good of others. This, to Anne, was a decided imperfection.... She prized the frank, the open-hearted, the eager character beyond all others. Warmth and enthusiasm did captivate her still. She felt that she could so much more depend upon the sincerity of those who sometimes looked or said a careless or a hasty thing, than of those whose presence of mind never varied, whose tongue never slipped."