His Cunning Or Hers:
A Postscript To Persuasion
by June Menzies

ISBN 0888648219

         Review by Lynn Lamy, December 16, 1997
His Cunning or Hers   is a short epistolary novel based on letters to and from Mrs. Clay and Mr. William Walter Elliot, and it takes place during the action in Bath from the novel Persuasion.   It is very short, but quite entertaining.  It made me wonder just how scheming Mrs. Clay really was, and how Mr. Elliot really felt about Anne.

Mrs. Clay, it seems, has definite designs on Sir Walter, and is not actually all that fond of Miss Elizabeth.  She does what she has to do to further her own interests, and if this means several months separation from her two children, so be it.  She is even willing to readjust her plans when Mr. Elliot begins to show attention to herself, Elizabeth and Anne all at the same time.

Mr. Elliot, for his part, apprises his friend Wallis of all his own goings-on, describing how he keeps the whole Elliot entertained by flattering them all according to their individual needs.

In ending the novel, June Menzies seeks to giver her own answer to Jane Austen's own puzzle, "It is now a doubtful point whether his cunning, or hers, may finally carry the day" , which arises from the coincidental disappearance of both Mrs. Clay and Mr. Elliot and what they all hear about them later.  It is quite an interesting answer, I must say, but I do not wish to suspend any pleasure you all may get from reading this novel yourself.  I highly recommend it!

        Review by Linda Waldemar, October 27. 2003
This is a very small book that was first presented at a JASNA Conference in 1993. There are seventeen short letters describing the events of Persuasion during the time at Bath. Five of the letters are from William Walter Elliot primarily to Colonel Wallis and gives his perspective of the goings on with the Elliot family. There ae seven letters from Penelope Clay to her sister, Anne Hampson, describing this same time period from her perspective.

There are two endings; one shows that His Cunning has accomplished his goals; the second shows that Her Cunning carries the day.

A very nice and quick read. This book is extremely hard to find, but if you should run across it, I recommend that you give it a try.