Author: Jane Austen
Format: Kindle Edition
Published: September 19 2019
Persuasion opens with a brief history of the Elliot family as recorded in Sir Walter Elliot's favorite book, The Baronetcy. We learn that the Elliots are a respected, titled, landowning family. Lady Elliot, Sir Walter's wife died fourtee n years ago and left him with three daughters: Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary. Both Elizabeth and Anne are single, but Mary, the youngest is married to a wealthy man named Charles Musgrove; they live close by. Sir Walter, who lavishly overspend s, has brought the family into great debt. When Lady Russell, a trusted family advisor, suggests that the Elliots reduce their spending, Sir Walter is horrified. He is exceedingly vain and cannot bear to imagine life without his usual comforts. But wi th no other option, the Elliots decide they must relocate to a house in Bath where their expenses will be more manageable. They intend to rent the family estate, Kellynch Hall.
They soon find excellent tenants to rent their home; Admiral and Mrs. Croft are wealthy and well-mannered Navy people who have a model marriage. Sir Walter is relieved that the Admiral is a good-looking man. Though Sir Walter dislikes that the Navy br ings "men of obscure birth into undue distinction," he is satisfied with Admiral and Mrs. Croft as tenants for his home. Anne Elliot, the middle daughter, is also excited to meet the Crofts; Mrs. Croft is the sister of the man Anne loves. Eight years ago, she was engaged to be married to Captain Frederick Wentworth, but Lady Russell persuaded her that Captain Wentworth was not of high enough consequence, and Anne called off the engagement. With the Crofts at Kellynch, Anne hopes to see Captain Wentwor th again.
Sir Walter, Elizabeth, and Mrs. Clay (a widowed, somewhat lower-class friend of the family) leave for Bath. Anne goes to stay with her sister Mary at Uppercross Cottage for a period of two months. Mary complains often and Anne patiently listens to her sister's worries. At Uppercross, Anne finds the Musgrove family absolutely delightful. Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove have three grown children: Charles (Mary's husband), Henrietta, and Louisa. Anne marvels at the bustling nature of the household and the Musgroves' clear affection for their children. Soon news comes that Captain Wentworth has returned from sea and is staying with his sister at Kellynch. Captain Wentworth makes friends with Mr. Musgrove, and he becomes a daily visitor at Uppercross. A nne is at first anxious to see him again after such a long time, but his actions toward her are merely detached and polite. He seems more smitten with Henrietta and Louisa Musgrove. Anne resigns herself to the idea that she has lost Captain Wentworth's lo ve forever.
Captain Wentworth proposes that they all take a trip to Lyme to go visit his friends the Harvilles. While they are there, a good-looking gentleman takes notice of Anne; they later discover that this man is Mr. Elliot, Anne's cousin and Sir Walter' s heir to Kellynch. The group decides to go for a morning walk on the beach. Louisa Musgrove has a bad fall and is knocked unconscious. Anne keeps a level head and does all she can to care for Louisa. The doctor determines that Louisa will recover, but sh e will have to remain in Lyme for several months. Captain Wentworth blames himself for Louisa's fall and tries to help the Musgrove family. Anne returns to Uppercross to help Mr. and Mrs. Musgrove care for their younger children. After a few weeks, she le aves to stay with Lady Russell.