by Jane Austen
I do sometimes wonder if this is my favourite Austen novel, after all.
Anne Elliot is clever, discreet, long-suffering – and she has rather a lot to suffer. Her father, Sir Walter Elliot, is a vain and rather pathetic man, whose company Anne is obliged to keep unless she marries. Anne has had an offer several years ago, and on the advice of her father and, in particular, her older friend Lady Russell, turned down the man although she was in love with him. It seems unlikely that she will find another suitor at this stage in her life.
Enter Mr Elliot: a relation with a somewhat dubious past. Around the same time, her former suitor Captain Wentworth re-enters Anne’s life and seems to be attaching himself to Louisa Musgrave, a young, lively and attractive girl in the neighbourhood and sister-in-law to Anne’s sister. After a distressing incident in Lyme Regis, where Anne shows her true constancy and the stable, practical nature of her character, Louisa transfers her affections.
Wentworth and Anne meet again in Bath, and are finally reconciled in a delightfully tender moment involving a note hidden in a glove ‘accidentally’ left behind.
Oh – just writing about this, 7 months later, makes me want to read it again!