First off, may I say how incongruous this cover is for this book? Anne Elliot WOULD NEVER with that red harlot dress.
Of all of Jane Austen’s protagonists, Anne Elliot is the mildest doormat to be found. Fanny Price endured a fair amount of abuse but took it because she was poor and relying on the kindness of others to have shelter and food. Anne Elliot gives up her fiance because her family thinks it is a poor match, and then she watches as her family spends themselves in to financial straits. She allows herself to be treated as a servant by both of her sisters without a word of reproof. When her father is forced to let the family home and find cheaper lodgings, Anne’s opinion is not taken in to account- nor does she expect it to be considered. She just acquiesces to everyone else’s plans for her- a stop at her younger sister’s home so she can help babysit some appalling brats, a stop at a friend’s home if convenient, and then removal to Bath to help with whatever her father and older sister may require.
During all this home shuffling, Anne is brought back in to contact with Frederick Wentworth. She had accepted his proposal and then canceled the engagement when her mother’s friend counseled against it. Seven years later, Anne has no other prospects and is looking like she will end up a spinster with no money. She resigns herself to just watching from afar as Frederick flirts with other women though she still loves him.
Along the way to her happy ending, Anne has to endure the social-climbing hijinks of her family as well as their scorn for visiting an old friend who has fallen on hard times. She also is leered at by a cousin who turns out to be not quite as gentlemanly as was thought.
I quite like this book, despite my very 2019-ish frustrations with Anne’s passivity.