Short summary: 27 year old spinster Anne Elliot regrets ever being persuaded not to marry her first love Frederick Wentworth - especially when he shows up 8 years later.
The group's verdict: We all enjoyed this one, even if it wasn't our favorite Austen (Pride & Prejudice and Emma fill that slot for us). We had a lively discussion. We listed many reasons for hating Anne's sisters and father (all very self-absorbed), and wondered why teenaged Anne would defer her own happiness for the likes of them. We pointed out that Anne's "loss of her bloom of youth" was probably due more to her sorrow over a bad decision than aging (because 27 is so totally NOT old). And we reasoned that if Jane hadn't died after writing her first draft, she probably would've written a much better scene at the end where Anne and Wentworth walk back to her house after he writes her that letter (and oh! that letter!). As it is, it seems like a place holder to be fleshed out during the revision process.
Up next: We're taking a break for July, and then reading Anne Patchett's THE PATRON SAINT OF LIARS for August. I actually read this title years ago and didn't much like it...but I do have a lot of friends who loved it. So it should be an interesting one to discuss!