Let's face it; you know what you're getting with Jane Austen. You can reliably presume that, by the end of the book, the male and female protagonists will have discovered their love for one another, even if they loathe each other at the beginning.
"Persuasion" is the story of Anne Elliot, the second daughter of the rather vain widowed baronet Sir Walter Elliot. She was engaged at age 19 to young Frederick Wentworth, a junior naval officer ... but her aunt, Lady Russell, persuaded her to break it off because of Wentworth's poor prospects in comparison to Anne's own. Anne subsequently turns down at least one other suitor that we know of, Charles Musgrove -- who marries her younger sister, Mary.
Anne, of course, continues to carry the torch for Wentworth, although he goes off and stews in his own juices for the next eight years.
By the time Wentworth re-enters the picture, as Captain Wentworth and with an income of twenty-five thousand pounds a year, Anne and her family are in reduced circumstances. They are now renting out their estate, Kellynch, to the Crofts -- and Mrs. Croft is Captain Wentworth's sister.
We also have the eldest sister, Elizabeth, and her particular friend Mrs. Clay -- a widow with her eye on Sir Walter. We also have cousin William Elliot, who is paying court to Anne ... with an eye toward the baronetcy. There are also the Misses Musgrove, Henrietta and Louisa, both of whom set their caps for Frederick. Throw in a good many of Frederick's naval colleagues (it is, after all, the period of the Napoleonic wars and the immediate aftermath) and you've got the cast.
There are, needless to say, a great many complications that must arise before Frederick and Anne are able to let one another know that yes, they still love each other and always have done. "Persuasion" was a delightful read all the way around.