As five women and one enigmatic man meet to discuss the works of Jane Austen, they find their love lives playing out in a 21st century version of her novels. Sylvia (Amy Brenneman
), is shocked when her husband Daniel (Jimmy Smits
), leaves her after 20 plus years and three children. Jocelyn (Maria Bello
), her unmarried best friend, distracts herself from her unacknowledged loneliness by breeding dogs. Prudie (Emily Blunt
) is a young French teacher, in possession of a worthy husband yet distracted by persistent fantasies about sex with another man. The many-times married Bernadette (Kathy Baker
) develops a yearning for one more chance at happiness. Beautiful, risk-taking Allegra (Maggie Grace
), Sylvia and Daniel’s lesbian daughter, has quit talking to her lover. And Grigg (Hugh Dancy
), a young science-fiction fan and computer whiz, seems horribly both out of place and obliviously at ease as the only man to be invited into the book circle.
Six book club members, six Austen books, six interwoven storylines over six months in the busy modern setting of Sacramento, where city and suburban sprawl meet natural beauty. While the contemporary stories never slavishly parallel the Austen plots, the six characters find echoes, predictions, warnings and wisdom about their own trajectories within Austen's beloved narratives.