Sense & Sensibility
By Joanna Trollope
Hardcover, 362 page
2013, Harper Collins
Recently forced to vacate their long-time home after the death of Mr. Dashwood, the four Dashwood women must rely on the goodwill of a cousin and settle into country life with more limited means than they’re accustomed to. Elinor, eldest of her three sisters, struggles to keep her over-emotional family together while also managing the bills and working to support their income. Drama ensues as new friends and potential lovers enter their lives and the family tries to find their way in the world.
This is the third book of the modern retelling “series” that I’ve read and I enjoyed it just as thoroughly as I enjoyed Northanger Abbey and Eligible. Trollope successfully brought the Dashwood family and all their friends and enemies into the 21st century and crafted a mostly believable version of a beloved classic.
In this version, there is still a trouble with inheritance that causes the Dashwood’s to have to leave their family estate because after the death of Henry Dashwood, the estate falls to his son from his first marriage, John. This is due in part because Ms. Dashwood never actually married Mr. Dashwood and partly because of some old inheritance traditions and I found this to be a believable modern take on the issue.
Sense & Sensibility lacks the sometimes drastic character changes employed by Eligible, but I still found all the characters enjoyable. Marianna is wonderfully annoying – she is a complete brat, totally over dramatic, and I mostly wanted to slap her. But she does exhibit character growth and her severe asthma condition fleshes out some of the drama she tends to create. Wills is a perfect modern cad, gold digger and general d-bag.
I especially enjoyed the sibling-esque relationship that developed between Colonel Brandon and Elinor. It’s been ages since I read the original, but Trollope seemed to do a better job of convincing me that Brandon cared for Elinor and the rest of the Dashwood family and not simply because he loved Marianne.
I read this in two days and I highly recommend it if you’re a fan of the original.
You can check out Joanna’s website here.