Joanna Trollope’s Sense and Sensibility #Giveaway

by Elizabeth

sense and sensibilityI love Joanna Trollope’s books. She’s insightful and accurate in her views of modern family life, and writes enjoyable stories filled with realistic characters. So I was intrigued when I saw she’d written a new version of Jane Austen’s classic Sense and Sensibility. Apparently this is part of something called the Austen Project, in which 6 modern authors each retell one of Austen’s novels.

Sense & Sensibility retains Austen’s basic plot but sets it in modern times, with a few tweaks for clarity. For example, it’s not that the estate is entailed to John Dashwood as the only male heir, but rather that Henry and Belle never formally married, making their 3 daughters illegitimate. That works! And it’s rather wonderful to see Belle as a sort of aging hippy, irresponsible but good-hearted, flaky about money but wanting only the best for her beloved girls. True to the original, Elinor and Marianne are beautiful but somewhat clueless in affairs of the heart. Cast out by their sister-in-law Fanny, who is doing up Norland in all the latest environmentally-friendly and expensive ways possible, the 3 sisters end up cast onto the kindness of other relatives.

These characters have nicknames–M, and Wills, Ed and Bill and “Mags.” They listen to iPods and scandals are spread via You Tube and social media. Of course everyone’s on Facebook. Horses have been replaced by Range Rovers and cars in general. Some things don’t work in the modern age. Even thought there’s a tremendous scene where Elinor bangs downs her knife and fork says, angrily, “Ma! This isn’t 1810! Money doesn’t dictate relationships” (p 137), the girls nonetheless do act sometimes rather more helpless than modern women would. Marianne suffers from debilitating asthma attacks (which is what killed her father in this rendition) in this age where a cold and broken heart aren’t enough to hospitalize someone, but she is often infuriating, sitting around moping instead of just going out and getting a job. The main weakness in the adaptation lies in how many options are available to women nowadays that simply weren’t there for women in Austen’s era. However, Marianne’s character grates on me in Austen’s version too.

Sense & Sensibility is getting mixed reviews but I have to admit I enjoyed it. While I like Jane Austen, I found this new version accessible and enjoyable. Trollope writes with her characteristic wit and wry humour, and brings fresh eyes to the trials, woes, and eventual marital triumphs of the Dashwood sisters.

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Elizabeth is a voracious reader with eclectic tastes who loves being part of the team at 5 Minutes for Books. She's lived in 7 countries and is currently in Oregon, where she spends most of her time with Iraqi refugees. She has 3 teens.

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{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather B December 9, 2013 at 9:15 am

I have to admit I have never read a Jane Austen book, I would love to though


2 Jen V December 9, 2013 at 9:25 am

I am a huge fan of Jane Austen and have been ever since I read Pride and Prejudice in a high school English class. Pride and Prejudice remains one of my favorite books to this day.


3 anne December 9, 2013 at 10:02 am

I am a big Jane Austen fan and I enjoy her novels greatly. Persuasion was always a favorite of mine.


4 Denise M December 9, 2013 at 10:32 am

yes! I love Pride and Prejudice best of all


5 Adele Jones December 9, 2013 at 11:02 am

I read Pride and Prejudice a very long time ago for school. I did enjoy it even though it was required reading.


6 Benita December 9, 2013 at 11:53 am

I love Jane Austen’s work. Pride and Prejudice is of course my fave.


7 Karen Lynch December 9, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I love all of Jane Austen’s books with the exception of her mystery one which escapes me right now. Pride and Prejudice being number one.


8 Patricia Wojnar Crowley December 9, 2013 at 5:27 pm

Yes! My favorite is Emma!


9 Ruth Hill December 9, 2013 at 11:52 pm

I have read at least two Jane Austen books, and though she is not my all-time favorite author, she is one of my favorites.


10 Ginny December 9, 2013 at 11:59 pm

This looks intriguing. If I remember, Sense and Sensibility was Austen’s first novel? I remember reading it and thinking that Austen was clearly warming up to write Pride and Prejudice.

The movie with Emma Thompson is fabulous, too — I think it’s the best of all the adaptations.


11 staceyk December 10, 2013 at 4:21 pm

not really a fan, but know some who are and would love this!


12 Christine Jensen December 10, 2013 at 9:14 pm

I LOVE Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite, but I also really love Persuasion.


13 Angela Saver December 11, 2013 at 3:27 am

I have never read any of her books, but I have head a lot of good reviews on her, so I can’t wait to read some of her books!


14 riTa December 11, 2013 at 2:13 pm

I have listened to one or two audio books and seen the films. Love rich characterization. My daughter-in-law is reading through a volume of seven Austen books, most of them a re-read for her. i would love to know what she thinks of this rewrite and I would love to listen to the audio version, or buy the Kindle version (after I get a Kindle for Christmas ;-)


15 Jenny December 11, 2013 at 9:26 pm

I am a fan of all of Jane Austen’s books, but Pride and Prejudice is my favorite.


16 Julie Smith December 11, 2013 at 9:34 pm

I am mixed about Jane Austen – while I love Pride and Prejudice, I really really really didn’t like Emma! Thanks for the chance to win!


17 Patricia December 11, 2013 at 11:01 pm

I’m a big Austen fan. Pride and Prejudice is my favorite.


18 marian boll December 13, 2013 at 12:13 am

My whole family loves Jane Austen books and Pride and Prejudice is our favorite


19 Beth R December 13, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Yes, I love Jane Austen. Sorry to be repetitive, but Pride and Prejudice is my favorite too.


20 Christine December 16, 2013 at 12:13 am

Pride and Prejudice.
Thanks for the chance!


21 beth December 18, 2013 at 11:10 am

Pride and Prejudice is my favorite


22 Cynthia R December 19, 2013 at 3:09 pm

I love Jane Austen, my favorite is Mansfield Park


23 Nicole Sender December 20, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I have to confess that I have never read any of her books!


24 Daniel M December 20, 2013 at 7:01 pm

nope but all the women around here are


25 Ashley Fryer December 21, 2013 at 9:28 am

I have read several Jane Austen books and Pride and Prejudice is my favorite!


26 Joy Q December 21, 2013 at 9:35 am

I like Emma


27 tina reynolds December 21, 2013 at 10:20 am

I have never read but my mom is a big fan


28 Danielle Jones December 21, 2013 at 10:26 am

I shock everyone who knows me when I say that I’ve never read any of her books. I love to read but some how never read Pride and Prejudice.


29 Candie L December 21, 2013 at 11:36 am

I have not read any of her books yet. Thank you


30 Nancy December 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Yes, Pride and Prejudice is my favorite.


31 susan smoaks December 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm

i like pride and prejudice the best


32 Jaque R December 21, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Love all of Jane Austen’s works but I think my favorite is Northanger Abbey. :-) Thank you.


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