Sense & Sensibility

( 3 )

Overview

From Joanna Trollope, one of the most insightful chroniclers of family life writing fiction today, comes a contemporary retelling of Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen’s classic novel of love, money, and two very different sisters.

John Dashwood promised his dying father that he would take care of his half sisters. But his wife, Fanny, has no desire to share their newly inherited estate. When she descends upon Norland Park, the three Dashwood girls—Elinor, Marianne, and ...

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Sense & Sensibility

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Overview

From Joanna Trollope, one of the most insightful chroniclers of family life writing fiction today, comes a contemporary retelling of Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen’s classic novel of love, money, and two very different sisters.

John Dashwood promised his dying father that he would take care of his half sisters. But his wife, Fanny, has no desire to share their newly inherited estate. When she descends upon Norland Park, the three Dashwood girls—Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret—are faced with the realities of a cold world and the cruelties of life without their father, their home, or their money.

With her sparkling wit, Joanna Trollope casts a clever, satirical eye on the tales of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.

Reimagining Sense and Sensibility in a fresh, modern new light, she spins the novel’s romance, bonnets, and betrothals into a wonderfully witty coming-of-age story about the stuff that really makes the world go around. For when it comes to money, some things never change....

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this funny, well-paced Mormon-themed take on Austen's often retold classic, by romance writer Jamison (Persuasion: A Latter-day Tale), Emma is a 23-year-old receptionist in modern-day Vienna, Va., who tries to parlay her penchant for meddling and doling advice into a career as a life coach. After welcoming pretty but insecure nanny Harri into the group of 20-somethings she knows from the local Mormon community, Emma misinterprets signals from Phil Elton and attempts to pair the two off—with disastrous results. Meanwhile, former classmate Jenna Farley, now a country music star, comes home for Christmas, making Emma reflect on her own lackluster accomplishments. She's briefly distracted by the arrival of Hank Weston, who seems perfect and appears to like her. Jamison's writing is engaging and full of vivid, amusing lines; a croissant is "the cotton candy version of bread," for instance. Jamison's religious perspective never comes off as awkward or didactic. The author only slips toward the end, when a saccharine resolution pales compared to the riveting angst that came before it. (Aug.) Brit author Trollope brings Austen's classic into the new millennium, with mixed results. After Henry Dashwood dies, the Dashwood sisters and their mother are given a house by kindly rich relatives John and Mary Middleton, while the estate that was the Dashwood home passes to the sisters' henpecked half-brother John and his status-conscious wife Fanny. Elinor, the responsible eldest Dashwood sister, is smitten with Fanny's brother Edward Ferrars, though she hasn't heard from him since the move, and he, unbeknownst to her, has been dating the daffy Lucy Steele. Delicate, dramatic, and gorgeous, middle sister Marianne falls for eye-candy John "Wills" Willoughby, though he treads on her heart by publicly rejecting her. All this is conveyed in formal prose with equally stiff dialogue, which makes Trollope's offhand mentions of laptops and Range Rovers somewhat jarring. And yet, Trollope's faithfulness to the tropes of this story keep her from letting the plot jibe with the modern world, though she does wink at that: "You're like those nineteenth-century novels where marriage is the only career option for a middle-class girl." The book's resolution for Marianne seems especially unlikely in this era, and could have benefitted from a more malleable adaptation. Agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Agency. (Nov.)
The Guardian(London)
"As ever, Trollope writes about family life with wit, intelligence and verve."
People Magazine
"Trollope is at her best analyzing the complex strands of DNA that bind families-and sometimes threaten to strangle them."
New York Times Book Review
“Like a good kitchen chat, Joanna Trollope's novels dish out equal measures of reassuring warmth and sobering insight....... [Her] gift is her ability to capture far-flung perspectives with compassion.”
Wall Street Journal
“Her books are . . . readable without being trivial, accessible without being pat, psychologically astute without being labored.”
The New Yorker
“[Trollope] aims for the heart… and she hits it.”
People
“Trollope is at her best analyzing the complex strands of DNA that bind families-and sometimes threaten to strangle them.”
Mail on Sunday (London)
“Wonderfully and compulsively readable. She can be as subtle as Austen, as sharp as Brontë. Trollope's brilliant.”
The Times (London)
“Trollope is brilliant at swooping in on a modern dilemma and showing it from everyangle… Inventive, surprising and fascinating.”
The Independent
“Joanna Trollope is the most emotionally intelligent of contemporary British novelists.”
Sunday Times (London)
“Supremely sure of her material and purpose, compassionate but never sentimental.”
Washington Post
“Trollope is as poised and intricate a portraitist as her famous novelist ancestor, Anthony Trollope.”
The Guardian (London)
“As ever, Trollope writes about family life with wit, intelligence and verve.”
Kirkus Reviews
Six best-selling modern writers were commissioned by the Austen Project to update the classic novels. Matchless chronicler of Middle England Trollope (Daughters in Law, 2011, etc.) was paired with Sense & Sensibility, which now morphs into upmarket chick-lit. Austen fans will be familiar with the story of the Dashwood girls--sensible Elinor, beautiful Marianne and young, spirited Margaret--who, with their mother, are cruelly cast out of the family mansion when their father dies. Trollope adds interior-design values to Austen's preoccupations--sex, money and class--by pitting the Dashwoods' shabby-chic taste (faded damask curtains; pretty but chipped china) against the stripped-down, inappropriately modern style of the thoughtless cousins who evict them. Taken in by another wealthy cousin with another decaying mansion, they move to a modern house on his estate--oh, the suffering. Trollope offers occasional flashes of Austen-esque wit, but more often, her writing, though immensely experienced, lacks the grace of the original. Without it, the girls and their misadventures in pursuit of romance and financial security seem less subtle and charming, more foolish and conventional. Marianne falls for a rotter instead of solid Col. Brandon; Elinor "ha[s] feelings for" nice-but-weak Ed, who seems to get engaged to someone else. Their various happy endings bring neatness but less joy than Austen's. A questionable remake of a classic, honorably undertaken, but coarser and less comic than the original--unsurprisingly.
Wall Street Journal
“Her books are . . . readable without being trivial, accessible without being pat, psychologically astute without being labored.”
People
“Trollope is at her best analyzing the complex strands of DNA that bind families-and sometimes threaten to strangle them.”
The New Yorker
“[Trollope] aims for the heart… and she hits it.”
The Times (London)
“Trollope is brilliant at swooping in on a modern dilemma and showing it from everyangle… Inventive, surprising and fascinating.”
Sunday Times (London)
“Supremely sure of her material and purpose, compassionate but never sentimental.”
The Independent
“Joanna Trollope is the most emotionally intelligent of contemporary British novelists.”
New York Times Book Review
“Like a good kitchen chat, Joanna Trollope’s novels dish out equal measures of reassuring warmth and sobering insight....... [Her] gift is her ability to capture far-flung perspectives with compassion.”
The Guardian (London)
“As ever, Trollope writes about family life with wit, intelligence and verve.”
Mail on Sunday (London)
“Wonderfully and compulsively readable. She can be as subtle as Austen, as sharp as Brontë. Trollope’s brilliant.”
Washington Post
“Trollope is as poised and intricate a portraitist as her famous novelist ancestor, Anthony Trollope.”
Sophie Kinsella
“Jane Austen’s story and Joanna Trollope’s voice make the perfect marriage. I loved every page. It’s witty and fresh, whilst completely respecting the original, timeless story. What a delight!”
Booklist
“By updating Austen’s first published novel to reflect modern slang, dress, and conveniences, Trollope brings an accessibility to this romantic comedy of manners that may appeal to the Bridget Jones crowd.”
The Observer
“Trollope has clearly had enormous fun with her updating, and part of the delight for the reader is wondering what she’s going to do next.”
Daily Mail (London)
“You don’t have to have read the original Sense & Sensibility to enjoy this breezy new take on Austen’s 1811 debut….Wittily, stylishly and sensitively written with lots of delicious upmarket detail. A must for Trollope and Austen fans alike.”
Cosmopolitan
“Jane Austen’s bestie sisters ditch the corsets (but keep the Downton-style estate) in a 2013 take on Sense & Sensibility.”
Stylist
“A bloody good read. From Twitter and Taylor Swift to the lure of the wrong man, the Dashwood girls, who I still can’t help but love, are drawn to painterly perfection by Trollope; their dreams and dramas as real as they were in 1811.”
Woman and Home
“Jane Austen’s tale of two sisters is vividly brought into the 20th century by one of our best-loved storytellers.”
Various
PRAISE FOR JOANNA TROLLOPE
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“Trollope is a gifted chronicler of modern life and mores; she also clearly knows and appreciates Austen’s world. Her update retains the essence of the characters Austen created...with a true Janeite’s dry sense of humor and the occasional sly reference to the original.”
Boston Globe
“A fizzy, pop-fiction Jane Austen update....Trollope’s comic romp is a satisfying tribute….When Sir John arrives to invite the displaced family to live at Barton Cottage, he gets his laptop out and plays a slideshow of the house. ‘It’s a charmer,’ he tells them. Likewise Trollope’s book.”
The Guardian
“In many ways, Trollope and Austen are a natural marriage….The moments in which she moves away from the original are satisfying, and well chosen….The fidelity of the retelling has clever consequences.”
Library Journal
Right now reboots are all the rage, what with Shakespeare in California kitchens (Joss Whedon's Much Ado about Nothing) and Superman sans his red trunks (Man of Steel). Now it's Jane Austen's turn. In the first in a projected series in which Austen's novels will be updated by contemporary authors, Trollope is a good (and bankable) choice to lead off. With almost 20 novels to her credit, she certainly outdistances our Jane, at least in terms of quantity, and her satires on British society have invited comparison with Austen in the past. Trollope's take on Austen's Sense and Sensibility hews closely to the original plot, with some characters, e.g., youngest sister Margaret, blossoming in the retelling. While some equivalents (the gift of a horse becomes the gift of a motor car) seem almost too pat, the satire directed at these Thames Valley girls (at one point Elinor huffily defriends Edward Ferrars) and their elders largely hits the sweet spot. VERDICT This will more than satisfy Trollope fans as well as most Austen devotees; with its sprightly mix of the old and new told in streamlined prose (most of the paragraphs might be tweeted), this twice-told tale highlights the issue of what has changed in 200 years, and what has remained constant.—Bob Lunn, Kansas City, MO
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062200464
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/29/2013
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 76,143
  • Product dimensions: 9.28 (w) x 6.40 (h) x 1.24 (d)

Meet the Author

JOANNA TROLLOPE is the #1 bestselling author of eighteen novels, including The Soldier's Wife, Daughters-in-Law and Friday Nights. Her works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages, and several have been adapted for television. She was appointed to the Order of the British Empire in 1996 for her services to literature, and she lives in London and Gloucestershire.

Visit Joanna online: joannatrollope.com
"Like" Joanna on Facebook: Joanna Trollope

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 11, 2013

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A "modern&

    Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings

    A "modern" re-telling of the classic that sort of fell flat for me.  First, let me say that I must admit that I have not read the original, but am a fan of Austen and mostly enjoy her work, so I went into this with high hopes that I would enjoy a modernization.  

    For me it fell flat when parts of it felt very modern with Twitter, Facebook and cars, but then at the same moment there were parts that were stuck in the past - i.e. women fretting about living without a man and income and feeling unable to survive without a man and his income.  The cast of characters was huge and I was having a hard time connecting with any of them and becoming engaged with the central few.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 4, 2013

    Unlike some Jane Austen lovers, I have never minded re-tellings,

    Unlike some Jane Austen lovers, I have never minded re-tellings, imagined sequels, or even parodies
    of her masterpieces. I even managed to get through the one that had Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy
    battling zombies. My major criticism of that author's efforts had nothing to do with the presence of the
    walking dead, but rather his leaden and unimaginative characterization of certain of Miss Austen's
    most extraordinarily well-drawn creations. However, there was a strange affinity between
    Pride & Prejudice, one of Austen's most comedic works, and the irreverence of the modern
    brain-munching mash-up.

    Austen's Sense & Sensibility is a darker book. Its themes of avarice, beautified villainy, and the very
     real dangers to women of the author's era left impoverished by birth or circumstance show us a world
     far more dangerous than Meryton, Highbury or even the two-faced playground of Bath. In some ways,
    this makes the book more amenable to meaningful modernization. Anyone who has lived through
    even a portion of the 20th and 21st centuries understands how deeply a society can fail its people.

    Instead of interpreting the original against the mixed-bag of opportunity and inequity that is
    contemporary England--or any modern country--Joanna Trollope skims off the very top layer and
     hands it an mp3-player and keys to an SUV. While Elinor Dashwood, Edward Ferres and Bill Brandon
     retain some of the complexity that have made them so fascinating for two centuries, the others
     characters disappoint. Marianne, Margaret and Isabelle Dashwood, especially, are barely likable.
    They are petty and nasty and almost as unkind to the family offering them shelter (the Middletons,
    Mrs. Jennings) as the people who have supposedly treated them so poorly. Is an inheritance of
    200,000 pounds sterling (over $300,000 US)to women who are literate and basically able-bodied
     really impoverishment? Does it truly rip them from their social moorings the way it did to Austen's
    originals? These Dashwoods are eccentrics to begin with, bohemians who luck into life in a stately
    home. Austen's originals were fairly conventional--their class WAS the world as they knew it and lived
     in it.

    Other issues for me: Trollope making Marianne's asthma such an extreme case, which relieves both
    author and character of the responsibility of demonstrating genuine growth. John Willoughby is in and
    out of the picture so fast and so dramatically, that the reader can't even pretend along with Marianne
     that the relationship was based on anything more than her own fantasies. When Willoughby's biggest
     sin is revealed, it is so over-the-top, it cannot be reconciled with the wispy outline of the man we've
    been given. Here, at least, Trollope would have been better off sticking close to her model, an
    underage girl seduced, a baby abandoned, as big a tragedy now as in Jane Austen's time.

    The second half of the book is much richer than the first half, but that's Elinor truly shining,
    along with Marianne finally demonstrating some humanity, and the gruesome Steele sisters creating
    havoc. All good stuff that gave me lots of satisfaction as a reader. On the technical side, the second
    half didn't escape Trollope's tendency to separate speaker from dialogue.  Many times I had to re-read
    passages to figure
    out who said what. 

    Trollope's Sense & Sensibility isn't a bad book. It does misunderstand and misrepresent the original.  

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2013

    Slow to start but a good read

    I had the good fortune to be able to read an advance copy of this book. I was very excited to see a reboot of this Jane Austen story since all other modern retellings seem to focus on Pride and Prejudice.
    That said, it was a very litteral retelling. Yes, the setting, language, and to some extent the charactors are modern but things happened point by point almost exactly as the original. And in some ways this didn't make the story or characters as beleiveable since this seems slightly improbable in modern times. Because of this I had a hard time getting into the book and I didn't get hooked until about 1/2 way through. However, by the end of the book I still felt the same sort of attachment to the characters and story that I did after reading the original Austen.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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