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Sense & Sensibility Hardcover – October 29, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
(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.)
Music is listened to with ear buds attached to iPods, gossip is passed via texts on smartphones, and scandal is exploited through viral videos on YouTube. Other than that, Trollope’s reworking of Austen’s classic stays true to the original. The Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, are still hopeless and helpless in affairs of the heart. Marianne still endangers her health and reputation by pining over the nefarious John “Wills” Willoughby, while Elinor still sends and receives mixed messages from the equally hapless Edward Ferrars. Variously supported and undermined by their more financially secure and socially connected relatives—John and Fanny Dashwood and the entire Millington clan down in Devon—the Dashwood women somehow still manage to have things turn out all right in the end. 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. True Austen fans, however, will undoubtedly still prefer the original. --Carol Haggas
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I like most of Trollope's ther books....and thought she was a good choice to write this. Unfortunately, the story just does not translate well to current times in spite of her efforts.
Some parts just seemed awkward when made "current." For example, Edward comes off as odd and weak instead of sensitive. The very idea that he plans to keep a promise to marry Lucy (the promise made in secret when they were younger) when he does not love her, much less LIKE her falls flat in today's world.
With the characters using Facebook, email, and texting, communication issues don't make a lot of sense, as they did in the 19th century. And picturing Marianne playing the guitar instead of the piano, was odd. Perhaps a cello would have been better or a violin?
I finished the book with a feeling of a let-down. I couldn't think of ways to make it better and I wonder how the Austen project will handle PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Instead of this book, I'd advise folks to go back and read the original.
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This story is simply painful.Read more