Monday, December 16, 2013

"sense & sensibility" by joanna trollope

About the book (from the publisher): 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....

My take: I am usually all about adaptations of classic literature, so I jumped at the chance to read Joanna Trollope's modernization of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. I was so intrigued by the idea—how would Trollope transport the Dashwood family to modern-day England? Unfortunately, the idea was better than the execution. Sense & Sensibility is almost a straight retelling of the Austen classic. Yes, there are changes to make the plot more modern (the girls' mother was not ever married to their father, Willoughby "Wills" is not only a philanderer but also a drug dealer, Elinor has a career), but so often the aspects that serve to remind the reader that the story takes place today—mentions of Twitter, Facebook, Hummers, etc.—seem completely out of place and do nothing to advance the plot. While Elinor does get a job (and feels most like a "modern" character), the rest of the women seem firmly stuck in the past, bemoaning their man troubles and utterly incapable of taking care of themselves. Really, the minor details are modernized while most of the plot and characters remain the same as in the original, making for an odd mishmash of a book.

The book is quite long, and I soon found myself skimming, all the while dreaming of the moment I could put the book down and pop in my DVD of the fabulous BBC production starring Dan Stevens (better known as the dearly departed Matthew Crawley). Watching the film would have been a much better use of my time.

My rating: 2 stars

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About the author: Joanna Trollope has been writing fiction for more than 30 years. Some of her best known works include The Rector's Wife (her first #1 bestseller), A Village Affair, Other People's Children, and Marrying the Mistress. She was awarded the OBE in the 1996 Queen's Birthday Honors List for services to literature. She lives in England.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product free for review from through it's Vine reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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