Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

With only a day to spare, here is the poll-winning read for August. I can’t believe it took me so long to get to it!

So, most of you may already know what S&S is about, but just in case here’s the basics. Sisters Elinor and Marianne Dashwood are different as can be – Elinor is more reserved and calm, while Marianne is emotional and passionate. Both are unlucky in love, because Elinor is in love with a man already taken, and Marianne falls in love with a flighty, charming man. And through a lot of stress, social drama, and wit they both try to work towards their true loves. Ummm if you’re not already familar with the story, just beware I get a little spoiler-y from here on out cause you know, it’s a classic.

Soooo… I’ve seen the movie version of this a couple years ago (and I’m actually looking forward to re-watching it now that I’ve read the book). So I of course already knew the story the how it all works out, but I’m glad I read it. Now here’s the news that I’m sure will upset lots of Austen fans… this is my least favorite Austen novel so far. I only have one more to read, Mansfield Park, but so far I enjoyed this one the least. And I know that seems crazy, because it’s probably her 2nd most popular novel.

I still really enjoyed it because hey – it’s Austen. She’s a fantastic writer and she creates interesting characters. Elinor and Marianne are very different from each other, and each has their own admirable qualities. I REALLY liked the secondary characters in this novel – Mr. and Mrs. Palmer are great. Mrs. Palmer is excessively cheerful and happy, and Mr. Palmer is rude and grumpy. Mrs. Dashwood might be my favorite Austen mother so far – sure she was a bit overly emotional like Marianne, but she raised her daughters to believe in love and a happy marriage, not to “catch” a rich husband. She genuinely cared about her daughters and had some sense about her.

Okay now for the stuff that bugged me… I think that the romance here was really lacking. Elinor is in love with Edward Ferrars, but we don’t see much of Edward – and honestly the couple of times he pops up, he’s awkward. He’s a bad example of an Austen hero. Marianne falls in love with the dashing Mr. Willoughby, who turns out to be a complete dillhole – there was definitely some romance and flirtation between them, but it all falls apart. And later everyone is so willing to forgive Willoughby when he stops by near the end to try to rationalize his behavior. (Kind of reminds me of Frank Churchill in Emma.)

Now the thing that bugs me the most… I really like Colonel Brandon. He’s the hero that is actually around throughout a lot of the book, and who shows the most affection and romance even though he’s quiet about it. But here’s the thing – he’s in love with Marianne, but spends a whole lot of time with Elinor. Elinor mentions frequently mentions what a good man he is, even more often than her Edward. I’m kind of surprised Elinor didn’t fall in love with Colonel Brandon and vice versa. Anyways, whatever. That’s fine – Brandon and Marianne end up together, but their ENTIRE courtship and marriage get skipped over, and it’s mentioned in the last 3 pages that oh yeah, they’re married and living happily ever after right next to Elinor and Edward. Brandon is the biggest romantic in the book, but Austen skips over his love story. That was frustrating.

Anyways, this is still a good book and a worthwhile read, and I’ll probably re-read it some time down the road. It was just near the end that this little things started to build up and bug me.

Sarah Says: 3 stars

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5 comments

  1. You know, I’ve never really thought about Marrianne and Colonel Brandon’s love story getting skipped over. You see how everyone else in in prior relationships, but all you know about Brandon is that he had his heart broken. I do love him so.

    Also, I love that you used the word dillhole.

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    1. I think Colonel Brandon may be one of my favorite Austen heros… I just wish that his love story got told! LOL.

      I did wonder about the delicacy of using the word dillhole in my blog, but decided it was appropriate 🙂

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  2. I read this one years ago and with all the things you pointed out, I can’t help but feel a reread is due! Since I can’t really remember the details…

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  3. I haven’t read the book, but I saw the film, and I really liked Colonel Brandon, too. Too bad that all his courtship and marriage to Marianne is skipped over. I will try to read the book someday, nevertheless.

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