Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope

Publisher Harper Collins launched the Austen Project this winter with the publishing of six novels. Six authors re-wrote a Jane Austen novel in present time, with modern twists.
Trollope has re-written Sense & Sensibility around the Dashwood sisters Marianne & Elinor , with an annoying bit part for Maggie, the youngest. When their father Henry dies quite suddenly, leaving mother Belle high & dry with no will, no money and no marriage certificate to boot, the step brother John and his awful wife Fanny ( a great play on words, because she is an ass!) kick them all out of the Norland manse to fend for themselves.
With no money, no jobs and no skills, the future looks pretty grim. A long lost, wealthy cousin rescues them and sets them up in a lovely house. ( But that doesn't keep them from continually whining about what they don't have)
 Older sister Elinor , the level headed one, gets a job and tries to support the new household. Mother Belle is an airhead who I don't think could hold a job, Marianne is an asthmatic who evidently is too sickly to work and Maggie is in school.
So, Belle sets to pushing the girls on to wealthy men to be married off..doesn't sound too modern, does it?  (At times, I did wonder if this novel was still written centuries behind present day) So both older girls get caught up in painful romances, Marianne gets devastated and depressed and Elinor won't let herself feel the pain.
Author Trollope does a great job at keeping true to Austen's story although now & again she does manage to get in a few good licks of her own.  We all know the story, I really was surprised that Trollope kept my interest.
What I decided after I read it, was that it could very well stand on it's own without the "Austen" provenance. I enjoyed it, but I think I enjoyed it because I let the whole Austen thing go.

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