Now, this post is one I’ve had stored away for months. I intended to finish and then post this review not too long after I’d finished the book, but alas, time got away from me. And now that the next installment in the Austen Project is now out, I should get on with it!
So, a much belated review of:
Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope.
I read this when I was on a bit of an Austen role, I had just read Austenland by Shannon Hale and had been watching quite a few BBC period dramas, Lost in Austen and Mansfield Park among them.
As previously mentioned, this remake of Jane Austen’s first was part of a project called The Austen Project, which was created to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice. Unfortunately, I’ve never really gotten around to reading all of/finishing the original Sense and Sensibility. Terrible, I know. I have however, seen various television recreations plenty of times. So I at least have a general idea of the characters, plot, storyline, ending etc.
Trollope’s version was certainly very similar to the original, which was both good and bad.
Good because then I knew exactly who was going to end up with whom, what was happeneing etc.
Bad because I knew everything that was going to happen!
Trollope’s writing was absolutely lovely to read, and I really think she captured Austen’s wit and charm very well. I’ve never read any of Trollope’s other books, but I definitely will in the future after having now been introduced to her writing.
The one thing that annoyed me was a constant use of Italics. I enjoy a good italicised word as much as the next person, but wow, were there a lot in this book. Seeing as I read this book at the end of last year (Really Imogen? This post is so late!) I can’t quite remember who was the main culprit, but I’m fairly certain it was Margaret, the youngest sister. She was always saying “Oh yes, but really mamma! Must we go visit the Middleton’s?” “How positively boring!” “How utterly unbelieveable Elinor!” Normally I wouldn’t pay much/any attention to words being italisiced but this was constant. At one point I actually flipped through the book and checked a few pages at random and every single one had at least one italicised word. It become a bit of a game to find a page that didn’t have one!
The other issue I had was, I wish the story had been just slightly different from the original. For example, the ending could have been the same, but perhaps the lead up to it could have been reached differently?
Some things also didn’t particularly fit into a modern, 21st Century setting. The main example being the removal of the Dashwood’s from their home. In the original, Mr Dashwood’s only son, from a previous relationship takes over the house and basically kicks them out. Which, while not very nice, is perfectly plausible as he was the heir to the estate and could do with the house and its tenants as he wished. In the modern setting, while John and Belle Dashwood were not married, they had still been together for around twenty years. Surely, this counts for something in this day and age?
Belle and Marianne were particularly annoying characters who JUST NEEDED TO GET JOBS AND QUIT COMPLAINING. Once again, in the original, Mrs Dashwood would not have gotten a job, as this was just not what happened. But with this contemporary setting, it frustrated me how ok with taking advantage of the Middleton’s Belle was, when she was in charge of looking after and providing for her family and thus, should’ve gotten a job!! Elinor was far too nice to them!
Right, I think I’ve done enough complaining. It actually makes it look like I didn’t really enjoy the book, but I did! I really did! It was a nice, easy read that was further improved by Trollope’s lovely writing. And like I said, I really liked knowing who everyone was going to end up with in the end, despite all their various troubles.
I did enjoy this book and I did recommend it to several customers!
Overall Rating: 3/5
Up next: Northanger Abbey
I am really looking forward to Val McDermid’s version of Northanger Abbey which came out last month and looks AWESOME. She appears to have strayed a bit from the original, which should be good :)