Jane Austen’s novels are all getting an update as part of the Austen project. Joanna Trollope has started this project with a new update of Sense and Sensibility. The story is the same as Austen’s, but now set in modern times. Henry Dashwood has his tragic early death at the beginning of the novel, but he was not technically married to Mrs. Dashwood and the estate was left to the Dashwood girls’ half-brother, John.
Marianne is now a young asthmatic girl who falls madly in love with John Willoughby. Poor Elinor is the only one trying to keep everything together. She can’t finish her architecture degree, but does get a job with the help of Colonel Brandon to help support her family.
The most interesting part of the novel to me was seeing my favorite characters in a modern light. Marianne seems so rude and ungrateful, making fun of pretty much everyone in the novel. She did this in the original, and somehow I didn’t think much of it. Now she just seems really rude and spoiled to me. In a modern light, the ladies (besides Elinor) seem rather thoughtless, especially when they can’t get their act together and help Elinor support them. Particularly Bella Dashwood.
One interesting aspect for me is that I’m currently listening to The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things by Paula Byrne. Byrne goes into detail about the Sensibility movement during the Georgian Period of Austen’s lifetime. In that period of time, people loved melodrama, but there was also perhaps a mental illness side of the melodrama. Did Marianne suffer from Manic-Depression? It is interesting to think and seemed very applicable to this novel.
Bill (Colonel) Brandon comes off as such a great character in this book, but Ed (Edward) is a bit of a wet noodle. I loved Trollope’s ending of the book. It was unique and different, and fantastic!
Overall, I loved this book and sped through it. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series.
Book Source: The Kewaunee Public Library