Monday, November 25, 2013

Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope - TLC Book Review

Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope
• Hardcover: 384 pages
• Publisher: Harper (October 29, 2013)

Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours
**FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of Sense & Sensibility from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  The review below and the opinions therein are my own and offered without bias.

Why? I've never read the orginal.  There, I've said it.  I was an English major too.  I feel like I'm admitting some sacrilige, but my literature emphasis area and love has always been American lit.  Forever I have meant to go back and read the Bronte and the Austen novels, but sadly, I just haven't.  When these newer versions starting popping up everywhere, I made a pact with myself that I would not read them until I read the originals.  I've kept that pact until now.  I had every intention too, of reading the original before Trollope's version as soon as I agreed to read and review it.  But, alas, I did not.  It will be interesting to see how my response to Trollope's version compares with those who HAVE read the original.

What Now?
Yeah, I'm gonna read the original.  I need to.  I have to.  What better time for the classics than the holidays? :)

Golden Lines

Elinor sometimes wondered how much time and energy the whole Dashwood family had wasted in crying. (6)

Elinor clamped an arm round her shoulders and held her hard.  It must be so awful, she often thought, she often thought, to take everything to heart so, as Marianne did; to react to every single thing that happened as if you were obliged to respond on behalf of the whole feeling world.  Holding her sister tight, to steady her, she took a breath.  (7)

Fanny had wanted a man and a big house with land and lots of money to run it and a child, preferably a boy.  And she had got them.  All of them.  And nothing, absolutely nothing, was going to stand in the way of her keeping them and consolidating them.  Nothing. (13)

However detestable Fanny had made herself since she arrived at Norland, all the Dashwoods were agreed that she had one redeeming attribute, which was the possession of her brother Edward. (23)

"Do you, Elinor Dashwood, picky spinster of this parish for whom no man so far seems to be remotely good enough, fancy this very appealing basket case called Edward Ferrars?" (26)

"Wouldn't it just completely piss off Fanny if you and Ed got together?" (27)

"Say it, Ellie, say it.  Say, 'You, Marianne, should not have sex with Wills in the house that's going to be his anyway, one day.' Just say it." (125)

"Why doesn't he ring? Marianne wailed.  Why doesn't he answer my emails?  Or my texts even?  Why doesn't he at least let me know he's alive?" (163)

"Actually," Lucy said, "he is my Ed." (172)

Marianne turned on her side to face Elinor.  She said, much more urgently, "Ellie, I've got to.  I am going mad here; it's like a kind of prison, a prison of boredom and nothingness.  I've got to know what's happening to him."
Elinor said, "Have you looked on Facebook?"
"He hasn't been on it.  He hasn't been on it since he left here.  He hasn't even changed his status from 'single'. (186)

"You poor dear, " Abigail had said to Elinor. "It always comes back to you, doesn't it?  The price o having your head screwed on the right way." (204)

"You're telling me that Wills has dumped Marianne for the daughter of a rich Greek he hardly knows?" (205)

"You wouldn't believe it," Charlotte Palmer said, "but it's all over YouTube already!  Someone must ahve been filming, on their phone, at the wedding.  Aren't people just the end?" (209)

Those Dashwood girls, Char, such sweeties, but really hopeless. So emotional. I suppose you only have to look at their mother, don't you?" (233)

"Poor buggers," he said, "the whole bloody lot of them.  What a nightmare." (308)

TLC Summary

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 with Belle Dashwood’s daughters. When she descends upon Norland Park with her Romanian nanny and her mood boards, the three Dashwood girls—Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret—are suddenly faced with the cruelties of life without their father, their home, or their money.
As they come to terms with life without the status of their country house, the protection of the family name, or the comfort of an inheritance, Elinor and Marianne are confronted by the cold hard reality of a world where people’s attitudes can change as drastically as their circumstances.
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. . . .

What I Liked

The ridiculousness of it all...for all its silliness, I think that's exactly what Trollope had in mind.  I do wish that I had read the original first though because I think I would have been in on more of the tongue in cheekiness.

What I Didn't Like

I'm a little bit of a cynic where all this smoochy, smoochy, googly eyes are concerned, and before I reached 100 pages, I was rolling my eyes.  Oy.

Belle - gracious alive, what a meddling mother!
Fanny - what an evil witch...and that husband of hers..yuck!

True love, treehouses, husband hunting, private schools, cottages, lordships and ladyships and all the relatives in between are quaint and lovely in period pieces, but those same things didn't work for me in this twenty-first century re-telling.  

Most of the men in this story...why in the world these girls were pining over them I haven't a clue.

Overall Recommendation

I will be interested to find out how other bloggers who read the Austen classic will respond to Trollope's take on the Dashwoods, their extended families, and their all out obsession with who would marry who.  

The Author

Joanna Trollope is the #1 bestselling author of eighteen novels, including The Soldier’s Wife, Daughters-in-Law, Friday Nights, The Other Family, Marrying the Mistress, and The Rector’s Wife. Her works have been translated into more than twenty-five languages and several have been adapted for television. She was appointed to the Order of the British Empire in 1996 for her services to literature, and served as the Chair of Judges for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012. She lives in London and Gloucestershire.

Other Stops on the Tour

Tuesday, October 29th: BookNAround
Wednesday, October 30th: Diary of an Eccentric
Thursday, October 31st: Savvy Verse & Wit
Friday, November 1st: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, November 5th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, November 6th: Lavish Bookshelf
Thursday, November 7th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, November 11th: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, November 12th: BoundbyWords
Wednesday, November 13th: Book-alicious Mama
Thursday, November 14th: Kahakai Kitchen
Monday, November 18th: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
Tuesday, November 19th: Alison’s Book Marks
Wednesday, November 20th: A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, November 25th: Peppermint PhD
Tuesday, November 26th: A Reader of Fictions
Wednesday, November 27th: guiltless reading
Thursday, November 28th: Excellent Library


  1. Hahaha ... googly eyes? Yuck??? ;)

    I wanted to read this because I thought it might push me to read the original :) Let's see when I get around to the original!

    1. Christmas holidays are good for classics, and I usually get a couple read. This one is not at the top of my list though :( Looking forward to your review :)

  2. I did not read any of the classics in school either - in high school I opted for AP science which led to scheduling issues that put me in remedial English in 11th and 12th grade. Tell me that wasn't fun, fun, fun. I finally read my way through Austen on a vacation in Hawaii and I do mean read my way through - I bought a book of all her works. I do not recommend this as they are really all the same plot. I suspect they are better read at a distance from each other to better appreciate the characters. I did not choose to read this one for reasons I can't remember. Probably an overload on my schedule as per usual.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    1. I have tried several times to read Pride and Prejudice :( I finally bought the beautiful annotated edition that came out a couple of Christmases ago, thinking I would enjoy it more from a literary analysis, study in Brit Lit type of perspective. Unfortunately, I also bought an annotated edition of Dracula which I LOVE, LOVE, LOV, and Pride and Prejudice, once again, got pushed to the backburner!

      Happy Thanksgiving to you as well, Patty...give the goats a hug from me!

  3. I have to admit that I have never read the original Austen book ... I HAVE seen the movies though. :) I'm interested to read this adaptation though!

    Thanks for being on the tour.