Reviewed December 2, 2013.
Harper, 2013. 362 pages. Starred Review
2013 Sonderbooks Stand-out: #4 Fiction
Sense & Sensibility, by Joanna Trollope, is simply a modern retelling of Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility. You come away from it feeling like this is exactly how Jane Austen would have written it if she were writing today. There are no gimmicks. And don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the gimmicks -- like a science fiction retelling of Persuasion. But this is the same story told in modern times.
And I loved it! Sense and Sensibility is not one of my favorite Austen books, but even knowing what would happen, this one kept me up reading all through the night. A little thing that bugged me in Jane Austen's version -- that Marianne is so fragile she gets sick if she gets wet -- was nicely explained by Marianne's asthma, which is what killed their father.
I don't have to tell you the plot, because this is really for people who've already read Jane Austen's version. Joanna Trollope did a magnificent job of modernizing it to today's situations and sensibilities.
As I write this review, I looked at the website mentioned on the flap, theaustenproject.com, and I learn that this is the first of Jane Austen's six novels to be rewritten. I'm not sure how I will feel when they start tackling my favorites, like Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion, but this first one is so excellent, that bodes well for the rest of the series.