Elizabeth Quinn's Reviews > The Three Weissmanns of Westport

The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine
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Aug 11, 11

Read from August 08 to 10, 2011

Jane Austen updates continue to be popular, and Cathleen Schine weighs in here with her modern Manhattanite update of Sense and Sensibility with the story of Betty Weissmann, dumped for a younger woman after nearly 50 years of marriage, and her two daughters, a pair of middle-aged women with problems of their own. The elder, Annie, stands in here for Sense and Austen's Elinor. She's a single mother of two 20-something sons who works in a private library in Manhattan, harbors a tendresse for a famous author, and must hold things together financially and emotionally for her mother and younger sister. The younger sister, Miranda, stands in here for Sensibility and Austen's Marianne. She's a successful literary agent specializing in sensational memoirs whose career implodes after a succession of her authors turn out to be tellers of very bogus tales. When their mother is forced out of her elegant Manhattan apartment by the machinations of the other woman, Annie and Miranda accompany her to the crumbling seaside cottage in Westport CT loaned to them by their big-hearted but gauche Cousin Lou. The story moves through all of Austen's plot points, sometimes with startlingly original twists, and Schine's a good writer who reminds me very much of Elinor Lippman -- she's funny, she keeps her plot moving, and her characters and their worlds are very well drawn. However, this is a beach read -- a very fun and well-written beach read -- and a very slight shadow of the Austen's original.

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