Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Sense & Sensibility

Rate this book
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. Re-imagining 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. . . .

362 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2013

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Joanna Trollope

133 books533 followers
Joanna Trollope Potter Curteis (aka Caroline Harvey)

Joanna Trollope was born on 9 December 1943 in her grandfather's rectory in Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, England, daughter of Rosemary Hodson and Arthur George Cecil Trollope. She is the eldest of three siblings. She is a fifth-generation niece of the Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope and is a cousin of the writer and broadcaster James Trollope. She was educated at Reigate County School for Girls followed by St Hugh's College, Oxford. On 14 May 1966, she married the banker David Roger William Potter, they had two daughters, Antonia and Louise, and on 1983 they divorced. In 1985, she remarried to the television dramatist Ian Curteis, and became the stepmother of two stepsons; they divorced in 2001. Today, she is a grandmother and lives on her own in London.

From 1965 to 1967, she worked at the Foreign Office. From 1967 to 1979, she was employed in a number of teaching posts before she became a writer full-time in 1980. Her novel Parson Harding's Daughter won in 1980 the Romantic Novel of the Year Award by the Romantic Novelists' Association.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
3,412 (23%)
4 stars
4,257 (28%)
3 stars
4,241 (28%)
2 stars
1,842 (12%)
1 star
969 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,304 reviews
Profile Image for Leah.
1,384 reviews209 followers
October 7, 2013

Warning! This review may involve wailing and gnashing of teeth, not to mention cursing...of both kinds. Persons of a sensitive disposition may wish to look away now. And on the assumption that no-one will be interested in this who doesn't know the original, there are some mild spoilers...

The Austen project is a strange little idea to rewrite all the Austen novels for a modern age. Why? It certainly can't be because the originals are unreadable - I'd imagine they are more popular today than they have ever been. One can only assume they see it as a money-spinner. I'm delighted to say I got this book free - and even then it was too expensive.

The original Sense and Sensibility deserves its place as a classic because of the light it casts on the restricted lives and opportunities of the sons and daughters of the 'gentry' in Jane Austen's time. This fake S&S concentrates on the same class, but is set in the present day. Unfortunately, society has changed so much that the premise doesn't work. In order to make the story fit into today's England - where opportunity for the middle-classes is almost infinite, where women are freer and more equal than they have ever been and where the norm is for people without money to do that revolutionary thing and get a job - Trollope has decided to make most of the characters completely feckless and thus entirely unsympathetic.

He gave an almost imperceptible smirk. ‘The obigations of the heir…’
‘Oh my God,’ Marianne exclaimed. ‘Are you the heir to Allenham?’
He nodded.
‘So fortunate,’ Belle said dazedly.
Marianne’s eyes were shining.
‘So romantic,’ she said.

The story begins with the Dashwood family losing their home at Norland. Not because it's entailed - oh, no! Because Mr Dashwood never bothered to marry Mrs Dashwood (Belle, heaven help us!) and so his great-uncle left the house to his legitimate nephew rather than his illegitimate nieces. Already I'm wondering what society this reflects? Certainly not the one I live in, which stopped giving a...fig...about legitimacy back sometime in the seventies and where even the crown is now allowed to pass down the female line. To make it work, Trollope has had to make it overly complex and unbelievable...and we're only at Chapter 1.

So the poor Dashwoods, with only £200,000 and a modern cottage given to them by other rich relatives, have to face up to living within straitened means. Why? Has the concept of going to work never occurred to any of them? Poor Elinor has to give up Uni. Why? Can't she get a student loan and live in a bedsit like everyone else? To be fair, she does get her rich relatives to pull strings to get her a job. But the rest whine endlessly about lack of money making me want to a) hit them collectively over the head with a brick and b) explain that living in a four-bedroom cottage, running a car and popping up to London every weekend to go to parties isn't really poverty!

Then we have Marianne (M!) - in this version a hysterical maniac, rather than the overly emotional but sweet and loving girl of the original. Suffering from constant asthma attacks (presumably because when we get a cold these days, we just take paracetemol and get on with it), she spends her time wheezing, gasping, sobbing, throwing tantrums and being revoltingly rude to everyone and yet being so lovely throughout that no man can withstand her (invisible) charm. To explain this strange anomaly, Trollope tells us approximately 15,000 times that M is stunningly gorgeous, even whilst receiving Intensive Care. I shall brush quietly past the sex episode...

Shall I tell you about Wills(!)? Of course, single motherhood tends not to lead to death these days, so how does Ms Trollope resolve this conundrum and ensure that we understand that he's a bad lot? Well, by making Wills, (who's not just the 'hottest boy in the county', by the way, but a complete 'shagbandit' - charming) into a drug-pusher! Yes, little Eliza is a junkie...

Pah! I can't bear to talk about this monstrosity any longer. I will leave you to imagine whingy Ellie, pathetic Ed, and Mags, the nightmare teenager with an iThing habit. I will ignore the fact that all the married women stay at home to look after their children. I will pretend I didn't notice that we now have a Wills, a Harry and - yep, that's right - the Middletons. I won't even mention the youtube 'trolling' incident...and I refuse to think about the gay party-planner, Robert Ferrars, and his marriage of convenience...

‘One hundred parties in the last year!’ Mrs Jennings said. ‘Incredible. That’s one party every three nights that wouldn’t have happened without him!’
‘Too silly,’ Lucy said, looking straight at Elinor. ‘Brainless. My poor Ed must be cringing.’
‘Amaze,’ Nancy said from the sofa. ‘Amazeballs.’
Elinor took a step back.
‘Well, I suppose it’s good to be good at something.’

A fake book that tells us nothing authentic about today's society - might work as a fluffy romance (except aren't you supposed to like the heroines in them?) but doesn't work as a serious novel, isn't funny enough to be a comedy and is an insult rather than an homage to a great classic. Read at your peril...

NB This book was provided for review by Amazon Vine UK.

Profile Image for Bebe (Sarah) Brechner.
399 reviews17 followers
December 16, 2013
Not worthy - even in the capable hands of Joanna Trollope, this retelling of Austen's classic is just chick lit pablum. And there is no way I'd ever characterize Austen's work as such!

I've always enjoyed Trollope's work, but here, she brings none of her usual finely drawn characters and subtle commentary on contemporary life. Austen's characters come across as useless, helpless, dependent, complaining women - because you cannot bring 1811-era characters and situations into the 21st century by just adding a few external details such as texting, viral videos, and internet access. The social landscape is quite different now, as are women's situations, but here Trollope takes the easy way and simply tries to transpose most everything into a contemporary setting, creating a failed effort.

A deeper and more satisfying, but ultimately more difficult, attempt would be to use Austen's story as a jumping off point and develop an Austen-style commentary for today's world. This is the first of the series. I doubt if I will read any others, as I would have thought that Trollope would be the best for this. Sadly disappointed.
Profile Image for Nicolette.
452 reviews14 followers
December 25, 2013
I appreciate the mission of the Austen project, but this story was not successful for two main reasons. First, the was an element of forced modernization - a mention of an iPad or Facebook seemed to exist just for the sake of reminding the reader of the time period regardless of if it interrupted the flow of the dialogue. Secondly, other than the haphazard mention of electronics, the story was not modernized. Things like a 16 year old swooning to get married or being connected on Facebook but failing to learn of someone engagement for months just wouldn't happen. The plot needed to be adjusted enough to be believable. The original story, written in a time where trips across the country took weeks and letters were the primary means of communication, doesn't carry over.
Profile Image for Melindam.
631 reviews273 followers
June 15, 2020
I tried to write a proper review for this book, but realised I just could not be bothered.

Suffice to say that I hated it with a vengeance. The 1 star is for the nice cover, but obviously that cannot counterbalance the abysmal content.

The article Modernising Jane Austen: 10 traps to avoid [The Guardian] by the excellent John Mullan says it all, no need to add anything from my side. I just wish all authors on the Jane Austen bandwagon would read & heed it.
73 reviews2 followers
May 8, 2014
I absolutely love this Austen Project thing. It's so much more respectful to the original books, which are brilliant, than all this cheap sea monster nonsense, and has the potential to actually introduce Jane Austen's stories to an audience who might not have the patience to wade through the very classic nature of the original writing.

I thought Sense and Sensibility would probably be one of the harder and more interesting updates, given so much of the story revolves around inheritances and moral scandals and all the sorts of things we don't care a fig about these days. What I wasn't expecting was that the author wouldn't try.

The characters of the new S&S read very much like they were transported directly from the time of the original novel and are gradually adapting by taking on all the worst characteristics of the modern world. Everyone talks and thinks in awful, stuffy language, except of course when someone says something utterly cringeworthy like 'totes adorbs' to remind you that this is 2013. They also act inexplicably like they just stepped out of that old world with all its old attitudes. There is some waffling at the start about how the Dashwood girls' parents were never married, which is why they end up being turfed out of the house they have lived in for years.

...Wait, this is 2013, right?

Even worse, everyone is obsessed with big houses that have ridiculous names and refers to them by name all the time. Clearly the author couldn't think of an equivalent ridiculous thing that real modern middle-class people do.

And then, of course, the transplanted Dashwoods are an utterly unsympathetic lot. In the original story, they were to be pitied because they were women, and there was only so much women could do to alter the course of their lives in those times. In the new S&S, they come across as utterly lazy and far more opportunistic than the 'gold-digger' women of the original, who after all weren't in the position that 'Belle' Dashwood et al. are in to find a job. I actually felt I was on the side of John and Fanny, the 'evil' stepfamily who toss them out. After all, the house is not theirs and they could never have afforded the upkeep of it had they gone on as they were. Of course, they end up moving on to the charity of other relatives, with very little gratitude besides.

Marianne, who was a bit of an ass in the original, is now an outright bitch. But of course, because she's beautiful, nobody calls her out on this behaviour. Even when she is at a dinner party rolling her eyes and muttering sarcastic things about people in their presence, everyone just laughs about how adorable she is. And, of course, her older man, Bill Brandon, thinks she's just wonderful. FOR NO REASON. Well, it's suggested that he may have a thing for tragic idiotic girls, which would be credible if he weren't old enough and experienced enough to know better than to act on that.

Elinor, at least, recognises that sacrifices need to be made and finds work for herself along with the family's new life. But it is really utterly impossible to sympathise with her relationship problems. For a start, she's obsessed with an idiot. This incarnation of Edward Ferrars seems utterly suited to Marianne, in that for most of his time on the pages he just moons around mumbling about how he wants to do good in the world and complaining that nobody will give him a chance, even though he refuses to put his mind towards earning any qualifications that would make him useful. He is supposed to be a tragic figure because his mother is kind of a bitch and keeps carrying on about how he should marry rich girls and do something with his life. This is why, even though he is smitten with Elinor, he won't do anything about it. Frankly the guy needs to grow a pair and do what he wants, although presumably his other problem is not wanting to do what's necessary to get the money that requires if he loses Mummy's support.

In spite of all this embarrassing moaning and moping and shiftlessness, Elinor quietly worships the guy. You'd think the sun shone out of his arse. But part of that is probably that she is just as bad when it comes to standing up for herself. She quits her architecture course without a fight when it becomes apparent nobody else in the family will earn money, even though it would make far more sense to complete it. She tolerates so much nonsense that her eventual refusal to take any more is a relief for the poor exasperated reader more than a liberating moment for her.

Worst, she is utterly unwilling to set any sort of standard or direction for her relationship with Edward. She allows him to show up and moon over her whenever he likes even though he won't stand up for his feelings for her to anyone in his family. Of course she's not okay with this, but instead of taking a stand she does ridiculous passive-aggressive things like refusing to contact him on Facebook and being surly to him when he does show up. And then, she has the nerve to be outraged when she finds out that Lucy Steele has managed to get a whole secret engagement out of him!

I never did work out why I was supposed to hate this Lucy. It seemed like the only justification was that everyone knew Edward really wanted to be with Elinor. But, really, all the guy had to do was tell Lucy if he didn't want to be engaged, right? And why did she have justification to think they were engaged in the first place? Apparently it all has to do with some night when Edward was really drunk and there was, presumably, either an accidental proposal or sex, of which the latter seems more likely. (Elinor helpfully works out the sex is what must have happened, although I don't think we are ever told if she is correct.) But how sex leads to a secret engagement is something I seem to have missed, since Lucy is not pregnant or likely any more defiled than she already was. This is 2013!

From what we are told, it seems like Lucy threatened to blurt all sorts of things out to people, but frankly all he had to do was not agree to marry her. He might have ended up breaking with her family, but he still had Elinor's family, right? Frankly, the only reason she was threatening him with anything was either because she knew he'd never stand up to her, which is most likely, or because she genuinely thought they had a thing, in which case expecting him to fess up at some point was reasonable. Right, Elinor?

Anyway, he does fess up when it all comes out, and there is a horrible confused moment where everyone thinks he has actually gone through with the wedding only for it to turn out that Lucy has run off with his gay brother. No, really.

At this point, having lost his disappointing his family with his choice in future wives virginity, he comes crawling back to Elinor. He is as surprised as me when she agrees to marry him. I mean, how little respect can you have for yourself, girl? This guy was only willing to ruin both your lives because of some unspecified point of honour. That's not noble in the modern age. It's just... well, idiotic. She even falls for his line about coming to her with an aquamarine engagement ring because he wants to make sure she 'knows he's serious'. Seriously too broke and incompetent to buy a proper diamond more like, although, as refreshingly not boy-crazy youngest sister Margaret reflects, it's basically the same thing but blue.

I could go on about the lame attempts to use Margaret to show off how IT'S 2013! and we have teh social mediaz! despite these things having little bearing on the story at all. I could complain about the lost opportunity to show how Marianne and The Older Man could actually be a passionate romantic match in a modern setting. (As it is, it's just Lolita complex-creepy.) I could point out (and am, I guess) that everyone keeps saying things 'slightly desperately', which is weird, and that that wasn't trolling. I think making Elinor into a weak idiot is unforgivable enough without all these other abominable missteps. Are we really all so overwhelmed by vampire romances these days that a girl can't carry a torch for a guy without losing her humanityhead?
Profile Image for Online Eccentric Librarian.
2,906 reviews5 followers
April 6, 2016

More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog http://surrealtalvi.wordpress.com/

Modern retellings of classic novels so often tend to lose the heart and soul of the original: the names are the same but the story only has basic plot similarities. Especially with Austen, so much of the wit and pathos of the novel can be lost at the hands of authors of lesser talent.

Not so with Joanna Trollope's very modern but also very layered retelling of Sense and Sensibility. This is a thoroughly enjoyable book with depth and interest, well written and with quite a few very astute observations on her characters, especially in their translation to a modern milieu.

Trollope keeps most of the story intact but through careful selection of social situations, jobs, social media, and the modern trappings of a 21st century England, the transition is smooth and the character not only remain intact but also fully fleshed and interesting. Rest assured, the novel is very well written, the author has more than just read the books, she's analyzed them and brought in her own thoughts on the characters as well. E.g., one of my favorite lines from the book is a succinct observation on Willoughby through his car, a fancy Aston: "he likes a fantasy of a good thing......I mean, that it's probably leased. No many people can buy a car like that."

There are many more observations about the characters and their motivations. Edward comes out feeling even more like a sad sack while, in contrast, Bill Brandon is much more appealing and given more attention in this book than the Austen. As well, the girls' mother Belle, third sister Margaret, and the supporting characters are more fleshed out here and definitely feel very real and modern, despite keeping the heir/nobility/wealth trappings of Regency England.

In all, this was a thoughtful read but definitely not cumbersome or overly literate. In fact, I felt more like I was watching a movie than reading a book - the characters especially from the Ang Lee movie were in my head throughout. Sort of a Notting Hill meets Sense and Sensibility movies - in a good way.

For once, it was a pleasure to read a retelling of an Austen classic. Kudos to author Trollope for really understanding the characters and thinking through clearly their translation to a modern world.
Profile Image for Koeeoaddi.
465 reviews2 followers
June 12, 2016
Sorry. I really wanted to love this but could not get past page 75. I think the author's decision to try to stay close to the storyline and even the language of the original while updating it with jeans, iPods and artsy smocks just didn't work for me. If you can't give me something sharp and clever and new, like Amy Heckerling did with Emma in Clueless, then I'd just as soon re-read Jane Austen's masterpiece. For the umpteenth time.
Profile Image for Lee at ReadWriteWish.
613 reviews79 followers
February 18, 2014
Wow... So... The Austen Project is well-known authors rewriting the actual books for a modern audience. Unlike some of the other Austenesque books out there, they aren't adding vampires or murder mysteries or whatnot, just writing the same story and setting in the 2010s. And... Wow... Who'd have thought that someone of Trollope's reputation could update such a wonderful story and make it so so so so bad? Really who *would* have thought, given that there must be a team of editors working with these authors. No one was reading this and thought that maybe they needed to direct Trollope on another path? Like one going in an entirely different direction... Let me start at the beginning: I was so excited to see this book on offer at the library, and began to read even though I was already in the middle of reading some other books. At the end of chapter one I blinked, and then I blinked again, but read on, thinking I was terribly uncharitable and should give it more of a chance. After chapter two, my blinking had increased to some sort of deep sleep REM. After chapter three, I fired up the ipad and looked up some reviews to see if I was the only one sensing there was little sense in this version of Sense and Sensibility. I found many others had the same opinion. (I truly think there are some bogus reviews on this site to bump up the average. Average 3.3 stars? Really? There's like ten 1/5's in a row, you'd need about ten 5/5's in a row to get to that average. Who could give it 5/5?) Anyway, I plodded on for another couple of chapters, finally giving up and throwing this firmly into my 'did-not-finish' shelf. What's wrong with it, you ask. Wow... Where do I start? Modernising Austen, to me, doesn't mean using the exact same conflicts, tossing in a couple of trendy words to decorate the exact same dialogue, and exchanging the corsets for ipod headphones. To me, it's writing it so that a young person who has no idea about the plot/characters can pick it up, understand it without having to refer to a dictionary for words like 'entail', and appreciate the conflicts/hardships the characters are enduring. Instead we get bad fanfic which was published. Let's just look at chapter one, shall we? Henry Dashwood dies and his estate goes directly to his only legitimate son, John, because (insert shocked faces here) he had never married the mother of his 3 daughters. Yes, in this day and age it's a great scandal for someone to live with a man, have 3 children to that man, and never legally marry him. (Didn't you know this?) It's also apparently impossible for that said defacto wife, or her children, to take the new heir to court and fight for the estate legally. I have trouble getting past this point really. It's so ridiculous to think they had no rights as they'd apparently lived in the house (mansion apparently) for 20 odd years. Instead, they become destitute! Well, destitute with savings amounting to 200 thousand pounds, but apparently they can't rent a decent place in England with that sort of cash... Someone (probably Fanny) does suggest getting a job to pay for your new house's rent, but that's a horrid suggestion! And, even without these possibilities, there is apparently no pension/dole/social security/insurance/rent assistance/anything available in England today. How odd... The main problem with this scenario is that instead of feeling so horribly sad for the Dashwood women, as you do in the original, you now just want to slap them and give Fanny a high-five for her assertiveness. If you're going to write like Austen, you need to add some of the social issues of today, but there was none. If you're going to write like Austen, you need some subtlety, some wry humour, something... I did meet Edward, but I refused to read on to meet Colonel Brandon. The Colonel is one of my all time favourite literary characters and I despaired at what he might become in this version, or what he might be called. (Really, did no one suggest to Trollope that her choices of nicknames were just plain wrong?) Okay, I really need to stop ranting. Thank goodness this is a library book and I never paid good money for this. If you're young and don't understand the book, watch Emma Thompson's version, it will be much more satisfying.
Profile Image for Leo.
4,298 reviews385 followers
February 12, 2022
This wasn't the worst "modernized" version of a classic that I've read. But I didn't particular enjoy it either. Wasn't my cup of tea
Profile Image for Hayden.
Author 7 books161 followers
November 14, 2013
In theory, I abhor the idea of modernizing Austen: being a writer, I know I would hate people messing around with my books, throwing them in a different time period or (heaven forbid!) adding vampires or zombies or sea monsters to them or something. And why do you need to update stories I still find relevant today, anyway? However, in practice, I’ve read and watched my share of modernized Austen classics- I remember picking up Debra White Smith’s retellings a few years ago, and while I never did get into The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I have been (mostly) keeping up with Emma Approved. So when I first heard about Harper Collins “Austen Project” I was disdainful…but when I saw a copy of Sense and Sensibility at the library, I picked it up. Typical.

The Austen Project is an upcoming series of books setting Jane Austen’s books in modern day, the first of which, Sense and Sensibility, came out this year. I admit I was curious, but when I began to read I was instantly disappointed. Not from the fact that it was set in modern day, but the fact that according to today’s world, “modernized” might as well be synonymous with “inappropriate.” Aside from Marianne and Willoughby's (called “Wills” in this update) highly unacceptable relationship, there was language- and I mean language. Not so much so that it was on every page or something, but the actual words were very offensive (and I’m not talking about a D**n used a few times, either).

I also felt like something in the book was missing- I couldn’t put my finger on it until later. Though Austen never explicitly mentions God in her works, her characters operate in a very clear Christian worldview. Joanna Trollope takes away that entirely (even Edward, who wishes to become a pastor in the original, wishes to do something “public service-y” rather than religious in this modern story) And that really takes away from the book. It gives the allusion of this update being too much like the original and too little: the things don’t mesh together because of it. Their morals are different, so the idea of Willoughby getting a young girl pregnant is just not as appalling as in Austen’s classic. Instead, he gets her hooked on drugs because that’s so much worse, apparently. The Dashwood girls, frankly, aren’t as likable because their moral standards aren’t as high. The reason we love Jane Austen’s heroines and heroes are because they have flaws but at heart they’re good. Joanna Trollope lowers the level of their morals- which means she has to make the villains even worse to gain the reader’s appropriate reaction. For example, when Wills takes Marianne to see his home and they- ahem- become rather intimate (which was NOT in the original, my friends!), Elinor is upset not because of what they did, but because they did it secretly without his aunt’s knowledge. Because apparently it’s okay to have an inappropriate relationship if you keep it out in the open, but not if you use deception. It’s as if the author had to make excuses about why certain characters’ actions were wrong, because while they might have been scandalous back in Jane Austen’s day, today they’d garner nothing more than an eye blink.

And it was *too* much like Austen's classic in the fact that the author tried too hard to make certain plot points work that just *didn't* in modern society. Even the way the Dashwoods lost their house sort of had me scratching my head a little bit.

As far as this book was being advertised- as Jane Austen’s classic story with the addition of social media and technology- it wasn’t as overt as I was expecting. Marianne naturally texts Willoughby obsessively, while her hysterics at finding him in London end up on youtube (poor girl). Margaret fiddles with her earbuds and is a bit more on the bratty side than usual (although I was half afraid they would get rid of her character altogether). Practical Elinor is the one to get a job to support her family- unheard of in Austen’s classic but of course a very necessary and a believable addition here.

The thing is, because each of the novels in the “Austen Project” are being written by different authors, I would be willing to read more of the upcoming ones (albeit a bit nervously. If they end up changing Fanny Price’s character-!). However, I highly doubt I’ll ever pick up another book by Joanna Trollope.
Profile Image for Rikke.
615 reviews647 followers
August 31, 2016
As one of the reviewers before me have asked: why? Why was this book necessary? Why was it introduced as a modern retelling, when it in reality is the exact same story with an iPod and a Facebook profile thrown in once in a while? What is the point of this book? Why does it claim to be anything new?

I have read quite a lot of Austen fanfiction over the years. It is my favorite guilty pleasure. While the books seldom are great literature or even well-written, they're always a bit entertaining. Austen's universe of elegance, ballrooms, heroines and heroes are such a comforting world to escape into once in a while. I can easily understand Austen's popularity and the perpetual fascination of her novels. I am a part of the Austen craze myself.

In general I have low expectations for Austen fanfiction; I simply expect to be entertained. This version of "Sense & Sensibility" seemed as an interesting way to reinterpret Austen's classic story. After watching "The Lizzie Bennet Diaries" and "Emma Approved" on YouTube, I know how well Austen's stories can be translated into a contemporary setting; adding something new to the plotline without losing Austen's beautiful structure and storytelling.

This is why, Trollope's version of "Sense and Sensibility" was such a huge disappointment. She doesn't adapt the story to a modern society; she simply tell us a story we already know, and adds an awkward sprinkle of modern technology. Her only new addition is the occasional mention of text messages and Facebook stalking. The story remains the same, and while I do think integrity is a good thing, the story falls apart because of it.

Why, why, why would a family be so deprived of everything with the loss of a house? Why can't Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne just get a job? Why does Edward's mother focus so much on an advantageous marriage, when clearly her family has money enough? Why is the inheritance of property such a huge question? It doesn't seem reasonable in a modern frame. Neither does Marianne's constant swooning, and Willoughby's seemingly deep connection to a newly built cottage.

There's no reason in this. The novel isn't really modernized or reinvented - it is simply a write-off. While I can only imagine how daunting a task it must be to rewrite an Austen novel, too much integrity is the easiest choice. If I wanted to read a tale exactly similar to "Sense and Sensibility", I would simply choose to read Austen herself. After all, there is no one better.
Profile Image for Aimee Packwood.
47 reviews3 followers
October 16, 2013

I'm a huge Jane Austen fan. I've read all her books hundreds of times, and the thought of anyone else taking on her work initially made me very nervous, so I'll admit that when I was asked to read Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope I was a little aprehensive. As a fan of the deeply crafted characters, and witty prose, I've never enjoyed other writers' take on Austen novels or characters. Don't even get me started on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But Sense and Sensibility was never my favourite of Austen's work, so I was willing to give it a go. Had I never read any Austen, I think I would have found it an enjoyable novel; easy to read, likeable characters; a charming and engaging story. And as an Austen adaptation it very nearly works. But I wasn't quite sold. Trollope's characterisation is excellent (with the exception of Fanny who I think is a bit overplayed) and I think she really understood the motivations of the characters. But the attempt to make it relevant t o a modern audience doesn't quite come off. To be fair, I think Sense and Sensibility is perhaps slightly harder to adapt. The writers who get Persuasion and Emma will be luckier. And some of the modernisation I completely get; I can imagine Marianne as an emotional art student, and swapping carriages for cars is perfectly logical. However (unless in the upper tiers of society to which I am not privvy) money just isn't a motivater for marriage anymore. I would have liked Trollope to keep the same themes, but change the motivation; I would have liked to see Willoughby as a struggling actor shacking up with a film director, or a young MP having an affair with a cabinet minister.The book could still have explored ideas of being trapped and feeling like there was no choice (when of course there is, it's just that the choice is unpalatable to Willoughby) as well as family obligation, but with motivations that ring true to today's audience. The constraints of the characters of the girls are still as relevant today, but the society that they are operating in has changed, and trying to keep that the same means the whole thing feels hollow; and as if Austen is no longer relevant. I do feel that Austen is timeless, and it is a shame that Trollope has made her seem outdated by being too literal. I will read the other novels in the Austen project with interest, and they will probably be just as enjoyable as books in themselves; but as attempts to modernise and make Sense and Sensibility relevant, I'm afraid it's not quite there.
Profile Image for Damaskcat.
1,782 reviews4 followers
October 6, 2013
Purists believe that Jane Austen’s six novels are complete in and of themselves and should never be imitated, extended or parodied. I prefer to judge each Austen spin off on its own merits. This latest addition to the sub-genre is excellent in my opinion. It is the first instalment of the Austen Project set up by the publishers Harper Collins. Well known authors are being commissioned to translate the six novels into modern settings and this is the first to be published.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and thought the translation to the twenty first century was well done. The author clearly knows ‘Sense and Sensibility’ thoroughly and has translated the essence of the characters into modern life. Elinor and Marianne – sense and sensibility – are part of everyone’s life. We’ve all met the quiet person who never seems angry, sad or ecstatically happy. We’ve all met the person whose life is one long series of dramas and crises as is Marianne’s.

This reinterpretation of the well-known characters gives slightly more prominence to Margaret Dashwood as a stroppy teenager and to Charlotte and Tommy Palmer, Lady Middleton’s bubbly sister and her enigmatic husband. Mrs Jennings bustles around seeing further through a brick wall than most and ultimately providing a safe haven for Marianne and Elinor when all hell breaks loose in their lives.

This novel works in its own right even if you don’t know Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’, and it shows that Austen’s characters and basic plot are still relevant two hundred years later.
Profile Image for Ellie.
304 reviews5 followers
January 19, 2014
It is possibly true to say that I was never going to read Joanna Trollope's Sense and Sensibility with a totally clear mind. It annoys me that, rather than encouraging people to read and appreciate the wit, the beautiful prose, of Austen's novels, and to learn of and understand the social mores that existed, and which still influence some prejudices these days, it has been considered appropriate to dumb down the classics to the status of chick lit.

And dumbing down is certainly what Trollope has done, with this book apparently aimed at viewers of scripted reality shows like Made In Chelsea and The Only Way is Essex. The Dashwood family sneer at a part-time, Devon-based salary of £18k, they think an Alfa Romeo Spyder Mark 4 is a typical engagement gift.

But these are not the important elements of a book. For me to enjoy a book, it must have a good story, and good characters. Austen had both of these in abundance. Trollope has taken the basic plot, but left out the wit and social commentary that help to make Austen' work a classic, while, to quote The Guradian's John Crace "Joanna Trollope has achieved the near impossible by making every Jane Austen character appear shallow and unlikable".

Trollope has given more airtime to the characters of "Belle" (Austen's Mrs Dashwood) and Margaret. Perhaps an admirable undertaking, given how little Austen required of them. But perhaps there was reason for that. Austen called upon them only when necessary for the plot; Trollope reels them out unnecessarily several times, but I can see no benefit, they add nothing. Trollope's Margaret's only purpose seems to be to remind us that this is a 'modern' version, by constant references to social media and other modern phenomena.

Meanwhile, Edward, never a character I could really take to, is here made a complete wishy-washy wimp, with no purpose or aim until his potential in charity work is picked up by Brandon. Austen's Edward made it difficult for me to understand what Elinor saw in him. Trollope's left me totally unable to understand.

The worst crime, however, is left to Trollope's interpretation of Marianne. Austen's Marianne is a girl who can appear rude, not for the sake of being rude, but to break through the social mores and the hypocrisy of the time in which she lives. She suffers a deep depression, and knows that it is only her own sensibiliy that lead the illness that almost took her life; as she says "had I died, it would have been sef-destruction". In Trollope's novel, Marianne becomes M, a horrible, whiny creature, rude for rudeness sake, with no redeeming features. How anyone could fall in love with M is beyond me. Worse, by making asthma to blame for her near-death, Trollope totally removes the function of depression and self-harm in Marianne's condition. Ultimatlely, M is nothing but a pretty face, an airhead, whereas "the least interesting thing about Marianne is her beauty; what matters are her sense (intelligence), her sensitivity (sensibility) and her brooding intensity"

If the aim of this book was to demonstrate that Austen is relevant in the modern world, it has failed miserably. Reading this would make people think the exact opposite. But Austen's themes are relevant. Unfortunately, Trollope chose the wrong elements to update, and completely overlooked the key messages.
Profile Image for Melissa Rochelle.
1,238 reviews143 followers
September 1, 2013
S&S has never been my favorite Austen novel (my favorite wavers between Persuasion, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice depending on my mood), so I was hesitant about this modern day retelling. I think Trollope did a fantastic job of staying true to the Austen novel, but maybe a little TOO true to the source. I felt at times that the only thing that changed was the mention of an iPad to remind me that this was in "modern times" (I mean, I imagined it going a little deeper than that you know? Is that the point of The Austen Project and I missed it?).

Despite that, I would still recommend this to any Austen fan.
Profile Image for LoLo.
267 reviews48 followers
May 19, 2014
The Austen Project is the ambitious task undertaken by six authors to recreate the works of Jane Austen. When I first saw Joanne Trollope’s Sense and Sensibility I was intrigued and it sparked a quest to either reread or experience Austen’s novels for the first time via audiobook. I have read adaptations of the Classics before – Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Mr Darcy’s Diary, and a few others worth mentioning even less – and I found them all to be pretty disappointing. With the Austen Project, I was really looking forward to some popular authors recreating her works for a modern audience: taking the key issues and themes and reworking them for the 21st century stage. What I got instead felt like someone who was too afraid/far too admiring of Austen’s work to really make a go of it, and was not a compliment to the original or to the current author.

I’ve never before read a Joanna Trollope, though through my work at a book store and at the library I have been aware of her for many years. According to GoodReads her novels average 3.5 stars with over 29, 000 reviews. For this type of project – to recreate works by one of the most famous novelists in history – I think it’s important to understand the author and why they might have been chosen/volunteered for such an undertaking when the expectations would be so high and people so ready to cut you down for sullying such a beloved classic.

…Ma couldn’t or wouldn’t hear a word against Dad, any more than she would accept responsibility for never giving a moment’s thought to the possibility of her own future without him. He had been an asthmatic, after all! The blue inhalers were as much a part of the Dashwood family as the members of it were. He was never going to make old bones, and he was living in a place and a manner that was entirely dependent on the charity and whim of an old man who liked his fantasies to be daring but his facts, his realities, to be orthodox.

I have only read the original Sense and Sensibility once, and that was several years ago now. I remember at the time struggling to get my head around it, being only my second Austen novel, and stopping to watch the 1995 movie before continuing. After that I remember it like this: Professor Snape is after the Titanic lady who nearly dies pining after someone, Hugh Grant likes Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie married an idiot and spends most of his time making fun of her. I wish now that I had reread the original before embarking on the remake in order to have a better understanding of what Trollope has changed and what has been left the same.

The biggest disappointment about the Austen Project for me is the total lack of modernisation. Austen is well known for her style of writing, the big romances and, most importantly for me, the social commentary of the time. Austen’s novels are full of the importance of an opportune marriage as the only means of survival, of conducting oneself properly, of the roles of men and women in society and the power plays between men and women. Sense and Sensibility is a novel about four young women left destitute by the death of Mr Dashwood, and their reliance on the charity of their friends and strangers to survive until the girls can make fortunate marriages that will secure the future of the family. Yet as always, Austen’s heroines must not only make wealthy marriages, but good ones where the women and the reader will be delighted in their spouses and what can only be a future of happiness and prosperity.

Fast forward two centuries, a journey that takes us through several significant wars, including one still ongoing, the Industrial Revolution that has led to cars, the Internet, mobile phones, the women’s liberation movement which has seen equal rights for men and women, the Civil Rights movement, and the near complete dissolution of the landed gentry which means that nearly everyone in the world must work for money.

Belle Dashwood and her daughters Elinor, Marianne and Mags are in a predicament. Their husband and father, Mr Dashwood, has passed away suddenly after a terrible asthma attack. Mr Dashwood’s uncle, whose estate they have called home for the last twenty years, has died and, being a traditionalist, has left the estate the child of Mr Dashwood’s one and only marriage – John Dashwood. John Dashwood, being for the most part a spineless prat, has been forced by his wife to ask the women to leave their property. While this is a hurtful and humiliating experience, it is by no means the calamitous disaster that it was two centuries ago. These women live in a time of social welfare, women’s shelters, reasonably cheap motels, and council housing for those in need.

This is where Trollope, her editors, and those behind the creation of The Austen Project have had a monumental fuckup. It is not enough to add the mention of an iPod, a Land Rover, Twitter and Facebook and pat ourselves on the back for writing a modernisation. Here is the chance to use Austen’s great eye for social observation through novel and write a commentary on our times. In the past decade we’ve had 9/11, the War on Terror, the Global Financial Crisis, Occupy Wall Street, and an increasingly widening gap between those with money and those in poverty. Here was a chance to throw a well-known story, with a well-known ending, and push these well-established characters by putting them in a new setting and watching them sink or swim. Yet I can think of very, very few people who would look at a group of three adult women, with two hundred thousand pounds, that don’t work and feel sympathy. In fact, I felt disgust. Complete and utter disgust that this family that have experienced the privilege of living in someone else’s house rent free, that have sent their daughters to private school, that have made no attempt to find employment are wailing about how utterly desperate and pathetic their situation is. I felt completely dumbfounded that Trollope and her editors could possibly feel it acceptable to give the Dashwood women such a large amount of money and still expect the charity of friends.

In Austen’s world the Dashwood women had the option of finding a wealthy husband that could support them, beg for charity or accept a dramatic drop in social standing and hope that they had the qualifications to become a governess – a job that in itself has no future job security as once the children have grown, they must hope the family has someone else to recommend them too, and when the governess becomes too old to work, must seek accommodation with an old charge that hopefully remembers them fondly.
For four women with laughable earning power, one of whom is still at school, one is unused to work, and one is both physically unfit and as yet unqualified to work.
In Trollope’s world, Belle Dashwood, a qualified art teacher, has stayed at home even though her youngest child is now in secondary school and capable of getting herself to and from school, and even now that the sole bread winner in the family has died, has not once thought that perhaps it was time for her to return to work. I cannot respect any parent who is so able to work, even has a qualification, yet does not once think of finding work. Even if there were no current positions as an art teacher, there is not one thing stopping her from being a cleaner, stocking shelves in a grocery, or working in any job that is currently available. Worse still, Belle believes she is somehow contributing a great deal to the household by not using central heating during the day, and does nothing but criticise the meagre earnings Elinor has been able to gain. . Elinor Dashwood, the only member of the family with any sense, is in the last year of her Architecture degree, yet has never held a part time job. For most students these days, a part time job is not only necessary for money, but also expected for experience – I would certainly never hire a graduate who has not worked a day in their life. Regardless of the need for any kind of job experience, Architecture is a degree that requires a lot of equipment – the materials to build the assignments, the programs required to make the digitised models, and the technical tools all of which would be needed on a regular basis yet who provided for these items? Yet even so, with Elinor being such a driven, practical woman, how had she not tried before to get work or internships in her chosen field of study? Yet Trollope throws in these little quips about it not being 1810, with women having more options and it being unnecessary to marry for money and I wanted to call Trollope and say ‘Are you sure? Are you really sure you want to go there with me after what you’ve just published?’

The novel, and the situation the girls are in, would have been much better served had the girls been left in debt – perhaps Mr Dashwood had been made redundant, and they had been unable to find work, perhaps there had been a failed business that the family owed money on, perhaps Mr Dashwood’s medical expenses had crippled a family that had not taken out health or life insurance. Yet even with these challenges, the crisis would have to be very severe to outweigh the potential social welfare benefits that could have given this family a new chance. At least this way, much like the Little House on the Prairie novels, the family could have rallied together to face a winter after the summer crops had not yielded and hope was all they had. As it is, their situation hardly inspires sympathy and the infamous Fanny, meant to be so horribly callous and cruel, is perfectly reasonable in her request that the family pay up or move out, especially when the house requires constant attention and the costs of such an estate can often outweigh the benefits.

In spite of the failure of the premise, this book could still have had some potential had it been well written and with well-developed characters. Instead, we only really get insight into Elinor’s character and even then she doesn’t go through a great deal of personal growth in the story. In fact, the only character that really shows any semblance of growth is the paltry attempt by Marianne to be slightly less dramatic and self-serving. While Elinor is a fairly likeable character, she is not a strong character and allows herself to be treated poorly by everyone, but most especially her mother, and I was not really able to warm to her to any great degree. The best character to me was Bill Brandon, who’s admirable efforts in rehabilitation programs and laidback nature I found quite likeable, but even he is greatly weakened by his pathetically embarrassing ‘hopeless romantic’ nature, as the only described allure of Marianne is her physical appearance. None of the characters are given much introduction or description, it appears that Trollope has relied entirely on the assumption that the reader will know who these characters are.

The writing itself seems to be mostly made up of great slabs of dialogue, which are never in depth and do very little to progress the plot. There is nothing overly remarkable about this story, or the story telling, and has none of the depth or meaning of the original text. This brings me back to my original point: to wonder how the Austen Project came about, who is behind it, and why each particular author was chosen. I am so curious to know the motivations and goals behind the Project: was it to spark a love for Austen in a new generation? Was it to celebrate Austen’s works and achievements? I don’t think this book has succeeded on any of those levels and it seems that the publishers were relying entirely on the title to sell this book, because there is very little merit between its cover to recommend it.

At this stage I will still continue on to Val McDermid’s Northanger Abbey but so far I have seen very little to convince me to take this Project any further.
Profile Image for Michelle.
18 reviews12 followers
December 9, 2014
This is a modernization of Austen’s Sense and Sensibility with none of the heart, depth or wit of the original. Most of the problems I have with it can be summed up in four points.

1. Weird mixture of unnecessary slang and old-fashioned expressions that are completely inauthentic for the time period.
One of the many instances where the language is completely inauthentic and jarring is the first appearance of Mr Willoughby (or Wills). In the lead-up to Marianne being rescued by Willoughby Marianne is running along in the rain. Marianne says she can’t keep running and Margaret replies “You can! You can! You must.” This is the same girl who says things like “ridic” and at one point even says “crikey.” Now I’m Australian and I have only ever heard someone say “crikey” on TV. When Margaret stumbles upon Willougby:
“Even in acute distress, with her vision partially obscured by her wet hair, Margaret could see that on the scale of hotness, he registered fairly close to a full ten.” I am not convinced that there is the remotest possibility that Margaret who assesses Willoughby on the “scale of hotness” would say “you must” especially in a panicked situation. When Marianne then describes the situation to Willougby he says “ye gods.” YE GODS. The author doesn’t even have the excuse of borrowing language directly from the original because I checked and Willoughby does not say “ye gods” upon rescuing Marianne in Austen’s version. Later in the book it is revealed that Mrs Dashwood “had been suspicious of Wills from the start. Who wouldn’t be, faced with such utter male glory?” Wow. Just, wow. Now Elinor also says to herself “I couldn’t quite summon up the energy to behave as I ought to have done.” You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who still uses the word ‘ought’ especially a 20-something. And on the other end of the spectrum we have the irritating Nancy Steele who uses stupid bits of slang like ‘totes amaze’ ‘hilar’ and ‘amazeballs’ every sentence. The old-fashioned expressions are jarring and the slang feels incredibly contrived. Put together the it all feels bizarre and false.

2. Mentions of technology that felt forced and added nothing to the plot, just so the author could prove to us we were in 2013. There are many mentions of Twitter, Tommy Palmer’s BlackBerry, Facebook and Wi-Fi connections. Many of these references to technology are completely unnecessary. Margaret also grumpily listens to her iPod for most of the book. In fact it appears that Margaret’s sole purpose in this book was to be the stereotypical sullen and technology-addicted teenager.

3. The actual modernization was lacking, the author followed the book too closely and as a result the characters were unlikeable and many plot points were far-fetched. Marianne and Mrs Dashwood being oblivious to practicalities in the original was not unbelievable. Women did not generally have to think of such things during that time. In this modern era their obliviousness is grating and unrealistic. When Elinor tells them she’s found a job which will help pay their rent and bills, Mrs Dashwood (or Belle as she’s called in this version) vaguely says “What bills?” It also seems completely ridiculous in this modern context that Marianne, who appears to have recently graduated high school, sits around doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING the whole book. When your family is destitute the logical thing to do would be FIND A JOB. Or at least GO TO SCHOOL SO YOU HAVE QUALIFICATIONS TO GET A JOB. Marianne doesn’t consider doing either. In fact when Elinor brings up the topic of Marianne’s future and asks her if she’ll study music or maybe teach it, Marianne cries and says “Don’t bully me, please don’t bully me.” WHAT? Does ‘bully’ mean something different in England? Even in the straight-to-DVD Latina version of Sense and Sensibility ‘Prada to Nada’ (the film is exactly how it sounds) Marianne at least goes to school. And in another straight-to-DVD adaptation ‘Scents and Sensibility’ (yes, you read that correctly. The Dashwood girls eventually start a soap business) Marianne gets a job doing some sort of admin. When the characters in films named ‘Prada to Nada’ and ‘Scents and Sensibility’ show more sense than yours, you know you have a problem.

4. Bland characterization. There is no real sense of Marianne or Elinor except what we are explicitly told (and what anyone who had read the original would know anyway), that there is one sensible, reserved sister and one dramatic, passionate one. Marianne is also constantly described as being absolutely stunning even when she’s just been crying/sick/just thrown on the first clothes she saw.
“The pajamas were very old, made of brushed cotton and patterned with teapots. They had always been too big. But even dressed in them, with her hair in damp ropes on her shoulders, and her eyes circled with fatigue, Marianne looked, well, outstanding.”
Spare me, please. She’s also a complete brat. She’s rude and constantly has fits of tears and does a lot of shouting. Lots of people in this book shout, actually. Despite being unforgivably rude, everyone seems to be enamoured with her, especially men who apparently want to protect her because she’s so “fragile.” This leads me to Colonel Brandon/Bill. He is terribly bland. I don’t recall him having any meaningful interaction with Marianne before he’s head over heels in love with her.
“Marianne looked so lovely, didn’t she, lying there asleep.’”
Bill says this to Elinor at a stage when Marianne has expressed ZERO interest in him. He also tells Elinor “Give her my love.” To a girl who has IGNORED HIM most of the book. Generally when you’re in love with someone who has made it clear that she does not at all reciprocate YOU DON’T FURTHER EMBARRASS YOURSELF BY DRAWING ATTENTION TO YOUR ALL-CONSUMING LOVE. HAVE SOME PRIDE BILL, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

Ms. Trollope is a prolific writer and I’m sure she has books worth reading. This is not one of them.
Profile Image for Ria Naydenova.
14 reviews48 followers
September 20, 2015
Ah, give me hope, Joanna!
Да, аз съм разглезена до безобразие от дълга линия добри съвременни интерпретации на книгите на Джейн Остин - "Дневникът на Бриджит Джоунс" ("Гордост и предразсъдъци"), култовото Clueless ("Ема") и др. И въпреки това "Разум и чувства", преразказана от Джоана Тролъп, ме вбеси така, както рядко се случва. С мъка дочетох книгата до края и ако не беше обещанието ми да прочета цялата серия (за щастие всяка книга е преразказвана от различен автор), надали щях да издеяня до края на нещо, което е по-добро от синопси��а в "Уикипедия" единствено по наличието на корица.
Завръзката е следната: трите сестри Дашуд и майка им Бел са свикнали да живеят на гърба на богатия татко, който никога не е искал от тях да ст��ват за чеп за зеле. В един момент облаците на трагедията надвисват над тях - баща им умира! Но те не страдат, защото са изгубили родител - напротив, те са му ядосани, защото не е уредил нещата в тяхна полза така, че да могат да продължат да клатят крака до стари години (I kid you not, в началото наистина се обяснява колко са му бесни). Та понеже тати е забравил да остави платинена кредитна карта на тяхно име, чичо им - истинският собственик на имението, където живеят - ги отрязва от завещанието, защото... майка им и баща им не са били женени. Съжалявам, май не разбирам нещо, за кой век говорим пак? Доведеният им брат от първия брак на баща им ги пъди от имението, защото истеричната му жена, която се държи както никое човешко същество не би могло да се държи - и да оцелее - в днешно време, иска да направи хотел. Но трите Дашуд и майка намират друга банда богати роднини, за които да се залепят, и скоро се занасят в мечтана къща в провинцията, където да прекарат остатъка от безсмислените си животи. Следва любовна драма, противни роднини, клюки, лъскави партита в Лондон, астматични пристъпи на килограм и, разбира се, щастлив завършек.
"Разум и чувства" има няколко недостатъка. На първо място, героините - сестрите Дашуд, които ни станаха любимки в оригинала с това, че макар да имат склонност да драматизират и макар бедите да ги следват по петите, всъщност са добронамерени, умни, напредничави и имат класа - са откъснати от Англия през 19 век и натикани с груба сила в Англия от 21 век. За съжаление Джоана Тролъп им е позволила да вземат със себе си и скованите си нрави, социалните си предразсъдъци и непоклатимото си, изглежда, убеждение, че основната цел в живота е намирането на съпруг, който да може да ги издържа. Разговорите в книгата пресъздават този дисонанс, без дори да се опитат да го поскрият под пласт политическа коректност:

"Като в онези романи от 19 век, където бракът е единствената възможност за кариера на момичетата от средната класа (...) Хората се преструват, че нещата са се променили, но дали е така?"

Всъщност... да, така е. Нещата СА се променили и брачната сага на сестрите Дашуд ги кара да звучат като недорасли кифли, които знаят само да мрънкат и не могат да се справят с пет пари в живота - докато мъжете около тях очевидно намират това за някак непреодолимо еротично. Джоана ни обяснява около милион пъти колко привлекателна е втората сестра, Мариан Дашуд, и че дори когато лежи на смъртното си ложе, стиснала инхалатор, защото астмата ѝ е толкова сериозна, че един ръмеж я докарва в състояние на кома, тя продължава да е ослепителна. И това разяснение наистина е необходимо, защото Мариан е вдетинена истеричка. Елинор, по-голямата ѝ сестра, вместо сдържана и възпитана, както в оригинала, е по-скоро апатична като Бела Суон. Уилъби, гаджето на Мариан, от очарователен чвор е ъпгрейднат на противен чвор, Ед (Едуард Ферърс, любовен интерес на Елинор)е безпомощен плосък мозък, а най-малката сестра, Маргарет, е почти безсловесна. В сравнение с нея Елочка Людоедката от "Дванайсетте стола" е сущи филолог. Маги - или Магс в английския текст - борави всичко на всичко с три фрази - "защо", "не искам" и "whatever". Отгоре на всичко героите говорят толкова реалистично, колкото водещите в рекламите на "Телешоп". Свободен (но не чак толкова) преразказ на диалога от книгата:
- О, г-н Уилъби, толкова ви благодаря, че ме спасихте. Чувствам, че между нас наистина има връзка!
- Моля те, наричай ме Уилс. И няма нужда да ми благодариш, предпочитам да се гледаме влюбено, без да продумваме.
- Но аз обичам музика и поезия, и... други неща. Аз имам дълбока душевност.
- Аз също. Но стига сме говорили за мен, да поговорим за теб - мислиш ли, че тази прическа ми отива?
Проблем номер две: хората в книгата, без значение от пола, повсеместно не са запознати с концепцията ходене или излизане по срещи. Страниците на "Разум и чувства" напомнят на регистрационна книга за сватби от църква във Вегас, героите намират за напълно разумно да прегънат коляно пред мацката, с която са прекарали всичко на всичко три седмици, а момичетата дори не се замислят да кажат "знаеш ли, аз всъщност не те познавам", защото тру лъв енд шит. И никой от по-възрастните наоколо не се сеща да им обърше два, та да се свърши ��ая мъка.
Проблем три:

"В замъглената бъркотия на съня на Бил Брандън някой чукаше. Той не можеше да определи откъде идва чукането, но то продължаваше и накрая разбра, че някой вика неговото име, докато чука."

Признавам, че донякъде може би има роля и преводът, но голямата зейнала пропаст на мястото, където пише "стил", не може да бъде запълнена и от най-страстния езиковед. Дори и да вярва в истинската любов.
Голям вот на недоверие на Джоана Тролъп. Просто гледайте The Lizzie Bennet Diaries вместо това!
Author 5 books587 followers
February 22, 2014
Twice upon a time, there were three Dashwood sisters, though no one took much notice of the youngest one. Their father died far too young, and they and their mother were forced by their cruel sister-in-law and weak half-brother to leave the home they'd grown up in.

_Sense & Sensibility_ -- the first one, that is -- is a novel many readers find hard to love. I hated it the first time through. Marianne drove me *insane.* All that screaming and selfishness! "I don't *care* what anyone thinks, I shall *die* without the man I love!" Okay, she didn't actually say that in so many words; but she sure as heck acted like it. And she very nearly made it come true.

Now that I've read it more times than I've bothered to count, it's one of my favorite books in the world. Which sounds like some kind of literary Stockholm Syndrome, but really it's just a matter of my finally developing the kind of muscles and perspective it took for me to enjoy Austen's genius.

I love S&S and I love Joanna Trollope's novels, so of course I grabbed this when I saw it sitting alone and unloved on the library shelf. I am one of those Austen admirers who does *not* want to read the eleventy-millionth "sequel" to _Pride & Prejudice_, but I had faith in Trollope's powers. I wanted to see what she'd do with the story.

She'd transplant it directly to 21st-century England, is what she'd do. She'd keep all the names and major plot events exactly the same, on the theory that a story worth telling once is worth hearing twice.

Part of me was eaten up by envy. It never occurred to me that we were allowed to do that -- to take a book we admire and just write it again. Immediately, I started casting around in my mind for stories *I* could own like that.

I kept reading the whole time I was thinking along these lines, and I soon saw just how much subtle genius it takes to get away with a stunt like that. Yes, all the people and places go by the same names as they did in Austen's novel. But the Dashwood family in S&S1 is four women living on an inherited income. True, they're living on the cheap, for a genteel family. But it's taken as a given that their supposedly meager funds will stretch to cover not merely food and rent, but several servants and a home big enough to house all of them and a visitor or two besides. How will a modern reader relate to this sort of "poverty"? What will a modern writer employ as a sympathetic equivalent?

And what about the really melodramatic plot points that Austen barely got away with in the early nineteenth-century: the dueling, the forced marriages and secret engagements and natural daughters. How on earth are *those* going to be carried to our times?

Half the fun in reading this book is seeing how Trollope handles these tricky patches; the other half is the soothing delight of a story well told.

Romance is certainly important in this novel. (It *better* be, considering who its readers are sure to be.) But the modern Dashwood sisters must of course have something more going on in their lives than the hopes of a marriage both affectionate and reasonably wealthy.

Trollope paints the story anew with grace, wit, and obvious enjoyment. She doesn't do the usual cringe-inducing nonsense of trying to write like Austen (though she does sneak in a few lines from the original text, so smoothly that you won't notice unless you're a severe S&S nerd). She does make a few references to how things have changed since Austen's time:

"Honestly, Abi, it's all you ever think about. You're like those nineteenth-century novels where marriage is the only career option for a middle-class girl."

But mostly Trollope relies on her own clear, unmuddled prose to tell the story. Long-suffering Elinor is the sister who has to organize, plan, settle, smooth over, and smile when she feels like screaming -- "the price of having your head screwed on the right way," as Mrs. Jennings revisited observes sympathetically. And Elinor's affection for Marianne is made clear early on, in spite of the sisters having so little in common. Elinor actually feels sorry for her tempestuous, overly romantic younger sis:

"It must be awful, 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."

That's some lovely character sketching. But it takes more than that to create a story worth reading. How is a contemporary reteller going to keep her audience engaged in a story we already know? How can she bring enough surprises to be interesting without leaving the original tale in tatters? She'll bore her readers if she changes too little, and enrage them if she interferes too much.

If you've read S&S, read this so you can see for yourself how clever Trollope is. If you haven't, read this and then go read Austen's novel. Either way, let's all be happy that when Trollope decided to try her hand at Austen, she wisely steered clear of P&P.

Now, if only someone would tackle _Northanger Abbey_...
Profile Image for Sue Alieva.
34 reviews
February 19, 2017
За мен тази книга беше много увлекателна и лека, същевременно различна с това, че героите бяха ясно открояващи се, без да се крият отрицателните черти. Макар и да мисля, че Тролъп би могла да се справи по-добре с осъвременяването на романа, не съжалявам, че започнах месеца с точно тази книга. Въпреки че обичам да чета класики, минава известно време докато се реша да прочета такива, а тази книга беше тласъкът, от който се нуждаех за да за да добавя оригиналната книга на Джейн Остин в списъка си за четене, така че тази книга ��пределено не беше загуба на време и се радвам, че я прочетох.
Цялото ревю: http://queenoflunaelibri.blogspot.bg/...
Profile Image for Yoana.
55 reviews
July 13, 2016
Цялото ревю: http://bloodyravenblog.blogspot.bg/20...

,,Разум и чувства'' на Джоана Тролъп - една модерна интерпретация на романа на Джейн Остин - е една интригуваща и разтоварваща книга с приятна атмосфера. Книгата също така лесно може да бъде възприета заради хумористичния начин, по който е представена историята и непретенциозния, но все пак увлекателен и лек стил на писане.
Препоръчвам я на всички, които считат, че биха харесали една по-олекотена и разчупена версия на една класика. Сигурна съм, че ще изпълни целта си - при мен успя - да пробуди любопитството и на тийнейджърите към романа на Остин.
Profile Image for Esther.
273 reviews9 followers
July 14, 2016
Blergh. Boring as batshit, I couldn't finish it.

And what is the point of writing a modern adaptation which is still set in the same British aristocracy-and-military world, with the same issues of inheritances, as the original? I want to read adaptations that make an old story relatable in today's world, and Marianne playing a Taylor Swift song on the guitar isn't quite what I had in mind.
Profile Image for Dayna.
387 reviews1 follower
January 31, 2016
It gets one star just because it got published, which is something I have never done, so hooray for you. But this was just a complete pile of crap. Just don't touch Jane Austen, go stick a fork in an outlet next time you have the urge.
Profile Image for Nente.
437 reviews59 followers
June 13, 2021
Nothing that someone hasn't already said, but when did that stop me?

Ms. Trollope made some changes in her retelling, but not nearly enough. Switching horses for cars and somewhat speeding up the time to allow for modern travel and communication doesn't count.

When Austen's plot is enclosed in modern trappings, the setting starts to fight the plot.

Take Edward keeping his "engagement" to Lucy. Why, even in the original he said that he did that just because he was genuinely taken in by her pretended love for him - which was, in turn, only possible in the restricted manners of the time, not allowing for free communication and spending time together. This sort of thing simply doesn't happen today! At least have Lucy fake a pregnancy or something, with an eye on hasty marriage and getting a fat cheque for divorce later. She's meant to be immoral enough for that. NB: it took less than an hour for me to invent this highly imaginative plot device. Maybe I should go in for writing this stuff?

I did like the few places where the changes have been made. Giving Margaret a voice; turning Willoughby's wickedness from libertinism into drug-dealing; putting Robert into party-organising business - this one was actually inspired. Do this to everything! Throw away all the stuff about inheritance, about not being able to work a job, or staying in people's houses for weeks at a time. As it is, the plot has a lot of superficial resemblance to Austen's novel, but it can't be other than a gutted version without the biting social commentary of the original. Bridget Jones's Diary is closer to Pride and Prejudice in spirit than this book is to Sense and Sensibility.
Profile Image for Kate.
1,122 reviews23 followers
May 29, 2018
I was more content with this book for longer than other reviewers, but by the end I was flabbergasted. I tolerated the nicknames (Ed, Wills, Tommy Palmer, Abi Jennings, Belle, Ellie, and Mags Dashwood) except for the execrable M for Marianne which is incomprehensible as written, knocks you from the story every time. The Misses Steele make no sense at all, not their language, actions, or Nancy’s speech. “Amazeballs” is the least of it, what sort of accent was THAT? I appreciated seeing how Trollope matched the S&S storyline, liked Elinor as an architect trainee, didn’t totally object to Edward as interested in social work and not religion (although, why? The only other minister is referred to as “camp” so perhaps I don’t know enough about modern Anglicanism.) I developed a grave dislike for “Ed” and did not need some tale of woe to explain why he would have the conscience to stick with Lucy when their engagement came out. Why that explanation but no discussion of Marianne/Bill Brandon age difference which is a much more difficult issue for modern ethics, mystifies me. I needed not a party for everyone to be mildly reconciled at the end. In truth, though, this lost all the stars when Ed yelled at John Dashwood that he was “p-w’d”, a word I will not even type because of the deep sexism inherent in the comment. How could you even like Edward after that? Certainly the John Dashwood of the original novel seems manipulated by his wife and mother, which has fewer sexist overtones but rather a sense of women using what little power they have, but here he is both a jerk and the assistant to a narcissist, evil in his own right. So much possible depth squandered in trying to fit the deep, complex characters of Austen into a modern frame. Marianne, here, has asthma as a plot device - but I kept wondering, why not meningitis? Or suicidal depression? Or strep? Lots of conditions would allow for the plot without seeming so oddly more debilitating than modern asthma really is. Well, another book knocked off the long “to-read” list I guess.
Profile Image for Noodles78.
254 reviews16 followers
July 14, 2013
I'll start off by saying that I LOVE Austen, she makes me happy. She is one of my go to authors when I need perking up. The idea of a reworking of an Austen novel always makes me happy, and so this should have ticked all the right boxes.

I enjoyed it, alot, but not completely. I'm not sure what my problem was, I read it in under a day, hell in few hours and could not put it down, but I think I feel a little disappointed that I knew EVERYTHING that was going to happen. Which is stupid as it's a reworking. I know, but even so that was how i felt, flat.

As I read it, I could see all the characters strongly in my head, but it was the actors from the Thompson/Winslet/Ang Lee film, and I didn't feel that Trollope brought anymore to the characters. I was disappointed that Margaret was little more than a bit part, even though she could have added more, been more than someone with a treehouse desperate to ride in Willoughby's car.

I don't know, maybe when I give it time to digest (I've just this minute finished it.), it'll settle and I'll love it. Or hate it. Or just feel something toward it.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,218 reviews2,049 followers
February 1, 2014
Joanna Trollope has long been one of my favourite authors and I always read her books as they come out. However this one was a mistake. I hate this current need to rewrite or extend Jane Austen's original works. I should have learned my lesson after the travesty of Death Comes to Pemberley but I did not. So - this book is an adequate, mildly entertaining romance to which I will award three stars on its own merit. When you consider it is a rewrite of an outstanding five star classic it is obviously not a success. To all authors out there - please don't rewrite the classics - read the original again - and then come up with your own ideas!!! Please.
Profile Image for Dianna.
536 reviews91 followers
November 5, 2013
I've been reading a little of the debate over the modernisation of Jane Austen's novel, which ranges from criticism of Trollope's book to readers who won't read it but don't like its existence for their own reasons, to readers who really don't like the idea of any publisher commissioning any writer to do anything that is so blatantly cashing in.

So we have Austen's original 'Sense and Sensibility,' and all her novels. Then we have their movies and TV series, some good, some bad. And then barrow loads of books that are rewrites and sequels and prequels and genre mixes and tributes and it's very easy to condemn all these books as rubbish and be quite savage about them, or to just point out that they are pointless because there is nothing stopping anyone from rereading Austen as many times as they would wish.

There is, however, an appetite for them, an appetite for modernised versions of the novels, and this is a good book and I won't be sorry that I have read it. I've read many sillier Austen-inspired novels and will undoubtedly read more.

Joanna Trollope has done what she can to update the 19th century setting to right now, without stepping too much all over Austen's plot and characters. In a recent article in 'The Guardian,' John Mullan points out the pitfalls for any Austen updaters, because how possible is it to successfully separate the plot from the setting?

I read this book with a great deal of pleasure. It's likely that I'll now go back and read Austen's book with even more pleasure, but I do not feel that I have wasted my time reading Trollope's version, or that it was pointless. Yes, what I enjoyed most about Trollope's novel was Austen. I don't think that's a terrible thing, or any reflection on what Trollope has done. A version does nothing to diminish the original. I've struggled with 'Sense and Sensibility' in previous readings. It was my least favourite Austen novel and when I last read it, not long after the Emma Thompson movie came out, I read it very firmly with that movie in mind. I read Marianne with Kate WInslet's face, her expression as she looks at Willoughby, as she gazes towards Combe Magna. I see Edward Ferrars with Hugh Grant's quiet diffidence - the way he moved and spoke. In reading Trollope's version, I could tell that she also had that movie in mind at times, and it meant that I had to occasionally work hard to shut those voices out.

I noticed that the communications technology - mobiles, texting, Facebook, were all pretty superficial, and I didn't mind. What did bother me, and what I couldn't escape, was how my attitude towards the Dashwood women, and towards Edward's behaviour, changed when I saw them as 21st century people.

The Dashwoods are particularly difficult. Trollope carefully explains how the women have no legal rights to Norland Park, and that's fine. She also carefully updates the money to make it clear what impoverished gentility entails. What I couldn't justify was how I could like characters who made very little attempt towards their own independence.

To remain within their social circle, Austen's Elinor and Marianne had to marry. They would have lost all status if they had gone out to work as governesses, or become useful dependents upon wealthy, charitable relatives. But there are more options available to women now, and for each of them, Mrs Dashwood, Elinor and Marianne, to kind of just flutter their hands and say that they are not equipped to be useful for anything, is actually pretty awful.

Elinor does go and get a job. She's been training to be an architect and when the family are forced out of Norland Park, must give up her education in her last year at university. Trollope's updated Colonel Brandon (Bill Brandon) helps her get a job as a junior draftsperson at an architect's firm near Barton Park. Marianne points out that Elinor is being paid below minimum wage and doesn't get her head bitten off, which is all part of the problem: Trollope has turned Elinor into a complete saint and I can't like her that way. She feels, very cheaply, like every other put-upon 'mustn't grumble' Cinderella who eventually gets her just rewards and escapes her horrible family. For this kind of plot to work, there has to be some character growth. I'd expect a Cinderella to stand up to her horrible family and get a positive change in her relationships. Or, for her to come to some understanding that she's probably not helped matters by just being all silent and noble and all it's done is build up her silent resentment to a point where she can no longer see anything good in them at all, and that actually, she needs to change and start seeing them differently.

Marianne … I can only assume that Trollope's Marianne is the same age as Austen's Marianne, which means she gets away with being a little more spoiled, but it does raise a number of other issues. Trollope's Marianne is asthmatic and suffers from depression. The depression is not really developed in any clinical detail, but the asthma is important to the plot. It's also difficult because Marianne is seen by her family as 'too delicate for work.' This is never challenged. When she meets Willoughby (Wills, in Trollope's version) and begins her grand passion, it's almost a relief to everyone. Marianne, who won't be a model for Sir John's mail order clothes business (in exchange for his continued kindness in allowing the family to live rent free at Barton cottage), who is a 'very talented' guitar player, is only really suited to marrying a rich man. If Trollope's Marianne is seventeen, it makes the direction of her relationship with Brandon towards marriage a little uncomfortable to modern tastes. He's a man in his mid thirties. She's not much more than a child.

Mrs Dashwood is just awful. She's 'Belle' for Trollope, and was an art teacher before she entered into a relationship with Henry Dashwood that never quite resulted in a legal marriage. What defines her for me is a scene in the book where she hunts through Elinor's things looking for any sign that her daughter's relationship with Edward has progressed towards marriage. Mrs Dashwood pushes aside Elinor's neat piles of the family's bills with no other thought than that they are neatly organised, and how like Elinor. She doesn't even pause to think that the family's finances are more her responsibility than her daughter's. There is no corresponding scene in Austen's novel, and the closest (to my recollection) that it comes is to scenes from the Emma Thompson movie, where it is clear that Elinor does everything.

Edward is a big problem, and in Trollope's version I thought he was useless. He'd been forced out of Eton in disgrace, not for his own crime/adventure, but for abetting other boys in theirs. His mother had great expectations of his future, but Edward wants to be some kind of social worker. So ok, that's fine. Austen's Edward wanted to join the clergy. I don't necessarily think that social worker is the 21st century equivalent to priest, and certainly both should come with some qualification which both Edwards clearly lack. I accepted Austen's Edward as a young man frustrated by his obligations towards his family name, and his duty to his mother. Whether it is just or not, I expected more from 21st century Edward.

And with 21st century Edward, there is also the Lucy Steele problem. Austen's Edward could not break the engagement, it was a point of honour. The same rules don't exist - Lucy Steele's reputation cannot be irreparably damaged if Edward decides that he does not want to marry her. 21st century Edward keeping faith with Lucy makes no sense if he really loves Elinor. It feels either contrived, or it makes Edward look weak.

Which, perhaps, is how both Trollope and I have read Austen's Edward, as an essentially weak man who is only saved by his wrong-headedly noble support of Lucy Steele when she reveals their secret engagement to Fanny. I don't necessarily think either of us are right to read the character this way. I also disagree with Trollope's reading of the Palmers. Charlotte comes across like a 'Real Housewife' and Mr Palmer contradicts what I read in Austen and seems to be an extension of how the character was portrayed in the Emma Thompson movie.

Trollope hints a lot more strongly that Elinor and Bill Brandon would have dealt quite well with each other, and although this clearly inserts more relationship than was there in Austen's original, it doesn't stand out as awkward. It's more that 21st century people could talk to each other more freely about their circumstances … so in this case they did. So there are no huge departures from Austen's plot, nothing crazy like Wills being redeemed and transformed into a suitable lover for Marianne, or Bill Brandon finding in Mrs Dashwood a partner closer to his own age. This is ultimately still reading 'Sense and Sensibility' perhaps in the same way that you are still watching 'Romeo and Juliet' when you see the Baz Luhrman movie (for example). It's just all in a different wrapper that doesn't always fit as well as it could.
Profile Image for Ann-Marie "Cookie M.".
1,107 reviews120 followers
October 27, 2020
"Sense and Sensibility" is not my favorite Jane Austen novel, and Joanna Troll opens version is not my favorite modern retelling of the story.
Plain and simple, something is missing, Miss Austen's snark. She never takes her characters too seriously. She always seems to be laughing behind her fan at them.
Trollope lovers her Dashwood girls too much. She tries to make them too believable. It doesn't work for me. The men and incidental women are still caricatures, so it comes off like trying to shove a living moth into a stationary diorama.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,304 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.