Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austin

"Sense and Sensibility" is a impressive first novel written by a then nineteen year old Austin. This being only the second book of Austin's that I have read, "Pride and Prejudice" being the first, I am eagerly looking forward to reading more of her books in the very near future.

"Sense and Sensibility" follows two sisters, Elinor Dashwood the elder sister, and her younger sister Marianne Dashwood. Elinor is the sensible one, being more logical of mind and more emotionally reserved. Marianne is the more sensitive one, being impulsive and emotional in character.

Upon the death of their father, the elder half brother inherits the house, property, and wealth. Customs in that time was such that a father bequeathed all possessions to their sons, the elder son receiving the vast majority of the inheritance. If he had no sons, inheritance went to a male descendant. Females did not receive a inheritance. The son promises his father before his passing that he will take care of his stepmother and his three half sisters upon his fathers death, a promise that was made in earnest at the time, but one that quickly faded when reality set in. John Dashwood's wife assures him that they are in no position to bestow any of the inheritance upon the four females, and really they were only half sisters at that, and John Dashwood quickly agrees with her.

Left to their own devices, the women decide to take up the offer of a modest cottage owned by a distant cousin in Barton Park, Devonshire. The sisters are thrown into a society fueled by social standing and wealth, gossip, and stiff Victorian customs. They also find love.

The two sisters experience vastly different romances, but nearly-mirrored heartbreak, responding in entirely different manners in reaction to this devastating chain of events. Is it better to keep your feelings and emotions buried, suffering in solitude, or to wear one's heart on their sleeve, falling into self-pity while drawing the attention of those that care to offer support?

Austin's prince-charming is found to be lacking, and in this era, wealth and social standing often won out over love. To marry for love and live in poverty, or to marry for money and live without love? Austin created a interesting scheme here, but in all honestly I was disappointed with the love matches in the end. I just saw it going in another direction.

My Rating : ****

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