Becky’s Thirty-Second Book Review: “Sense and Sensibility” by Jane Austen

SPOILER ALERT: Do Not Read if you haven’t read Sense and Sensibility and are planning on it, there is a large amount of the plot summarized in this review.

I just finished reading Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility”. While I found the book to be very entertaining, I would have to say that “Pride and Prejudice” was better. I am glad that I took the time to read it, but it won’t be something that I will reread anytime soon.

“Sense and Sensibility” begins with a death. Mr. Dashwood is about to die and leave behind a wife, their three daughters (Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret) and John, a son from a previous marriage. Mr. Dashwood wants to provide for his family but because of a technicality in the will which left him his fortune, Mr. Dashwood has to leave his legacy to his son almost exclusively. On his deathbed he requests that his son help take care of his step-mom and sisters. John hears his father’s request and decides that he will fulfill his father’s wishes. Then his wife, Fanny steps in and assures him that his father didn’t really mean for him to support his family financially and that Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret would be fine with the small amount of money that was theirs. John for whatever reason, listens to his wife and through this breaks his promise to his father. This is just the beginning of Fanny doing whatever she can to benefit herself and make others suffer.

Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret are forced to move out of their home into a much smaller cottage basically because Fanny is a selfish, cruel woman. The cottage that they move to is rather far away from their previous home and so they have to start life anew. They meet many different characters and love is certainly in the air. Elinor becomes very attached to Edward, whom is Fanny’s brother. Fanny steps in and does her best to separate the two. There is much drama around Marianne’s romantic interests. Margaret plays a very small role in the story.

Elinor and Marianne are invited to stay with a friend in London and while there they meet the “Steel” sisters. One of these women, Lucy is just awful. She is the type of fake friend that everyone knows. Always affectionate with Elinor and Marianne when she was around them but never truly meaning any of what she said. Lucy confessed to Elinor that she was secretly engaged to Edward and had been for the past four years. Elinor was able to keep face around Lucy, but was devastated.

Word leaked on Lucy’s sister’s part and Edward’s mother found out that he was engaged to this woman who not only had no fortune of her own, but did not come from ‘the right kind of family’. Edward’s mother flipped out and since Edward would not break off his engagement to Lucy, his mother disowned him and changed her will so that his younger brother would be left everything. Lucy then turned around, seduced the brother and married him. Meanwhile, she implied to Elinor that she had married Edward. Really cruel.

Marianne fell in love with Willoughby who turns out to be a deceptive creep known for leading on women and getting them in trouble. This romance starts out passionately and then Willoughby all but disappears on Marianne. Then word reaches her that he is to be married. Elinor is told by a friend that Willoughby had gotten a girl pregnant and abandoned her. This just continues to show Elinor what a terrible person Willoughby is. He ends up marrying for money and only shows concern for Marianne when she falls very ill.

Everything ends up working out in the end, all happily ever after style. Jane Austen certainly has an appealing writing style and I enjoyed reading the book. Austen uses language beautifully in her novels and I will certainly continue to read her books. “Sense and Sensibility” is a book that I am glad that I read, but I know that it would not appeal to most of the people that I know just based off of the fact that it does not have explosions and extreme excitement. I think that if you are a person who enjoys reading classics, her novel would appeal to you, but it can be slow at times. 

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