by Jane Austen
Amazon / Goodreads
Plot Summary:'The more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!'
Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love—and its threatened loss—the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.
Review:There are two things about Sense and Sensibility that stand out to me - the writing and the characters. Jane Austen's writing is so light and entertaining and it seems particularly emphasized in this book. The tone is gently wry and mocking which makes sense because these characters are very broad and humorous. The main sisters - Elinor and Marianne represent the title, and because each are so completely ruled by one trait - sense or sensiblility - it was difficult for me to be completely sympathetic with either one. Although Elinor is easily the most appealing character in this book. But of course the main drama is that Elinor and Marianne need to grow and mature and Austen paints their journey brilliantly. Everyone else around the two sisters and the three male leads were generally quirky and humorous in their mannerisms. Which added to the entertaining nature of this book. The men - Edward, Brandon and Willoughby were all generally nice yet unexciting (except Willoughby is just a prat!). It's odd that while I feel very charmed by these characters - they are all not very well-rounded.
I did love that there's such a lovely, natural, confidential style to Austen's narrative, where it felt like I was eavesdropping on some very personal gossip. Even though Austen's cool tone creates some distance between the reader and the characters, I still felt very invested in their lives. And that sense of living in this world of civility and protocol was very entrancing.
I feel like my thoughts on this book are a little all over the place. I definitely enjoyed it, though there are moments when the action becomes monotonous and when I felt like everyone in this book acted very silly. And I was disappointed by how many times Jane Austen takes the reader away from key romantic moments - from the proposals in the end most importantly. But the humor is deftly ingrained in the narrative (especially in the secondary characters) and the deceptive simplicity of the story and the resolution made this a very charming read.
Fourth book read in the Classics Club Challenge
Also part of the 2014 Jane Austen Challenge