Many books have been written to continue the stories of the characters that Jane Austen created, including sequels, prequels, continuations, and diaries. Most of these books have been written about the most popular of her novels, Pride and Prejudice while ignoring some of her other different, but equally well-written and beautiful novels–Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Emma, Mansfield Park, and Persuasion. Now for the first time, all six of Jane Austen’s books have been re-imagined and set in the 21st century. The Austen Project has started their new series with an update of Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope—a version filled with unique problems and surprises from today’s world, while still holding true to some of the qualities in Jane Austen’s original novel that makes Sense and Sensibility a timeless tale of sisterhood and second chances. Continue reading “Sense and Sensibility: The Austen Project, by Joanna Trollope – A Review”
Sense and Sensibility was the first of Jane Austen’s novels to be published, in 1811. A second edition came out in 1813 with author corrections, and that edition was used as the definitive version by Dr. Chapman who noted changes from the first edition. This annotated version also uses Chapman’s second edition, and changes from the first edition are recorded in the footnotes; I appreciate having that information available with other comments/explanations.
At the center of the novel are sisters, Elinor & Marianne Dashwood, who live with their younger sister Margaret and their widowed mother. The plot revolves around these two sisters and their love stories, though Continue reading “Sense and Sensibility: An Annotated Edition, by Jane Austen and edited by Patricia Meyer Spacks – A Review”
Just in case you were interested to know how much your first editions of Jane Austen’s works were worth, this video featuring Adam Douglas, Senior Specialist in Early Literature at Peter Harrington, a rare book dealer in London, introduces a selection of Jane Austen’s first editions and explains how bindings affect value.
We just love how he handles the books. It’s like an aphrodisiac for an Austen fan as he sensually glides his hands over first editions of Sense and Sensibility and Mansfield Park and speaks in reverent and seductive tones! Adam, you are such a Willoughby!
For two hundred and one years readers have had the pleasure of reading Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. For the bicentenary celebration last year, Penguin Classics issued this new edition with an introduction by Cathleen Schine (The Three Weissmanns of Westport) and cover illustration by Audrey Niffenegger (yes the author of The Time Travelers Wife is also an artist).
The cover shows us a tempest in a teacup. While I love the design, I’m not sure that it exactly mirrors the action in Sense and Sensibility. The phrase tempest in a teacup, or teapot, has a slightly derogatory implication, like making a mountain out of a molehill. I personally think that Austen’s drama is not puffed up and only her heroine Marianne Dashwood is exaggerated (on purpose) to show her overly romantic personality. But, that’s just me. Continue reading “Penguin Classics Bicentenary Edition of Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen – A Review”
From Jack Caldwell, the author who brought us Pemberley Ranch, comes a 3-alarm war-time romance: The Three Colonels, Jane Austen’s Fighting Men. An amalgamation of two separate novels is often labeled a “mish-mash” but Mr. Caldwell’s unique melding of the principals from Pride and Prejudice with those from Sense and Sensibility deserves a much classier description.
Two of the three military heroes emerge straight from Jane Austen: Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam and Colonel Christopher Brandon. The third, Colonel Sir John Buford, has been conjured up from the author’s fertile imagination. One is married; (Brandon) one gets married; (Buford) One wants marriage. (Fitzwilliam) Continue reading “The Three Colonels: Jane Austen’s Fighting Men, by Jack Caldwell – A Review”
This is my final contribution to The Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Reading Challenge 2011. Feeling nostalgic during the holidays, I resorted to an old chestnut in selection of my final read. I enjoyed Willoughby’s Return immeasurably when I first read it two years ago. After re-reading it again, I began to write my new review and quickly realized that I was just repeating what I had previously written – with the exception that my respect for Odiwe’s writing had increased in comparison to other Austenesque fiction that I had read since – so I increased my star rating from 4 to 5.
While the Jane Austen sequel industry abounds with numerous books inspired by Pride and Prejudice, regretfully there are very few sequels to Austen’s first published novel Sense and Sensibility. Why? Possibly because some readers have been disappointed with half of Austen’s unsatisfactory ending for her two heroines. While the two Dashwood sisters do marry: staid and stoic Elinor to Edward Ferrars and impulsive and free-spirited Marianne to Col. Brandon, the second pairings future happiness seemed doubtful. How could a young lady with Marianne’s intense passionate depth be happy with anyone other than her Byronic first love Mr. Willoughby – even after he threw her over for an heiress? Nagging questions arise. Did she settle when she married the Colonel? Would she be tempted into extramarital affairs and runaway with her lover? Possibly, leaving an intriguing premise for continuing the story.
All these concerns are addressed in Willoughby’s Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistible Temptation a new sequel to Sense and Sensibility by Jane Odiwe. How, or if they will be resolved to our satisfaction is now a possibility.
Three years after her marriage to Colonel Brandon, Marianne is the mistress of Delaford Park and the mother of a young son James. She has everything that a young married woman could desire: wealth, position, an heir and a loving husband, but her insecurities, jealousy and impetuous nature rob her of complete happiness. Resentful that her husband is frequently called away to attend his ward Eliza Williams and her infant daughter, Marianne “feels” that he cares for his other family more than his own. Their ties to the Brandon’s are strong and painful; Eliza being the daughter of Brandon’s first love who died tragically, and Eliza’s young child Lizzie the illegitimate daughter of John Willoughby the rogue who also threw over Marianne’s affections for an heiress five years prior. In addition, there is that imposing portrait of Eliza’s mother hanging in the Hall staring down at her. Every time Marianne passes it she sees the similarities of their appearances and doubts more and more if Brandon married her because he loved her, of if she is replacing the woman that he loved and lost years ago. When the charming rogue John Willoughby reappears in her life proclaiming he has never stopped loving her, the pain of their failed romance is renewed gradually replaced by conflicting emotions and the temptation to be with him again.
We are reintroduced to many of the characters from the original novel: Elinor Ferrars and her husband Edward, Mrs. Jennings, the Middleton’s, Lucy Ferrars and importantly Elinor and Marianne’s younger sister Margaret Dashwood who has her own romance in the course of the novel that may equal Marianne’s dilemma in emotion and drama. It could not be a Jane Austen sequel without talk of beaus, gowns and a glamorous Ball, so imagine everything most “profligate and shocking” in the way of young couples dancing and sitting down together! Margaret Dashwood supplies the shocking (to the horror of the neighborhood biddies) in her behavior by dancing more than three times in one night with one partner, Henry Lawrence, the charming and bold nephew of Col Brandon. Like Willoughby, Henry appears to be a good catch: attractive, well connected, an heir to a fortune and too irresistible. He wastes no time in pursuing Margaret’s affections. There is a surprise twist to their relationship that I will not reveal, but readers might recognize similarities to another Austen heroine.
Odiwe has captured Marianne’s spirit superbly. Romantic, impulsive and let’s face it, high maintenance! At times I really wanted to give her a firm dressing down and felt the same of Austen’s younger Marianne, so I knew that Odiwe had connected their characteristics seamlessly. Marianne may be five years older, but she’s still Marianne the drama queen and that makes for great entertainment! Interestingly, the two men in her life, Brandon and Willoughby, had fewer scenes than expected but caused many reactions to fuel the narrative serving their purpose. This was a nice mirror to women’s fate in Regency times. Men have all the power, women all the presence.
This is Odiwe’s second Austen sequel, and like Lydia Bennet’s Story she has chosen a character in Marianne Brandon that is ruled by impulse and emotion making for surprise and tension – all good elements to an engaging story that she delivers with confidence and aplomb. Developing younger sister Margaret Dashwood brought youth, vivacity and a bit of rebellion against social dictums to the story. Her romance with Henry Lawrence was an excellent choice as she shared the narrative equally with Marianne and balanced the story. Odiwe’s research and passion for the Regency era shine, especially in her descriptions of the country fair and fashions. It is rewarding to see her develop her own style evocative of Austen but totally modern in its sensibility. There were a few missteps with cadence and vernacular, but I am splitting hairs, and few will notice. Of course we are never in much doubt that it will all end happily, but unlike Jane Austen’s tale, the final transformation of the heroine’s troubling want of caution and choice of spouse will not prompt debate two hundred years later.
A light and enjoyable read, Willoughby’s Return is a charming tale that sweeps you back into Austen’s mannered world of a young girl searching for love and a married woman realizing it.
5 out of 5 Regency Stars
This is my twelfth selection in the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge 2011, my year-long homage to Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility. You can read the archive of all of my reviews and those of the other participants reviews posted in the challenge review pages here. It has been great fun to visit Jane Austen’s first published novel and many of the film adpatations and books that it has inspired this year.
A Grand Giveaway
Enter a chance to win one copy of Willoughby’s Return, by Jane Odiwe by leaving a comment by midnight PT, Wednesday, January 4, 2012 stating if you are Team Willoughby or Team Brandon and why? Winner to be announced on Thursday, January 5, 2012. Shipment to US or Canadian addresses only. Good luck!
The deadline to enter the Grand Prize drawing of The Sense and Sensibility Reading Challenge 2011, which includes a copy of each of the twelve items that I reviewed for the challenge in a Jane Austen tote bag from The Republic of Pemberley Shoppe will be midnight PT, January 4, 2012. Winner announced on Thursday, January 5th, 2012. All of the participants in the challenge and the commenters in their review posts in the event are eligible. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck to all!
Willoughby’s Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistible Temptation, by Jane Odiwe
Sourcebooks Landmark, Naperville, IL (2009)
Trade paperback (345) pages
© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
As 2011 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, we are offered another annotated edition to help us understand the social and historical context of the world that Jane Austen places us into in late eighteenth century England.
The Sense and Sensibility (The Jane Austen Bicentenary Library) is the first Jane Austen novel, in what I hope will be the bookend of Jane Austen’s six major works, to be offered in eBook format from Girlebooks. Yes, the format is digital gentle readers – and I think it quite appropriate that Margaret Sullivan is leading the way for us as its annotator. Many know Margaret as the editrix of AustenBlog.com, but she is also a strong advocate of digital books, and has for many years been waving their flag in attempt to prepare us for the inevitable. That time has come. This is the first book I am reviewing for Austenprose that is being produced solely for the digital market. Continue reading “Sense and Sensibility: The Jane Austen Bicentenary Library, by Jane Austen, annotated by Margaret C. Sullivan, illustrated by Cassandra Chouinard – A Review”
As 2011 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s first novel Sense and Sensibility, it is a great pleasure to see a new sequel to it arrive from Pemberley Chronicles author Rebecca Ann Collins.
Please join us today in welcoming Rebecca Ann on her blog tour in celebration of the release of Expectations of Happiness published this month by Sourcebooks. Rebecca Ann has kindly shared with us some insights on creating the novel.
Thank you very much, Laurel Ann, for inviting me to contribute to your blog; it is a pleasure to be able to speak directly to you and your readers about my work and the new book – Expectations of Happiness.
You have asked why I chose to write a companion volume to Sense and Sensibility and how I managed to “get my head into the Regency period after writing The Pemberley Chronicles.
If I may answer your second question first – I had absolutely no difficulty with the Regency Period, which covers the latter part of Jane Austen’s life; I was familiar with the historical, social and cultural background of that era.
As a Jane Austen addict ever since I first read Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility when I was just twelve years old, and a student of both English Literature and History, I had read everything I could get my hands on about the author, her family, her life and times. Her novels were published within the period of the Regency so it was inevitable that a passionate reader and student of Miss Austen’s work and the society in which she lived would absorb the events and ambiance of the era. Continue reading “Expectations of Happiness Blog Tour with author Rebecca Ann Collins, & Giveaway!”
Even though it has been two hundred years since the world was first introduced to sisters Marianne and Elinor Dashwood’s financial, social and romantic trials, their story remains for me, as fresh and vibrant as any contemporary story you might read of, experience yourself, or hear tell tale of today. I give full credit, of course, to Jane Austen. Her understanding of human nature and how to craft emotions and characters into an engaging story remains unparalleled. Add to that a delightful twelve hour and forty-three minute reading by the accomplished British actress Juliet Stevenson’s polished interpretation of memorable personalities and you are primed for unsurpassed entertainment. Here is a brief description from the publisher: Continue reading “Sense and Sensibility, by Jane Austen (Naxos Audiobooks) – A Review”
In celebration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sense and Sensibility (1811), Palazzo Editions Limited in Bath, England is publishing a deluxe hardcover edition available in September in the UK and January 2012 in the US. Illustrated by Niroot Puttapipat, one of my favorite Austen artist who worked on the famed Folio Society editions of Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Persuasion, this very special collectors edition is the first in the series of Jane Austen’s classic novels that Palazzo plans to produce. Here are the particulars:
- Full unabridged text of Jane Austen’s beloved novel
- 11 color & black & white illustrations by Niroot Puttapipat
- Introduction by Katharine Reeve
- Hardcover with quarter-binding (332) pages
- Palazzo Editions (September 1, 2011 in the UK & January 1, 2012 in the US)
- Language: English
- ISBN: 978-0956494245
Please join us today in welcoming young adult fiction author Jennifer Ziegler for the official launch of her book blog tour of Sass & Serendipity a new Sense and Sensibility-inspired YA novel that is releasing tomorrow, Tuesday, July 12, 2011, by Delacorte Books for Young Readers (Random House).
Growing up, I found great comfort in reading Jane Austen. I can’t remember exactly when I discovered her, but it was sometime during my high school years. From a purely literary standpoint I would have to say that Pride and Prejudice is her masterwork, but Sense and Sensibility has always been my favorite.
I adored the characters of Elinor and Marianne, and, being a sister myself, I could really relate to their relationship – especially the way they were so different and yet still fiercely devoted to each other. I realized that sisterhood today wasn’t all that different from sisterhood two centuries ago, and I started to wonder when somebody would do a modern retelling – something that would stay true to the themes and moods of the book.
And here is where I make a confession: I think, in some ways, Jane Austen wrote YA. Before anyone tosses tomatoes at me, please allow me to explain…
Austen’s books centered around young women on the verge of adulthood. They are nearly ready to leave the nest and take their spot in the world – and in the Regency era, the best landing of all would be that of a happy marriage to a good and prosperous man. Standing on this threshold of life is the emotional setting for all young adult novels. Teens are caught between the insular world of the childhood home and that of society at large. Even if they don’t strike out on their own at the end, they have surely become more “adult” by the final page.
Austen never makes the search for a proper husband the point of her stories. In every case the main character needs to go through some significant growth first. Whether it’s Elinor learning to trust her feelings as much as her intellect, Marianne coming out of her fantasies and into her senses, Elizabeth learning not to judge too prematurely, Emma learning not to meddle in other people’s lives, and so on, Austen makes sure her heroines recognize and overcome character flaws in order to earn their happy-ever-afters. Such maturation is central to young adult literature, as it is with all good character-based fiction. However, in YA, the age of the protagonists is key. Teens and early twenties don’t know as much about the world or themselves quite yet. Because of this, the problems they face are brand new, but also – and this is critical – their emotions are brand new. This is first love, first heartbreak, first crushing disillusionment.
Thus, when I really stopped to consider it, I realized that any retelling of an Austen novel would almost have to be a young adult book in order to stay true to these themes and arcs. At that point it was a quick hop from “Someone should do an update of Sense and Sensibility” to “Yes … and why not me?”
Of course, it was a daunting suggestion. Me update Austen? Would I give the original source material the proper care and reverence? The answer was no. I mean, I knew I would do my best, but I also knew that I couldn’t duplicate Austen’s prose. My writing style is just too different. I also knew that the scope of the book would have to be changed – favorite scenes and characters would have to go. An exact retelling, with faithful character match-ups and plot recreations would be impossible. Any attempt would end up a mess.
So, to avoid disappointing Austen fans, my fans, and myself, I decided early on that my novel would pay homage to Sense and Sensibility without being a strict retelling. It was the feel of the book – the themes of sisterly bonds, romance, and identity – that inspired me to update it in the first place, so that is where I would start.
Ironically, to be true to the tone and premise of her book, I had to stay far away from it. In fact, I avoided all things Austen while drafting the novel (a huge sacrifice for me). I didn’t want to be tempted toward replication, so instead, I worked from memory – the storylines, moods, and ideas that had made an indelible impression on me.
The result was Sass & Serendipity, a story of two sisters living in modern, small-town Texas, and their run-ins with romance, economic hardships, societal pressures, and each other. It was tough to write – but fun. I really enjoyed getting to “play Austen.”
And now that the book is out, I’ve gotten the best endorsement ever: my sister, Amanda, loves it. I hope others will, too.
Jennifer Ziegler is the author of Alpha Dog and How Not to be Popular. Born in Temple, Texas, as a child she also lived in Anchorage, Alaska and then returned to the Lone Star state to attend the University of Texas, where she earned degrees in journalism and English. While there she fell in love with Austin and its many cool hangouts, music venues, swimming holes, and hip people. Upon graduation, she decided to settle there, working as a freelance reporter, editorial assistant, and middle school language arts teacher. Jennifer also met a cute musician guy named Carl and the two got married. Visit Jennifer at her website, or Facebook, and follow her on Twitter as @ZieglerJennifer.
Giveaway of Sass & Serendipity
Enter a chance to win one of three copies of Sass & Serendipity by leaving a comment answering what intrigues you most about reading a Sense and Sensibility-inspired young adult novel or which character in the original novel is your favorite, by midnight PT, Wednesday, July 20, 2011. Winners to be announced on Thursday, July 21, 2010. Shipment to US and Canadian addresses only. Good luck!
Sass & Serendipity, by Jennifer Ziegler
Delacorte Books (2011)
Hardcover (384) pages
© 2007 – 2011 Jennifer Ziegler, Austenprose
Well, not really a holiday, but it sounds much better than telling you all that I am in the midst of moving to a new cottage here in the Pacific Northwest and my life is in transit right now. In this instance, we are in agreement with that buffoon Robert Ferrars…
“For my own part,” said he, “I am excessively fond of a cottage; there is always so much comfort, so much elegance about them. And I protest, if I had any money to spare, I should buy a little land and build one myself, within a short distance of London, where I might drive myself down at any time, and collect a few friends about me, and be happy. I advise everybody who is going to build, to build a cottage.” Robert Ferrars, Sense and Sensibility, Ch 36
I will have intermittent Internet for the next week or so dependent on when they can get my new service up and running. Even though my life is up in air at the moment, I would never forget my loyal readers and have scheduled posts to publish automatically at midnight over several days. We shall have blog tours by Mary Simonsen and Victoria Connelly, book reviews by Kimberley and a new addition to the review staff, Br. Paul, yep, a real Dominican friar who is a true Janeite, so it should be entertaining while I am away. You won’t even know I’m gone!!!
Just remember if you are new to the site and have not posted a comment before, you will be in the queue awaiting approval until I read it, so it might take a few days.
Everyone have a wonderful 4th of July weekend.
© 2007 – 2011 Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose