Sense and Sensibility – Book Review

senseandsensibility

by Jane Austen

Written in 1790′s and published 1811 Sense and Sensibility was the first of Jane’s novels to published.

This insightful study of human nature focusses on Elinor and Marianne Dashwood.  The Dashwood women, Mary (mother), Elinor, Marianne and Margaret are wrenched from their privilaged life after the death of their husband and father.  The estate is passed to his son by his first marriage and John Dashwood does nothing to aid his father’s 2nd family.  The Dashwood women are left with very little to live on.  Their sudden demotion in society complicates the sisters’ chances of marrying well.

Mrs Dashwood’s cousin, Sir John Middleton, comes to the rescue with the offer of a cottage on his estate Barton Park for a cheap rent.  Settling at Barton Cottage finds the family included in a good-hearted but eccentric social circle.  The sisters have to suffer match-making and teasing from Sir John and his mother-in-law,  Mrs Jennings.     The interferrence of the well-meaning Mrs Jenning is made more unbearable when both girls lose their hearts to men beyond their reach.  They learn painful lessons about love and the loss of it.

Sense and Sensibility highlights the precarious position of women of that era.  They weren’t able to earn their fortune and if they lost it, as the Dashwoods did, then their attractiveness is significantly reduced. Jane gives us a clear view of her opinion of the situation of women, being dependent on men, undervalued and censured for being independent.  She creates wonderful characters who masterfully make what they can of their oppressed  lives.

Reading Jane Austen is such a pleasure.  Her characters are rich and sure and I never feel happy to finish a book.  She has such an indepth understanding of human behaviour and the human heart.  Jane made a point of only writing what she had knowledge of, so let us hope that she did experience some of the love she so generously gifts to her heronines.

Essential reading for all young women.  It is humbling to know that even at that time someone was working to highlight the challenges of women.

Posted on 17 December '09 by , under Classic Lit, Historical Fiction, Jane Austen & Austen Inspired, Reviews, Romance.

8 Comments to “Sense and Sensibility – Book Review”

#1 Posted by Maria Grazia (17.12.09 at 07:00 )

Brief but intense and to the point. Good review, Michelle. I read this novel so long ago … but I love re-reading it from time to time and also to watch its different adaptations. My favourite characters are Marianne and Willoughby, though I resemble Elinore much more! Thanks for sharing.

#2 Posted by Michelle (17.12.09 at 07:15 )

Thanks Maria, I write reviews like I like to read them, a brief synopsis and the how the reader felt about it. I don’t like getting too much of the plot revealed.

#3 Posted by Heather (18.12.09 at 09:55 )

I love this book! Great review!

#4 Posted by Lisa (19.12.09 at 13:23 )

Whenever I finish an Austen, I want to either start the same book over or pick up another Austen!

#5 Posted by Shannon (20.12.09 at 00:45 )

As much as I love Austen… I have never read this one! but I sure do love the movie ;)

#6 Posted by Michelle (20.12.09 at 06:47 )

I know Lisa.. there are never enough Jane Austens, perhaps this is why there are so many spin-offs

#7 Posted by Laura's Reviews (22.12.09 at 14:51 )

Great review! I also love as well that Austen highlights the plight of women in most of her novels, particularly Sense and Sensibility. I’m glad we’ve come a long way since then!!

#8 Posted by cecil (23.08.14 at 00:37 )

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thank you!!…