#6. The promising yet ultimately just so-so... Sense and Sensibility!
Put the movie with Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant out of your mind for a second, okay?
For me, what makes or breaks an Austen book are the characters. I ask myself three questions: do I have fond memories of the characters? Did I enjoy their dynamic? Did I ship the OTP? In this case, my answers were a mild yes, a mild yes, and a decided no (don’t hate me).
So here’s what happens. The Dashwood sisters get the short end of the stick on their father’s inheritance and must move in with distant relations at Barton Park. There they meet Colonel Brandon and Willoughby and a bunch of other people. Hearts and engagements are broken, ankles are sprained, and people are disinherited. In the end, everyone sees the light and stays with the people they are meant to stay with.
I’ll be honest, it’s been a while since I read this one, but I was never a big fan of the age difference between Marianne and Colonel Brandon. I mean, you’ve got a 16-year-old girl and a dude who’s on the wrong side of 35, which doesn’t sit right with me. I was also never crazy about Colonel Brandon in general. And is it just me, or is Edward not a very sensible choice for Elinor? No? Just me? (I blame Hugh Grant and Dan Stevens for this. They just HAD to go around looking extremely dashing in their waistcoats!)
The verdict: this story has great promise but not a great ending. Or maybe I’m just dumb and need to go reread it immediately. Both are possible.