Publisher and Publication Date: Race Point Publishing, an imprint of The Quarto Group. 2015. First published in three volumes in 1811.
Genre: Fiction. Women and literature.
Audience: Readers of Jane Austen.
This is the third time I’ve read this book. The cover of the book is not my favorite.
Early nineteenth century England.
Mr. Henry Dashwood died leaving a wife and three daughters without a secure financial future. His son, John Dashwood, from a first marriage became the inheritor of the estate. The family continued to all live together in the estate in Sussex for several months. During the period of time when all the family is living at the estate, John Dashwood’s brother-in-law came to visit. His name is Edward Ferrars. Edward and Marianne became friends and an attachment developed between them. Edward’s sister is not pleased. It had already been difficult with all of them living together, but the time came when it was unbearable. A relative of the widow, Mrs. Henry Dashwood, offered the women a small cottage in Devonshire. The women left Sussex and began a new life in Devonshire.
The three sisters are Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret.
Elinor is nineteen. She has a calm and quiet demeanor. She is cautious, level-headed, a peacemaker, and prudent.
Marianne is sixteen. She has a passionate personality. She is an emotional person and those emotions at times overtake wisdom.
Margaret is thirteen. She is more like Marianne than Elinor. Her personality is still developing.
Sense and Sensibility is my favorite of Jane Austen’s works.
The main reason I love this story is it is four women (one a child) who come to terms with the sad events of their life and create a new life for themselves.
A second reason is I love the sisterly relationship. I have two older sisters who I am close to. The three of us have different personalities. We don’t always agree. Sometimes we have misunderstandings. Yet, we love each other and we’re completely devoted to one another.
The romantic interests of the two older sisters is a strong storyline, but it is not a reason this is a favorite story to me.
I’ve read various readers pronounce Marianne’s final love choice as terrible. They think she settled. So much we don’t know about Marianne’s final romantic decision. However, she experienced some things that brought about a different perspective. The different perspective gave her a new perception and realization about love.
Romantic love doesn’t always look, progress, or settle in the places we expect. I’m guilty of having the thought, “love must look like this.” Especially when I was young. Sometimes we see what we want to see. We also see with a vision that can be obscured.
I’ve been both Elinor and Marianne. I can relate to both women. This is another reason I love this story. As a woman, I can identify with the heroines.
I was reminded (while reading this story) at how much thought and energy women spend wondering what men are thinking. Why men say or don’t say certain things? And, why do women wait for men? I’ve known women wait many years for a marriage proposal. I know one woman who waited 15 years!