Sense and Sensibility was Jane Austen’s first mature completed novel and her first published novel. Published in 1811, Sense and Sensibility is the story of the Dashwood Sisters. Elinor is practical and level-headed. Marianne is romantic and spontaneous. The death of their father and the loss of their home to their older half-brother forces the sisters into a new life and new relationships.
In 2006, author Rosie Rushton added her name to the long list of writers who have attempted to re-write Austen’s novels. In The Dashwood Sisters’ Secrets of Love, The Dashwood Sisters- practical Ellie, romantic Abby and tomboy Georgie have been hit by a one-two punch. First their parents divorce and their father marries a woman that neither his daughters or his ex-wife care for. Then their father dies, revealing not only how heavily in debt he was, but also that the house that the Dashwoods have called home for generations, now belongs to the new Mrs. Dashwood.
Moving from Sussex to Norfolk is a big change for everyone. Abby is mourning the social life she left behind. Ellie has feelings for Blake, her stepmother’s nephew who has a girlfriend. Georgie is beginning to see a different reaction from the boys around her. The fate of these girls has forever changed, but how will it change them?
The problem with Austen re-boots is that some writers are able to keep Austen’s voice and characters while putting a new spin on an old favorite. Ms. Rushton is not one of them. While she was able to keep the characterizations and the general narrative intact, she lost the ramped up tension that keeps the reader engaged in Sense And Sensibility.
Do I recommend it? Not really.