Sense and Sensibility (Book Review)

You’ll love it if
only the most sparkling dialogue will do

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Sense and Sensibility

By Jane Austen

Plot & Pacing
Writing Craft
Moral Value

Two sisters with wildly different temprements fall in love with men they can’t have

This book contains some of Austen’s all-time best dialogue. So many double meanings, so much dramatic irony. I will say, though, that this novel gets off to a rather slow start. I’d forgotten how long it takes for things to really get rolling. But the story just keeps getting better and better as it flows along.

I’m a total sucker for strong theme, and this book has it—it’s right there in the title. Just like Pride and Prejudice. You’ve got two sisters who embody two extremes of temperament. Eleanor is all sense, and Marianne is all sensibility. Austen shows us the upsides and downsides of each, ultimately praising both in moderation.

In the BBC miniseries from the 2000s, there is a very cringey scene in which Brandon and Willoughby duel with pistols on a foggy morning. I always mocked this scene up and down, saying, “That never happened in the book.” But I was so dead wrong! When Brandon confides in Eleanor, he mentions in veiled language that a duel did take place. So, there you go. Duels do happen in Austen.


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