Yes I know there’s a typo in the title image. Yes it bothers me immensely. Yes we are just going to ignore it and pretend it didn’t happen.
Sense and Sensibility. The last Jane Austen novel I needed to read to be able to proudly say “I’ve read Jane Austen’s entire works”…kind of. I still have a book of short stories by her. But you know. I read all her full novels so it counts.
I recently made a video of mini-reviews for Jane Austen, going through each of the books in order of least favourite to favourite. So if you’ve seen that, you might remember where this one came. But now, it’s time for the full review.
Let’s dive into Sense and Sensibility!
*Sorry the image looks weird. My phone camera doesn’t get along with clothbound books, apparently?*
Title: Sense and Sensibility
Author: Jane Austen
Series Status: Standalone
Genre: Classic, Romance
Number of Pages: 448
(Found on Goodreads)
Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor’s warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love – and its threatened loss – the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.
This is one of those books that would have taken me forever and a day to read had I not listened to the audiobook along with it. I just know it.
Honestly, I feel like I didn’t dedicate enough of my attention to this book to fully appreciate it. I know what happened, but I left it quite long between the times I’d pick it up to read, and that left me sort of detached from the characters. Had I only been reading this book at the time, and actually read the words rather than just listen to someone read it to me, I might have rated this book a bit higher. We’ll see, when I come to reread it one day.
That being said, I did like this book. It was full of drama. I can’t help but think there was a lot of toing and froing with the plot – one minute some event would happen, then it would be undone. Then it would happen again, only to be revealed as a big misunderstanding. And while that started to get a little predictable, it was still entertaining. To see the characters scramble around, trying to get a hold on what’s happening…it was amusing, at least.
Like with all Jane Austen’s books, I especially loved seeing how society worked back then. There’s a nod to romance vs societal expectations, which was interesting to see, but also the issues with inheritance. And I have to say, this book doesn’t hold as much grandeur as her others. While the main characters aren’t necessarily poor, they’re not rich either. They’re a sort of modest inbetween, and I actually loved seeing that. It meant that the romances were built differently than her other novels – they wouldn’t meet at balls, they’d find some other way instead. It also had the sense that emotions mean more than presentation. And when a lot of classics feature characters who are entirely guided by how they look the the rest of their society, it was quite refreshing to see this difference.
The characters themselves were entertaining to read about. There were so many misunderstandings and miscommunications, secrets and impulses, half the time I was sat figuring out who knew what. Where we can see everything playing out in front of our eyes, the characters swan through oblivious. And the main two – Elinor and Marianne – were so realistic. Ridiculous at times, but realistic. Which is something I’ve noticed in all of Jane Austen’s novels, and really applaud her for.
It’s really hard for me to gather my thoughts on this one. All I keep thinking is that I enjoyed it, but it was just a little bit lackluster. This was Austen’s first published book, and to me it definitely feels that way. Purely because the sheer length of the book, compared to how much I got out of it…it doesn’t quite match up.
And that, is the best way I can sum it up.
Rated 3.5/5 stars
Share your thoughts!
Have you read this book? What did you think?
Maybe you’ve read some of Jane Austen’s other books?
If you haven’t, do you plan to?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
Come and visit me!