Happy Wednesday, everyone! We’ve had a lovely rainy day. And except the occasional super intense thunder, it’s been nice. I love rainy days!
Today I am so excited to review another book as part of my list for The Classics Club! I want to start with a small shout out to The Classics Club. I really enjoy this club and how it helps me keep reading the classics and tackling some that have been on my TBR for years. The classics book blogging world is so fun! Thanks!
Today I am reviewing Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. This one is especially exciting for me because it marks my final Austen novel. I have now read her complete 6 novels! And now I want to continue onto her juvenilia and letters to complete the full collected works. Can I say (yes, it’s cliche) that I love Jane Austen? Sense and Sensibility just increased that favoritism.
- I must admit that I have seen the Emma Thompson adaptation of Sense and Sensibility many times. And I love it. I was surprised to find myself loving the novel just as much–and, by the end, even more.
- I love the relationship between Elinor and Marianne. More on this later.
- I was pleasantly surprised by how quite of a read this one was. I alternated between listening to an audio book and reading it hard copy. Both ways had me excited and invested in the story. I think audio books are especially great for classics. It helps me focus on the novel and feel accomplished.
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen follows the dual stories of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, sisters and confidants who find themselves in financial difficulties following the death of their father. Elinor is sensible and logical while Marianne is passionate and emotional. Along with their mother and younger sister, Margaret, they move to a small cottage in Devonshire, England where they meet a unique cast of characters including the neighborhood busybody and several contrasting suitors. They both fall in love, experience heartbreak, and must find their own reasons to live and endure. Through it all, they find strength and love in each other and their contrasting ways of looking at the world.
As I mentioned above, I have loved the movie adaptation of this novel for years. When Elinor starts weeping when she learns that Edward is not engaged, I cry every time. I believe that the movie adaptation doesn’t have to ruin the book. I think they can both be worthwhile; although, I often categorize them separately in my mind. Movies can give us added perspective and different interpretations of books. And I think a well done Jane Austen adaptation is one of my favorite types of movies. I will even say that this particular movie adaptation even motivated me to read the book. I enjoyed the movie so much that I wanted to read the novel.
Favorite quote from the movie:
“I come here with no expectations, only to profess, now that I am at liberty to do so, that my heart is and always will be…yours.”
So that put me in a different situation than I’m used to when reading novels for the first time. I knew how this book would end. I knew who would end up together and the most dramatic events that would occur along the way. But that didn’t make me love the novel any less. I enjoyed the subtle differences between the movie and the novel. I enjoyed the added dimension that written word gives to characters and interactions. We get a lot more details about interactions between characters and more insights into the thoughts of Elinor and Marianne. I found myself easily invested in the story and in the characters.
Elinor and Marianne are beautifully written characters with deep emotions and complexities that continue to develop throughout the novel. Perhaps because I read this novel in the midst of several children’s novels, I found the character development especially impressive. These sisters feel like real people. They have strengths and weaknesses. They make mistakes and learn how to cope with disappointments and loss. They change how they feel about other people and try to be better. Austen has such a talent for creating characters that feel real and easy to connect with. I love her characters not because they are perfect but because they are human.
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the love stories in this novel. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love love stories. And I knew how this story ended. But I was surprised by how much I loved it. I have always loved the classic love story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. It’s beautiful, it’s emotional, and it’s fulfilling. We have to wait for them to realize their feelings for each other and that wait makes the resulting marriage all the sweeter. The way Colonel Brandon waits for Marianne and serves her throughout the novel is absolutely beautiful. And the reveal of Edward’s feelings for Elinor is so simple and pure that it almost made me cry. These are equally beautiful love stories that also take nearly the entire novel to resolve. We have to wait for Marianne to realize what is more important to her. We have to wait for Edward and Elinor to realize they can choose the person they love. And that wait, though long and frustrating at times, makes these love stories on par with Lizzy and Darcy for me–if not even better.
No one can turn a phrase quite like Jane Austen. And every time I read an Austen novel, I am re-reminded of that fact. I adore her writing style. I love the way she weaves beautifully sentences, scenes, and characters throughout her novels. Her language adds maturity and complexity to her novels. The writing gives the story life and depth. I think this is why Austen has remained so popular. Because she allows her language to be a part of the story (not just the narration for it), Austen’s novels are timeless and unique. They don’t just give us a love story. They also give us commentary on human nature and society. All within a beautiful language that is also accessible and memorable.
Perhaps, in part, that is what makes Jane Austen so endearingly popular today. She gives us beautiful romance, dynamic characters, all within a beautiful language that we wish we could use in our daily lives.
It’s difficult to pick just a few quotes from this novel. But here are a few of my favorites:
“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”
“If I could but know his heart, everything would become easy.”
“Always resignation and acceptance. Always prudence and honour and duty. Elinor, where is your heart?”
“Esteem him! Like him! Cold-hearted Elinor! Oh! worse than cold-hearted! Ashamed of being otherwise. Use those words again, and I will leave the room this moment.”
“Marianne Dashwood was born to an extraordinary fate. She was born to discover the falsehood of her own opinions, and to counteract, by her conduct, her most favourite maxims.”
Sense and Sensibility, quotes from Goodreads
This novel is now one of my favorite Jane Austen books and one of my favorite recent reads. I highly recommend it to Austen lovers, classics lovers, and anyone who can appreciate a beautiful story in beautiful language.
Which is your favorite Jane Austen novel?