What’s better on a Monday morning than book chat? This one pairs especially well with tea and scones.
“Know your own happiness. You want nothing but patience – or give it a more fascinating name, call it hope.”
― Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
Start date: 7/30/2017
Finish date: 8/12/2017
Source: Blogging for Books
We all know there’s nothing more polarizing than an Austen adaptation, but never fear: this modern retelling of Sense and Sensibility was charming, if a bit treacly sweet. Fortunately, this tale can stand on its own whether you’re familiar with the original or not, but personally I loved connecting the dots between the plot points of each version. The details are updated, but the premise is the same: two sisters with contradictory personalities suddenly find themselves in reduced circumstances, forced to move from their beloved home to live with distant relations. However, in these modern days the sisters have more resources; they have to leave their San Francisco tea shop when their landlord passes away and the rent triples, but their online business pays the bills while they search for a new storefront in Austin, Texas; both sisters deal with heartbreak, but the scandal of a breakup doesn’t ruin their reputations.
The tea shop was a new twist, from the particulars of caring for tea plants to the catering events that take place at the South by Southwest music festival. The recipes at the end of each chapter were also a fun bonus (on the flipside, the Texas quotes at the beginning of each chapter felt like overkill); I don’t think I’ve ever made a recipe from a fiction book, but the author’s bio indicates that she’s a foodie in her spare time, so I bet they taste as good as they sound!
Compared to the original, this retelling lacks Austen’s acerbic wit; there are no absurd side characters or biting social commentary. Instead of focusing on the sisters’ opposing views toward love, their relationship takes center stage, which I found more compelling than Austen’s reason vs. emotion argument. And thankfully, we get to hear primarily from the “Marianne” of the pair, because let’s face it: no matter how sensible, Elinor is a bit boring!
We also get POV chapters from the man’s side of the story, and his perspective helps flesh out the action as well as the love story. The retired marine’s chapters also filled in some of the gaps that happen off-screen in the original, and helped make the relationships feel more convincing.
I didn’t realize that this book came from a Christian publishing imprint, but the tone leaned more toward “clean” than “religious.” In fact, many of the Christian references seemed tacked on as an afterthought; there are a few instances of characters praying, but then there’s no mention of faith when a main character is dangerously ill in the hospital, which seemed strange. I didn’t mind it, but you may feel differently.
I couldn’t resist the promise of a fresh twist on a beloved classic, and this retelling turned out to be a lighthearted and entertaining romance.
***I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.***The Amateur Librarian is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.