Sense and Sensibility is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels! Whenever I see Austen re-tellings with a modern flair…..I try to be wary. Some are great but others miss the mark and but yet no matter how great or awful the re-tellings are, I still can’t resist them in any form! When I saw that Lauren Edmondson was writing a modern re-telling of Sense and Sensibility, for good or for bad, I was so excited to read it!
But I went into it knowing that nothing will ever live up to the original Sense and Sensibility—nor should it! Austen had her own unique voice and I expected Edmondson to have her own voice as well, but what I did hope was that Edmondson did justice to the Dashwood sisters and the spirit of the original novel.
It’s hard to do a good retelling which is why I have been wary but try and I might, I just can’t resist reading another and another and another to see how well or how poorly it was executed. This one however I think did a nice job at recreating the Dashwood sisters as modern women. While not with out some flaws, the story overall was fun, modern, and a cheeky nod to Sense and Sensibility!
AN IRRESISTIBLE FAMILY DRAMA SET IN HIGH-SOCIETY GEORGETOWN THAT PUTS A MODERN SPIN ON JANE AUSTEN’S CLASSIC SENSE AND SENSIBILITY
*Named a Best Book of February by Good Morning America, Bustle, Popsugar, BookBub, and Frolic*
“I was absolutely charmed by Ladies of the House. A wonderful debut.” —Allison Winn Scotch, bestselling author of Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing
No surprise is a good surprise. At least according to thirty-four-year-old Daisy Richardson. So when it’s revealed in dramatic fashion that her esteemed father had been involved in a public scandal before his untimely death, Daisy’s life becomes complicated—and fast.
For one, the Richardsons must now sell the family home in Georgetown they can no longer afford, and Daisy’s mother is holding on with an iron grip. Her younger sister, Wallis, is ready to move on to bigger and better things but falls fast and hard for the most inconvenient person possible. And then there’s Atlas, Daisy’s best friend. She’s always wished they could be more, but now he’s writing an exposé on the one subject she’s been desperate to avoid: her father.
Daisy’s plan is to maintain a low profile as she works to keep her family intact amid social exile, public shaming, and quickly dwindling savings. But the spotlight always seems to find the Richardsons, and when another twist in the scandal comes to light, Daisy must confront the consequences of her continued silence and summon the courage to stand up and accept the power of her own voice. (summary from Goodreads)
When I am reading an Austen novel, it’s hard to reimagine some of the issues that might plague the modern woman, I mean I don’t think the modern woman is really worried about marrying a man who has 10,000 pounds a year anymore right? Or marrying to save their family from social ruin? What I am saying is that often Austen’s surface themes aren’t necessarily relevant to modern women anymore, however when you look deeper the themes are timeless. Marrying someone because it’s what your family wants or finding stability through marriage certainly are not antiquated or outdated issues for the modern woman. Which is what makes Austen novels so classic. What I love about this book is that the author preserves those deeper meanings and brings them to life in this book.
I loved that the author used politics as a way to freshen up the story too. For some the political element and stance in this book might not be for everyone but for me, I enjoyed it and found it relatable for the modern woman. This book definitely touches on the darker side of politics and fortune and I think that’s an important message for readers too. It added a lot of complexity to the characters story that differs from the original Dashwoods. The novel is set in Washington DC and I thought it obviously added to the political climate of the novel in a more relatable and feel more eminent and important than had the father been a governor and the story set in their home state. Hopefully that makes sense. Adding politics into this book was a gamble for the author. I personally felt that it worked for me but I also know that not everyone will agree especially with the current political climate.
For me I felt that Daisy was the stronger character in this book. Wallis and Cricket (the mom) were a little less developed and the focus on them was not as intense as it was on Daisy. I found her resilient and tenacious where as her counterpart, Wallis was for free spirited. Clearly a nod to Sense and Sensibility. I do wish their names had been different. Both names were a little blah for me. I would have liked to have seen something a little stronger to convey their different personalities the way that the classic did. I think where this one fell a little short for me was the underdevelopment of Wallis and Cricket. They felt very one dimensional to me in a way that Daisy didn’t. Daisy was the narrator so a lot of the story is through her perspective but I think Wallis could have added more.
Overall this was a nice read and an enjoyable story with recognizable characters and themes from the classic novel. It has a modern feel and the book was an easy read which flowed nicely. While the political plot might not find favor with some readers, for me it was a fun novel that had a lot of enjoy and unpack while reading.
Book Info and Rating
Format384 pages, Paperback
PublishedFebruary 9, 2021 by Graydon House
ISBN9781525895968 (ISBN10: 1525895966)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Graydon House, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: contempo lit, retelling, romance, chick lit