Fiction — print. Borders Classics, 2006. Originally published 1811. 297 pgs. Received from PaperBackSwap.
Austen’s first published novel follows the eldest Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, in the trials and tribulations of love. Marianne, who is mostly sensibility, delights in being honest, impulsive, and wearing her heart on her sleeves while her elder sister, Elinor, is all sense.
Yet having a level head cannot stop Elinor from falling for Edward Ferrars; only to later find out that he has been secretly engaged for the past four years to a Miss Lucy Steele. In the midst of Elinor’s heartache is that of Marianne’s; the younger sister has ignored the affections of steady Colonel Brandon in favor of the more vivacious John Willoughby, a rouge who loves them and leaves them.
Poor, Colonel Brandon. In the beginning I couldn’t figure out what I liked him so much, but then as his back story came to light I realized how much he resembles Mr. Darcy — fierce protector of those he loves, passed over for the man he despises, unwilling to expose the cad as a cad until necessary.While he does not surpass Mr. Darcy for me, I still think he is a romantic, upstanding man worthy of someone’s affections. The novel as a whole is great commentary on romance during Austen’s time. For women, their hearts and dreams resting on the actions of a man, who hold all the power in the entire relationship.
The one thing I just don’t like about this novel is how the characters are locked into their supposed personalities. I can understand why Marianne believes Edward’s betrayal does not affect Elinor all that much because she’s just too sensible. I relate more with Elinor, who loves quietly and endures well while still being able to support her sister wholeheartedly and refuses to allow Edward and Lucy to make a fool of her. Marianne, on the other hand, flutters about from one man to another, nursing her heartache for weeks on end. The characters aren’t cartoonist or anything like that; they’re simply stuck with either being mostly sensibility or sense. And maybe this is in a little indicative of the fact that this is Austen’s first novel.
In addition, there were a few parts of this story that slowed down, but the characters are strong enough to keep a reader interested, and Austen throws in some unexpected surprises that kept the story moving along. Although this is not my favorite Austen novel, Sense & Sensibility is certainly a good one.