Sense and Sensibility
First sentence: The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex.
Reflections: Jane Austen -- what's not to like? I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The title describes the main characters, Elinor and Marianne, two sisters in their teens. A couple of definitions are in order:
Sense (n): sound practical intelligence
Sensibility (n): mental susceptibility or responsiveness; quickness and acuteness of apprehension or feeling.
Elinor is pragmatic, cool under pressure, and often puts the needs of others ahead of her own. Marianne is more emotional and impulsive, with a tendency toward dramatic reactions. Like other Austen novels, the plot revolves around the girls' relationships with family, and with suitors. Marianne falls for a bit of a cad, who drops her for another woman. This leads to hysterics, and Elinor comes to her aid providing strong sisterly support. This is at the same time that Elinor learns the man she loves is secretly engaged to someone else. Ever the stoic, she confides in no one and pours her heart into caring for her sister. Meanwhile, Marianne is blind to the affections of another, seeing him as far too old for her. Naturally it all works out in the end with both girls happily married to suitable partners.
This is a fairly basic, tried and true, storyline. Austen's character development adds richness and depth. She introduces several archetypes: a greedy sister-in-law who convinces the girls' brother to provide them with none of his inherited fortune; Willoughby, the cad who mistreats Marianne; and Mrs. Jennings, a caring but meddling woman who draws hilarious conclusions from misinterpreted actions or partially-overheard conversations
This is the third Austen book I've read (the others being Pride and Prejudice and Emma), and I'm now committed to reading her remaining three novels as well.
22 / 50
8,122 / 15,000