Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope
After reading Eligible, I decided that it was high time I tackled the other two Austen Project novels. I started with Sense and Sensibility, because I had heard the least about it, both on CBR and the internet in general. I was especially curious to see how the adaptation fared, since Austen’s original seems fairly tied to Regency laws (I’m thinking about the patrilineal inheritance plot points, especially). Also, there are a lot of colorful and also milquetoast characters that are hard to emulate without copying finely. I wanted to see what direction Joanna Trollope would take the story.
If you’ve read Sense and Sensibility, I won’t bother recapping it for you here, because the premise of the adaptation remains the same. Except this time, Elinor (called Ellie) is an architecture student working on getting certified, Marianne is a music student, and Margaret is in middle school. Edward is about the same, and Willoughby’s past takes on a somewhat darkened turn. But the familiarity of the story is still there, even without some of Jane Austen’s acerbic wit.
This story was entertaining, even if it wasn’t groundbreaking. I don’t mind confessing that Austen’s original work is not my favorite of hers, and any adaptation is going to have an uphill climb. [Speaking of adaptations, check out the Tamil film Kandukondain Kandukondain, or I Have Found It. It stars a very-young Aishwarya Rai and is delightful] That said, Trollope did her best with the story, but there’s just no good way to make Edward Ferrars sexy and exciting (seriously, that dude. I can’t even). I will say, though, that this version’s Lucy Steele is deliciously evil. She takes a page straight out of Regina George’s playbook, and that’s exactly as it should be.