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The The Three Weissmanns of Westport [Kindle Edition]

Cathleen Schine
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When Joseph Weissmann divorced his wife, he was seventy eight years old and she was seventy-five...

He said the words "Irreconcilable differences," and saw real confusion in his wife's eyes.

"Irreconcilable differences?" she said. "Of course there are irreconcilable differences. What on earth does that have to do with divorce?"

So begins The Three Weissmanns of Westport, a sparkling, and stinging, contemporary adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.

The Weissmann sisters Miranda, an impulsive but successful literary agent, and Annie, a pragmatic library director, quite unexpectedly find themselves the middle-aged products of a broken home. Dumped by her husband of nearly fifty years and then exiled from their elegant New York apartment by his mistress, Betty is forced to move to a small, run-down Westport, Connecticut, beach cottage. Joining her are Miranda and Annie, who dutifully comes along to keep an eye on her capricious mother and sister. As the sisters mingle with the suburban aristocracy, love starts to blossom for both of them, and they find themselves struggling with the dueling demands of reason and romance.

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Product Description


A deliberate homage to Jane Austen succeeds in being intelligent and beguiling. (Sunday Times)

Like Jane Austen's original this sparkly, highly readable re-framing has interiors, wicked stepmothers, lashings of escapism and a heartfelt portrait of sisterhood, daughterhood and motherhood that will strike a chord with women everywhere. (The Times)

Schine's book offers much to enjoy: elegant prose, pin-sharp humour, and an ending that proves satisfyingly bittersweet. (The Guardian)

And off races the sparkling, crisp, clever, deft, hilarious and deeply affecting new novel by Cathleen Schine, her best yet, The Three Weissmanns of Westport . . . Schine's homage [to Jane Austen] has it all: stinging social satire, mordant wit, delicate charm, lilting language and cosseting materialistic detail (New York Times Book Review)

Schine's real wit playfully probes the lies, self-deceptions, and honorable hearts of her characters. (New Yorker)

Swap genteel nineteenth-century England for upscale contemporary Connecticut, add two sisters-one impulsive, one practical-and stir with lively doses of romance, domestic discord, sudden setbacks, and sublime surprises, and you get Cathleen Schine's homage to Jane Austen. (Elle)

Schine has been favored in so many ways by the muse of comedy . . . The Three Weissmanns of Westport is full of invention, wit, and wisdom. (New York Review of Books)

No Cathleen Schine book is without wit and sharply observed moments. (The Wall Street Journal)

Witty, lively, lovely (Bookseller)

This witty, wistful novel explores what happens when a long-standing marriage falls apart. (Marie Claire)

Schine tells the story with such tenderness and wit. (Buzz magazine)

A deliciously comforting read. (Easy Living)

Charming. (Image Magazine)

Likeable and intelligent. (The Sunday Times (Culture))

Schine is a wonderfully warm writer and the book is a delight. (Mail on Sunday)

A funny, touching novel. (Books Quarterly)

Entirely delightful. (Daily Mail)

A cheeky, intelligent read. (Star Magazine)

Sparkly and highly readable. (The Times)

The Sunday Times Must Reads: Sense and Sensibility is given a modern and beguiling twist. (The Sunday Times (Culture))

Often funny and, occasionally, unexpectedly moving. (The Lady)

A delight. (Irish Mail on Sunday)

Elegant prose, pin-sharp humour, and an ending that proves satisfyingly bittersweet. (Guardian)

Schine is a patient and careful observer of her characters. (The Tablet)

This elegant, well-paced novel pays homage to Jane Austen in social comedy and acerbic wit as much as in plot. (Good Book Guide)

Fancy an American Jewish version of Sense and Sensibility? That's what novelist Cathleen Schine has come up with in The Three Weissmans of Westport. (Jewish Chronicle)

This is not just another serial killer book... Gregg Olsen has created the script for what could be one of the best films on the subject ever made. (The Pulse)

Romantic, crisp and funny. (The Independent)


"Schine's homage to Jane Austen has it all....A sparkling, crisp, clever, deft, hilarious, and deeply affecting new novel, her best yet . . . Schine is clearly a writer who loves to read as much as she loves to write. And it is great fun to play English major with her." --Dominique Browning, "The New York Times Book Review
""Schine has been favored in so many ways by the muse of comedy . . . "The Three Weissmanns of Westport" is full of invention, wit, and wisdom that can bear comparison to Austen's own." --"The New York Review of Books
""A success...Sharp-edged satire." --Marion Winik, " The Miami Herald
""A clever, frothy novel...Schine playfully probes the lies, self-deceptions, and honorable hearts of her characters." --"The New Yorker
""Schine sets the Austen machinery in perfect forward motion, and then works some lovely modern changes, keeping the pace going at a lively clip . . . Spotting the similarities and differences between the early 19th century and early 21st century stories is good sport, but the greater pleasure comes from Schine's own clever girls and their awkward attempts to find happiness." --"The Boston Globe
""There is so much zest for life in this novel that you can only imagine how much fun Cathleen Schine had writing it." --Carol Memmott, "USA"" Today"
"Absolutely wonderful. You'll turn each page with anticipation, all the while wishing you could read it slowly in order to savor the deliciousness of Schine's particular sensibility....It will warm the center of your heart." --Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "Olive Kitteridge
""Swap genteel nineteenth-century England for upscale contemporary Connecticut, add two sisters--one impulsive, one practical--and stir with lively doses of romance, domestic discord, sudden setbacks, and sublime surprises, and you get Cathleen Schine's homage to Jane Austen." --"Elle
"No Cathleen Schine book is without wit and sharply observ

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 392 KB
  • Print Length: 299 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1849015716
  • Publisher: Corsair (14 Oct. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849016062
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849016063
  • ASIN: B00486U2MS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #209,817 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sense and Sensibility for today? 14 Oct. 2010
Sisters Annie and Miranda, and their mother Betty live in New York. Betty is devastated to one day be told, seemingly out of nowhere, that her husband of 48 years, Joseph, is leaving her. Feeling bereaved, and basically forced out of the lovely city apartment they have shared, she takes up the offer from Cousin Lou to live in an old cottage he owns in Westport, and her two daughters accompany her. The eldest, book lover and more reserved Annie, is divorced and has recently befriended an author, Frederick, but is unsure if their relationship will progress. The younger daughter Miranda, a former misery memoir publisher now disgraced, meets both a younger and an older new acquanitance in Westport. Cousin Lou throws many parties and gatherings for his huge circle of friends, which the three Weissmans attend. If this sounds somehow familiar, that's because it is likened to the classic Jane Austen novel Sense and Sensibility, a similar situation and characters, transported to the USA and brought into the present day, but maintaining those eternal themes of ladies looking for, losing, and finding a companion to share their lives with.

This novel is a gentle, easy and enjoyable read, about families and relationships, disapointment, loneliness and hope, but most of all about romantic love both lost and found anew. It explores how love can grow and envelop us, and yet how it can end abruptly, and leave us feeling lost, sad and lonely, and how we as humans take comfort in families, or books, or escape, depending on our personalities. I would recommend this to friends looking for an easy, romantic read, not very demanding or complicated, but nicely written.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not happily ever after 26 July 2010
Notwithstanding the dust jacket reference to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, this is truly a contemporary novel. Not only is the copyright date 2010, but the current affairs background is right up to date too. The America we read of is post-financial crash, with a continuing real estate depression, and there is reference to the legality of same-sex marriage being in a state of flux.

The chief parallels with Sense and Sensibility are the contrasting personalities of two sisters, impoverished along with their mother through the influence (in this case) of a younger woman on their stepfather, their exile to a distant and inferior dwelling, and the incursion of a 21st Century Willoughby, a bounder (and by no means the only one in this story). A number of other characters can also be seen as taking their inspiration from Sense and Sensibility. But only a "loose-jointed homage" to Jane Austen is claimed, and the plot of The Three Weissmans of Westport itself becomes loose-jointed at times, at one point almost falling apart. At that moment, it seems that all the main characters have been shunted into backwaters - not just those obliged to move out of New York City to enjoy (or not) views of Long Island Sound, which it is emphasised is not even the sea proper - and that there is nothing interesting left for them to do.

Additional characters are introduced and the story gets underway again. Then the problem becomes too many characters, mostly with commonplace names, and some with no strong personality. It becomes difficult to remember who they all are and what they did last. Thank goodness for the sisters Amber and Crystal, who zoom into the story on a golf cart and whose names are rooted in our minds by reference to the homonymous "minerals".
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great.... 13 Mar. 2010
By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER
It must be a tricky thing for an author to do a take-off on another, much-beloved author's work. In this case, Cathleen Schine is trying to rewrite Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" in modern terms. As a Jane Austen fan, and a prolific reader of modern fiction writers, in my opinion, the only modern writer I'VE read who wrote comedy of manners with as much nuance as Austen is the late, great Laurie Colwin. Oh, and sometimes, Elinor Lipman achieves Austen-like writing.

But Cathleen Schine probably shouldn't have tried to echo Austen. Her book, "The Three Weissmans of Westport" is a good read. Not a great read, but a good read. The characters are interesting and the plot's fine, BUT Schine boxes herself into a corner by having to make the characters and plot echo - in loose terms - Austen's.
The minute a writer tries to take-off another writer she opens herself up to justifiable criticism.

The surprising thing about Schine's book was its front page review on the NYT's Sunday Book Section. Normally this spot is reserved for an "important" book. Something usually deadly dull, but "important" all the same. Schine's book does not deserve this spot and I think almost places her in a position where anything less than perfection is disappointing to the reader, who's expecting more from the book.

Anyway, the book's a good read. Almost better to wait for the trade-paper edition, though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sensibility of A Tedious Kind and Little Sense 30 Sept. 2014
By Kate Hopkins TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Cathleen Schine attempts to rewrite Jane Austen's 'Sense and Sensibility' in this rambly account of the lives and loves of the middle-aged and older New York bourgeoisie. 75-year-old Betty Weissmann separates from her 78-year-old husband Joseph when he falls for his gold-digging business assistant (Joseph appears to be one of those men who never retire) and declares he wants a divorce. The gold-digger promptly manages to get Betty out of her apartment, and Joseph, who appears to have lost all will power through love, starts planning a thoroughly ungenerous divorce settlement. Homeless, Betty decamps to Westport with her two daughters, who are both thoroughly unsettled by their stepfather 'Josie''s horrible behaviour. And they have problems of their own - Miranda, a literary agent, is going bankrupt after the bulk of the misery memoirs in which she specializes are found to be fakes, and Annie is caught up in an unhappy affair with the brother of her stepfather's mistress, and worried about money - being a librarian just doesn't pay enough. During their time in Westport Annie comes to rely on a kind, one-dimensional family friend and discovers some shocking news about her lover Frederick, while Miranda falls for an actor some 15 years her junior, discovers the joy of looking after his little boy, and is then humiliated when he disappears. And there are a lot more surprises to come, as more characters (including a scheming 20-something girl and Miranda's fling's ex-wife) come on the scene.

This is a thoroughly depressing look at middle and old age, peopled with irritating self-dramatizing characters. No one in this book is happy or has come to terms with their lives.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Mother and Daughters
Betty and her two middle-aged daughters come to share a cottage in Connecticut [Westport]. Betty's long marriage to Joseph has ended with his falling for another younger woman. Read more
Published on 18 May 2013 by gerardpeter
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
I saw this book reviewed in the Times some tima ago and vowed to read it. Ihad never heard of this author before.
Published on 13 Mar. 2013 by AnnB
1.0 out of 5 stars book?
didnt order and havent received nnnn nnnnn nnnnn nnnnn nnnnn nnnn nnnnn nnnnnn nmmmm mmmmm mmmm mmmm mmmm mmm mmm
Published on 19 Feb. 2013 by lynne harvey
3.0 out of 5 stars Gentle read
Easy to read story about an aging mother and her two middle age daughters at critical junctures in their lives. Read more
Published on 7 Jan. 2013 by muckymary
2.0 out of 5 stars The 3 Weissmanns
Started this book, my first on Kindle, and really shouldn't as almost put me off Kindle altogether. I gave up the book less than half way through and started a different book.
Published on 19 Feb. 2012 by PT
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
i got this for my mum and she has realy enjoyed the story. She normaly reads crime stories so this was a nice change and she said she was well taken with it's story would tell any... Read more
Published on 16 Dec. 2011 by Morag Main
4.0 out of 5 stars Witty, enjoyable romantic comedy based on Austen's Sense & Sensibility
Witty, enjoyable romantic comedy based on Austen's Sense & Sensibility. If you have a sense of humour and want a good read for the beach or the plane and enjoy a romance, this is... Read more
Published on 19 Jan. 2011 by Gilgamesh
3.0 out of 5 stars OK.........
I have to agree with other reviewer -very slow to get going although I did read the whole book. It did pick up towards the end but I did not find the characters or story drew you... Read more
Published on 12 Jan. 2011 by R. Burns
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This story was recommended in one of the sunday supplements as being loosely based on Jane Austen's Sense & Sensibility - very loosely! Read more
Published on 5 Jan. 2011 by Shirley Mosey
2.0 out of 5 stars Quite Shallow
Cathleen Schine's novel is based upon Austen's `Sense and Sensibility' - in fact, she's really tried to rewrite the story in the modern day. Read more
Published on 4 Oct. 2010 by Lincs Reader
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