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on 27 September 2014
I'm generally not a fan of modern day attempts to 'update' classical novels or write sequels, and having read this my stance hasn't changed. I would advise anyone who is a huge Austen fan who loves this particular novel to steer clear. I'm more of a Bronte fan myself and I know how I would feel about reading a modern day version of 'Jane Eyre' or 'Wuthering Heights' (hopefully something no-one will attempt).

There are some quite interesting moments, but overall it just doesn't work for me. As others have mentioned Jane Austen's work is firmly rooted in the society she lived in, where women's roles were heavily restricted by traditional expectations and much of this just doesn't translate to modern times, despite the references to iphones/facebook etc. Some aspects such as the Dashwood's dependence on the patronage of rich relatives and Edward's engagement to Lucy just don't make any sense in a modern context. I would also suggest that Trollope is pretty out of touch with the lives of the average 21st century Briton if she thinks that £1500 a month is less than the minimum wage or that 200K is an insignificant inheritance (personally I would consider it life changing).

Some interesting moments but if this kind of project must be undertaken it needs to be done with some boldness - this just feels like a mostly unsuccessful attempt to update a well loved classic, by adding some contemporary references. Rather like a identical remake of a classic film where you just think - why did they bother?

Well it passed the time but just left me feeling that I'd rather re-read the original or a decent new novel by Trollope. I can't help feeling she's running out of ideas ...
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on 17 August 2017
I loved this. I was hesitant at first as I enjoy reading and re-reading the classic but it is so well put together it even adds more to the original. Marianne is still in love with the swine aka as Willoughby. Colonel Brandon runs a rehabilitation unit for drug and alcohol unit. Margaret is a belligerent teenager who is highly embarrassed by her family. Eleanor as ever is holding it all together.

A fantastic book for a book club to read with nothing taken from the original. I think even Jane Austen would approve. Looking forward to reading the others in the series
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on 15 May 2014
I found this modern day rewrite of Sense & Sensibility a bit weird. The characters don't work in the 21st Century so the result is that they are unbelievable and unlikeable (with the exception of Elinor). Quite frankly, a mother of three girls who totally relies on her man to run her life, then finds herself widowed and completely clueless is infuriating, and ridiculous in 2014! She didn't even know that you have to earn money to pay bills to keep a house running .. I mean, please!! These characters were current in the 19th century, but not now.
Throughout the book there are references thrown in about iPods, laptops, ebay ... Desperately trying to remind us that we are in 2014, but those references are not necessary..... "sat at the kitchen table reading the newspaper on his ipad...."
I had to force myself to keep reading so I did finish the book. I didn't hate it, but the whole thing was a bit daft.
I get the concept, and I think it's a good book for the next generation who haven't read the classics, but I think that could have been achieved by simply rewriting the original story in modern language, without all the references to modern day gadgets.
I'm interested to see what Val McDermid has done to Northanger Abbey so will read that next.
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VINE VOICETOP 500 REVIEWERon 29 May 2015
The author has accepted the challenge to update Jane Austen's classic to a contemporary setting and achieved it brilliantly. This is an excellent romance in its own right but is greatly enhanced when you know the original and can see what she has done to update it. If you haven't read the original I think that you may well enjoy this book in its own right.

The story revolves around three sisters and their mother who are forced by circumstances to move to a "cottage" in the country when the house that they have been living in was willed to someone else (a nicely updated situation there). Eleanor is the sensible sister who realises that they need to make money and begin to look after themselves instead of being provided for by men. She falls in love with the brother of her sister in law but finds that he is curiously evasive. Marianne is the more silly sister. She is in love with love itself and finds herself badly let down by a man who doesn't share her understanding and who has a more mercenary outlook. Their mother is suitably vague and the youngest sister Margaret plays a larger role in this retelling than in the original - and adds a welcome touch of humour at important moments.

I really loved this updating. I thought that it was clever and the story was well told - you lose some of Jane Austen's irony but gain a lot of fun in comparing the two versions as you read. In line with the original everything is beautifully resolved by the end. An excellent version of this classic story.
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on 19 December 2013
Joanna Trollope has cleverly kept to the characters and incidents in the original but certain things just don't work when moved into the modern day. In the original there were almost no opportunities for ladies of that class to work, unless they perhaps became governesses. I was surprised to find myself irritated by the mother, Marianne, Margaret and even Edward Ferrars (who seemed to have completely taken over by Hugh Grant). Eleanor's mother and sisters accept hospitality from the Middletons and demonstrate great ingratitude and they are so scathing about Eleanor's attempts to work and thus earn money to support them, while they themselves seem work-shy spongers. Towards the end I found myself hoping Joanna Trollope would arrange for the two nicest people Eleanor and Brandon to marry each other but alas she didn't.
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on 29 June 2017
I have enjoyed all of Joanna Trollope's other novels and was interested to read this,in spite of the negative reviews from some people. I was pleased did as I prefer watching Jane to reading her! This I enjoyed reading.
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on 21 September 2014
A number of books have been published recently by well known authors retelling the stories of Jane Austen in a modern setting . It's a good idea but I was underwhelmed by this one. Set in a modern context, Joanna Trollope clearly had difficulty in placing her characters in a current timeframe. At a time when it would be unthinkable for a single girl in straitened family circumstances not to get a job of some kind, two of the main characters at the beginning of the story are living the life of a country lady and it is only when the storyline begins to develop that one of them is "helped" to get a job. I found that both the main female characters were either wildly over emotional or forgiving to the point of lunacy. I nearly gave up. I love the novels of Joanna Trollope but this was not one of her most successful works.
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on 11 August 2017
This was an excellent bedtime read with nice humour and all the drama one would expect from Joanna Trollope's up to date version of the Jane Austen Classic. Characters do not change much over the centuries.
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on 26 May 2017
Loved the Jane Austen original and loved this modern take on Elinor and Marianne. This shows that life today has similar characters to those of a more formal "drawing room" time.
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on 17 November 2013
I am a great fan of Joanna Trollope so was pretty disappointed with the Jane Austen theme. I hoped that she wouldn't do an entire book based on the original but unfortunately she did.
P.D James did a detective story which she set in Austen time and territory and she didn't carry hers off and I have recently been reading Elizabeth Aston on the Darcy connection.
Why have they done this? There may be a good reason but I hope that all three authors have written themselves out and will now rely entirely on their own theme which they do admirably well.
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