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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 15 March 2005
While the various cinema and television dramatisations of her books have deservedly contributed to making Jane Austen known and loved beyond the study of her writing in the classroom, it would be a shame to settle for the adaptations and never read those exquisitely written novels.
I have just reread "Sense and Sensibility" and have once again marvelled at the absolute masterliness of Jane Austen's depiction of human feelings, hesitations and dilemmas. Young ladies in 2005 may not make their emotional choices in the same way as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood had to do two hundred years ago, but few contemporary writers show the complexity of emotional relationships with the same precision and insight as Jane Austen. Then as now, the most irresistible men on the surface turn out, like Willougby, to be the most unsuitable ones when you get to know them (and that doesn't make them any less irresistible...); then as now, parents (Mrs Frears) tend to be domineering and unbearable, and yet a part of the equation to be reckoned with; then as now, it may be a good idea to realise that people are very often less predictable than they at first seemed...
But then - and very often not now... - there was the way Jane Austen plotted it all out and honed her sentences like chisels, so that the novel begs to be read aloud.
As of course it would have been once. For those who never have, time to switch off the TV and launch into Jane Austen. Start with this one; take sides with Marianne and with Elinor, marvel at how comic characters like jovial Mrs Jennings and bimbo-ish, semi-literate Lucy Steele remind you of people still very much at large today. Then treat yourself to the even more wonderful "Pride and Prejudice". And then all the others. And bemoan the fact there are only six of them (plus a couple of bits...) And then start all over again.
Magnificent.
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on 27 October 2008
This is a short review of the product not the book.

It is superbly read by Ms Stevenson (as in her reading of "Persuasion") - once more every word and inflection counts. The characters - well or less ably drawn - live. Miss Austen's often stringent wit comes through repeatedly, as does her understanding of her gender. I can't think of a better way to make a series of long car journeys a delightful prospect!
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on 12 November 2014
I loved the characters, from the manipulative Fanny Dashwood to the handsome stranger in Willoughby and the boring yet kind Colonel Brandon. Marianne had extreme emotions, from falling in love immediately to almost dying of a broken heart. Elinor was the more sensible of the sisters, I felt she depicted Jane Austen in this novel.

There were several aspects of this novel which really represented the time it was written in; marriage and life expectancy. Otherwise this is a timeless story, filled with witty observations and characters you may recognise from your own life.

Marriage was a huge pre-occupation for women in Austen times, it determined everything about their lives. It wasn't just about who they married, it affected what their lifestyle would be, who they would socialise with, who their children could marry. Marrying for money was preferred (mostly by the brides) but everyone else involved didn't think it mattered, much better to marry someone rich who you could grow to tolerate than marry for love and be poor.

Life expectancy also changes everything. At several points in the novel references were made to how long someone could expect to live. Mrs Dashwood (40) was only expected to live another 7 years or so, Colonel Brandon was thought extremely old at 35 to be looking for love, Marianne at 17 was already hoping she wouldn't end up as the maiden aunt. The average life expectancy in 1811 was 36, this includes the working class (80% of the population) so I would expect the middle and upper classes to last a little longer. So the pressure was on to marry and have children as early as possible with a hope of seeing your grandchildren before you're 40.

If you're new to Jane Austen or are intimidated by older novels, my advice is just to dive in. If you like romantic stories, you'll love this. Don't focus too much on the language, you will get used to it as you go through. Focus on the characters and the emotions, they are truly timeless.

I loved this book, it's a great introduction to the Austen world and I can't wait to read 'Pride and Prejudice' next month.
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 9 September 2014
The Dashwood sisters: calm, sensible Elinor, and impetuous and passionate Marianne, are forced to leave their home, Norland Park, after the death of their father when the family estate is left to their half-brother, John. Elinor is especially reluctant to leave Norland, as she has become rather close to a kind but diffident young man, Edward Ferrars, who is the brother of John's grasping wife, Fanny. With their mother and much younger sister, Margaret, Elinor and Marianne move into a large cottage in the grounds of Barton Park, the home of a kind and generous distant relative, where they meet retired officer and gentleman, the gallant Colonel Brandon, and the dashing, handsome, but unreliable, Mr Willoughby. Later, Elinor is introduced to the seemingly affable Lucy Steele, who does her utmost to ingratiate herself with the Dashwood girls, especially Elinor - however, Lucy has a secret that when revealed is particularly injurious to Elinor, and when Marianne also has her heart broken, Elinor struggles to keep a calm head and cope with the onslaught of emotions that suddenly befall her.

A real pleasure to read, this is a beautifully written, sensitive, yet witty and very entertaining novel, complete with a host of manipulative, deceitful and grasping supporting characters, who contrast well with the sensitive and sensible Elinor and her intimates. I have been reading and re-reading Jane Austen's novels for many years and I cannot remember how many times I have read and enjoyed this story - but one of the main purposes of this review is to talk about the Kindle Whispersync for Voice combination. If you buy one of the Kindle versions, several of which are priced at less than fifty pence, you are now able to download the audio version:Sense and Sensibility (Unabridged) for a couple of pounds (at the time of writing), therefore saving yourself a small fortune. You can switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible audiobook without ever losing your place. I bought the Kindle and audio download combination after buying the lovely new paperback version: Sense and Sensibility (Vintage Classics Austen Series) as a gift for someone, which gave me the urge to reread my own copy - however not wanting to break off from my current read, I decided to try the audio download and listened to it happily whilst travelling/gardening etc. Juliet Stevenson's accomplished narration is enjoyable and easy to listen to - she uses a variety of voices for the different protagonists, and although Jane Austen's wonderful writing speaks for itself, Juliet Stevenson's rendition makes each character come even more alive, making this an entertaining and satisfying listening experience.

5 Stars.
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on 15 May 2014
Sense and Sensibility is a novel full of the joys and woes of love, following the lives of the Dashwood family, and in particular the two sisters Elinor and Marianne who are the embodiments of the title. Elinor is the quietly reserved sister who overflows with good sense and practicality, while Marianne is of a wild romantic sensibility who is quick to love and feel, and does everything with a passion.
When Elinor falls in love with Edward Ferrars it seems she has found a kindred spirit, but when circumstances keep them apart and he finds himself faced with the prospect of having to marry another, Elinor suffers her heartbreak in silence so as not to trouble her family. However when Marianne falls for Mr Willoughby and gives her heart entirely to him, she also believes she has made a good match, but his true feelings are tested and found wanting when his family threaten to cut him off if he marries Marianne. Edward however faces disinheritance in order to do right by Lucy Steele.
Marianne feels her own heartbreak so keenly that she is completely insensible of her own sister's feelings, and while she plays the melodramatic role of one let down by love, Elinor continues to play the martyr to her own feelings. This novel depicts two sisters seemingly at opposites to each other, one ruled by her head and the other by her heart, however as the novel progresses Marianne appears to reign in her romantic sensibility as she gradually falls in love with the true hearted Colonel Brandon; and at the last Elinor shakes off some of her restraint to allow her to face Edward and tell him how she feels. This is a beautiful edition of a great book.
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on 29 November 2011
This is a review of this particular edition of Sense and Sensibility for Kindle, since reviews of the book are easy enough to find.

I was looking for an unabridged version of Sense and Sensibility, that had even margins on each side of the text and that was nicely formatted. This edition delivered everything I wanted, including nice simple formatting that is easy to follow (it almost has a vintage feel to it) and chapters that start on a new page, with the added bonus of wonderful illustrations throughout the book (one of two per chapter -- enough to enjoy, but not so many it's distracting). I loved reading this edition and would highly recommend it.

My only complaint is that I can't buy Persuiasion in the same edition.
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on 15 August 2015
I have read many Jane Austen novels and enjoyed them all. Very well written. Gives you some of the history of the way the comparatively well-off people lived in those times. Particularly the way women were treated as unequal to men. Their life consisted of marrying well for wealth, not always love. Their education was in some ways limited. They did not have the same career chances as women have today. Found it easy to read and quite light hearted. Would recommend her books, they are classics.
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on 24 October 2011
This beautiful book is well worth the price, even if you are required to pay the full £20, and there's a good chance it'll be much less than that, as we bargin hunters know.

Not a "carry everywhere" copy, as it's a hefty weight and size, but a lovely version of one of our favourite stories to celebrate it's first arrival among the reading public, 200 years ago.

There are 10 colour plates of scenes from the story scattered among the pages, well drawn and attractive in themselves. Then - theres' a generous scattering of silhouette (i.e. "black and white" type)scenes all suitable to the period, and story, additionally. The pages are a soft cream - very restful to the eye, and of a pleasing thickness. Chapters are begun and ended with delicate decorative features, and a ribbon marker adds another touch of elegance.

A delightful start to a collection I'll look forward to adding to.

If you're an Austen fan, treat yourself. If you know a fan - this would be a perfect gift. Paperbacks or e-books are fantastic, but this is a collector's "find" to treasure.
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on 10 July 2015
This has always been my favourite Jane Austen novel. The characterisation and rapier like wit, the social critique and the descriptions are even better, I think, than in 'Pride and Prejudice'. Elinor and Marianne make a wonderful sisterly team. Spoiler Follows: my only complaint is that I would have liked Marianne, in the end, to have married a repentant Willoughby, or at least not staid Colonel Brandon, who is twice her age.
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on 18 August 2013
As I pride myself on being an avid reader of English literature and am now close on 50, I felt it simply could not do anymore that I hadn't yet read a single novel by Jane Austen. So I recently resolved to read all of them, in the order that they were published 200 odd years ago (as I did last year with Dickens and the year before with Trollope, yes I like to think I am nothing if not methodical).

Is it any wonder I now blame myself heartily for having waited so long? 'Sense and Sensibility' is of course deservedly a classic, and, as millions before me I guess, I was captivated from page one by the story of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, Willoughby, Edward Ferrars and Colonel Brandon.

The action may be set 200 years ago, but the story is ultimately about that inexhaustible and timeless topic: love and love's tribulations, and as such it is most probably as captivating today as it was in 1811 when it was first published. I found this splendid story to be a real page-turner, very 'easy-to-read' with a limited cast of characters (but what characters!) and an incomparably fluent style and yet, at the same time, there's ever so much to reflect upon that I wonder not that many, of whom I will become one I hazard, keep on re-reading these novels. But first I am eager to discover what joys Pride and Prejudice (Oxford World's Classics) will bring!
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