NOTE: This edition has a linked "Table of Contents" and has been beautifully formatted (searchable and interlinked) to work on your Amazon e-book reader. Includes twenty-four beautiful, full-page watercolor illustrations.
Elinor and Marianne are two daughters of Mr. Dashwood by his second wife. They have a younger sister, Margaret, and an older half-brother named John. When their father dies, the family estate passes to John and the Dashwood women are left in reduced circumstances. Fortunately, a distant relative offers to rent the women a cottage on his property.
The novel follows the Dashwood sisters to their new home, where they experience both romance and heartbreak...
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Jane Austen's first novel is a romantic adventure governed by the restraints of proper eighteenth-century British manners and featuring the two Dashwood sisters: cautious, sensible Elinor and impetuous, hopelessly romantic Marianne. British actress and seasoned audiobook narrator Wanda McCaddon gives a spirited reading, using skillful phrasing to interpret the text. She gives the characters distinct voices and captures their personalities perfectly. The twisted plot of loves lost and loves gained and, most importantly, the wit and subtle irony of Austen's writing are intact. Avid Austen readers will respond to McCaddon's fresh, thoughtful presentation--perhaps wishing it were unabridged. C.R.A. (c)AudioFile, Portland, MaineCritique :
Though not the first novel she wrote, Sense and Sensibility was the first Jane Austen published. Though she initially called it Elinor and Marianne, Austen jettisoned both the title and the epistolary mode in which it was originally written, but kept the essential theme: the necessity of finding a workable middle ground between passion and reason. The story revolves around the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne. Whereas the former is a sensible, rational creature, her younger sister is wildly romantic--a characteristic that offers Austen plenty of scope for both satire and compassion. Commenting on Edward Ferrars, a potential suitor for Elinor's hand, Marianne admits that while she "loves him tenderly," she finds him disappointing as a possible lover for her sister:
Oh! Mama, how spiritless, how tame was Edward's manner in reading to us last night! I felt for my sister most severely. Yet she bore it with so much composure, she seemed scarcely to notice it. I could hardly keep my seat. To hear those beautiful lines which have frequently almost driven me wild, pronounced with such impenetrable calmness, such dreadful indifference!Soon however, Marianne meets a man who measures up to her ideal: Mr. Willoughby, a new neighbor. So swept away by passion is Marianne that her behavior begins to border on the scandalous. Then Willoughby abandons her; meanwhile, Elinor's growing affection for Edward suffers a check when he admits he is secretly engaged to a childhood sweetheart. How each of the sisters reacts to their romantic misfortunes, and the lessons they draw before coming finally to the requisite happy ending forms the heart of the novel. Though Marianne's disregard for social conventions and willingness to consider the world well-lost for love may appeal to modern readers, it is Elinor whom Austen herself most evidently admired; a truly happy marriage, she shows us, exists only where sense and sensibility meet and mix in proper measure. --Alix Wilber