“Be forewarned; not only does this review contain spoilers, but it also conveys my own reading tastes which, for better or worse, do not find their greatest delight in such novels of manners. This does, however, in no way reflect poorly upon the book or the author!
In her novel Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen recounts the premarital adventures of the two Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne. (There is a third sister named Margaret, but she remains barely noticeable in the narrative, presumably since she's not yet of marriageable age.) A deceased father, a stingy older brother, and comparatively poor finances compel the girls to make careful and advantageous matches--something at which Elinor, the eldest and most coldly rational of the two girls, excels. Marianne, the "sensible" or emotional, finds that her personal feelings lead her into very undesirable circumstances and relationships. Fortunately, by the marriage-riddled end of the novel, she has come to embrace the rational mentality of her sister, and (presumably as a result) therefore enjoys her own wedded bliss.
This is the fourth Austen novel I have read to date, and was not at all surprised to find several elements that seem to figure prominently in all her works: (1) relatively senseless and unwise parent(s), (2) an overwhelming focus upon courtships, engagements, and marriages, and (3) intricate and delicately worded conversations that, beautiful and polite as they are, tend to strain the credibility of the modern reader. None of these are truly detrimental to the story; however, they are not necessarily traits I particularly enjoy. However, Austen's humor and tongue-in-cheek remarks--some of which are almost as enjoyable as Dickens--add some welcome variety to the tale.
In summary, if you appreciate reading about the social conventions of a bygone era as well as the romantic vicissitudes of single women seeking to make a handsome match, look no farther. Rated 3 stars out of 5.”