Friday, December 15, 2006

The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets Of Love

The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love by Rosie Rushton.

The Plot: Modern teen version of Sense And Sensibility. Not enough for you? Three sisters find their lives changed forever when their father dies and their home is left to other relatives; in a new town, in reduced circumstances, they rebuild their lives and fall in love along the way.

The Good: I adore retellings. I don't know why; it's just one of my things. Want me to read something, just say it's based on Austen or Shakespeare or some myth.

I had fun matching the characters and the storylines to the original; it was interesting to see how things had been interpreted and modernized. In S&S, the law requires the house be left to the eldest son; here, the father has had a midlife crisis and the house is left to his new wife.

The problem for any teen interpretation of Austen is that her endings involved the characters getting married. While finding love is something today's teens think about, they don't think about marriage (not the way the characters did in Austen's books). Clueless used this "marriage is your happy ending" by having two characters marry and all the other characters attend the wedding; it also worked because Emma was more about meddling in others lives and making wrong assumptions when you think you know everything than it was about marriage.

The S&S threads that Rushton uses in TDSSoL are the bonds between the sisters, and their different ways of looking at life, and how each of them deal with the loss of their father and their old way of life.

True confession: I ended the book and wanted to watch the movie!


Anonymous said...

I love Sense and Sensibility, the book and the film. I could watch that scene when Hugh Grant walks in on Emma Thompson and whoever that girl was who played his secret fiancĂ©e every day. I love how everything is all obvious, but no one will say anything. It’s so uncomfortable and very like daily life – mine, anyway.

This sounds like a book I’m going to have to check out. Thanks for the review!

Jennifer Schultz said...

I'll have to check this one out. It's funny-I don't enjoy adult retellings of stories, but I love them for children's and YA books. I have the new Ophelia book, and I can't wait to start it.

Little Willow said...

I like retellings when well-done, loathe them when poor, and I think this book was in the former category! It was so cute and the girls were so likeable. It was well-adapted and pretty darn clean. I liked it. I recommend this book alongside Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman.

Anonymous said...

I LOVED THIS BOOK! i just finished it today and it was amazing :]