Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Sense and Sensibility was Jane Austen's first big seller, in 1811, and propelled her into popularity. It's no wonder that this great tale of love won and lost captured the hearts of its readers. The story tells a lot about the role of women during this time period. Mrs. Dashwood is "set adrift" when her husband dies. Even though she was his lawful wife, with three daughters related to him by blood, they get pretty much nothing on his death. His entire estate goes to his first born son, by his first wife. Not only are the Dashwoods now relatively poor, but they aren't even "allowed" to do work to earn more money. They have to find a tiny cottage they can afford and simply go live in it, hoping against hope that the three girls might someday get married without any dowry.

The eldest, Elinor, has to become the "parent" in the family, rationing food, keeping things sane. Her younger sister, Marianne, is poetic and wild, giving herself over to emotions. Both fall in love with different men and nothing seems to work out for them. The youngest daughter, only 11, is sometimes the clearest thinking one of the bunch.

I love this story, and the movie versions are great!

1981 Sense and Sensibility - miniseries
1995 Sense and Sensibility - Emma Thompson
2008 Sense and Sensibility - BBC TV

Elinor Dashwood - eldest sister
Marianne Dashwood - middle sister
Margaret Dashwood - youngest sister
Mrs. Dashwood - mother of the trio
John Dashwood - elder half brother to the sisters
Fanny Dashwood - his wife

Edward Ferrars - Elinor's love
Willoughby - Marianne's romantic love
Colonel Brandon - loves Marianne

Sir John - friendly relative
Mrs. Jennings - John's mother-in-law
Charlotte - the daughter in law
Lucy - a rival for Edward's love

The Cottage - where the Dashwoods live

Regency Era Clothing Photos

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