Mrs Brandon, the former Marianne Dashwood, is now a widow, and not yet twenty-five.
Her former admirer Willoughby is as unhappily married as ever, and the thought that she is free to marry again drives him to distraction. He has continued in his dissolute lifestyle, which Marianne abhors, while his wife Sophia’s life has been poisoned by jealousy of Marianne.
Marianne urges him that the only possibility of happiness for Willoughby and his wife is for him to give up his empty pursuit of pleasure – but now the Colonel is gone, Marianne finds that she can no longer push aside thoughts of Willoughby easily herself; she must find some way of occupying her own empty hours.
Willoughby retains his rascally charm, which an older and wiser Marianne is determined to resist; Elinor and Edward are as astute as ever, while Sir John and Lady Middleton are as foolish. Mrs Jennings remains determined to marry off all her associates as before, while Sophia Willoughby is even more sour as the wife of the man she wanted, and Willoughby’s friends are suitably cynical rakes.
This sequel to Jane Austen’s ‘Sense and Sensibility’ strives to emulate some of the light ironic touch of the inimitable style of Jane Austen; it is both funny and sad, and is told as dark comedy.
Marianne and Willoughby are not together at the start of this novel. In fact, Marianne is still mourning the death of her husband. Then Willoughby, her former lover, shows up and they start to fall in love again. Even though the novel is short, the book still follows the tried and true historical romance arc of introduction, then major conflict/suspense scene, and then nice ending. The story moved smoothly, and I was at the end before I knew it.
My main issue with this novel was that the characters had no chemistry. I didn’t feel that Marianne and Willoughby were truly right for one another. Most of the story consists of the two characters spending time apart. It seemed rather rushed at the end when the “romance” finally kicked in. This made the overall novel forgettable. Within a few hours of reading the novel, I was struggling to remember what had occurred in it. I may not have the best memory, but I can usually remember what I spent the better part of an hour reading later on the same day. It just didn’t leave any sort of impression on me.
I would not recommend this novel. There are many historical romance novels that I have read, and this one just wasn’t my favorite. Maybe if the story was fleshed out a little more and the characters got to know one another more naturally I would be able to enjoy this romance. From where it stands right now, I would have to say to simply skip it.
I received a copy of this book and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 2 out of 5 books