Sense and Sensibility
by Jane Austen
narrated by Wanda McCaddon
(classic romance, historical fiction)
So, this was my first Jane Austen novel. I had seen the movie adaptation of the book (the 1995 film with Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant and Kate Winslet) but had never read the source material.Emma Thompson (also the screenwriter) did an amazing job of capturing the book in her screenplay; I felt that the few changes I noticed (though there are undoubtedly many more that I did not notice, since it has been a while since I watched the movie) were all wise choices to make the story more approachable and the characters more believable for modern audiences.
For this audiobook, the narrator was perfect. She sounded like she had come straight out of the movie, and so I found no trouble at all picturing the right kind of clothing and situations as she described.
And as to the story itself, I can see why this is a classic. It has an easy to follow plot and likable main characters (for in the book even more than the movie, there is no doubt that Elinor and Marianne are the main characters while their friends and other family members are the secondary characters). There are quite reasonable obstacles to our heroines’ happiness (given the era, especially), plot twists, believable secondary characters, and a happy ending. It has all the things I would want in good fiction. And this book has confirmed to me that while I usually prefer fantasy, historical fiction is also quite enjoyable.
I guess the biggest test of a new author is this: would I read another of Austen’s work? The answer is yes, but with a caveat. I think I would prefer to listen to another audiobook of Austen’s instead of read a paper copy for myself. It just feels appropriate to hear it with the proper accent (or at least a better accent than I can manage). I think I have a copy of Emma (a hand-me-down from my grandparents’ library) so I might start reading it myself first, but I will be a lot more likely to buy new ones from Audible than a traditional bookstore. Still; I can certainly see why this book is still so popular all these years later.
Rating: 4 stars