Book Quick Facts
Title: The Dashwood Sisters Tell All
Author: Beth Pattillo
Ellen Dodge lives in sensible stretch shorts and the cold hard reality that her true love married someone else ten years ago. Mimi Dodge lives in tight pink miniskirts and the arms of this week’s doomed romance. The sisters share nothing in common–except that they’re related of course.
When Ellen’s and Mimi’s Jane Austen obsessed mother dies and requests they spread her ashes in the English countryside, the sisters find themselves on an adventure that will either help them bond or drive the two even further apart.
A modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, I found The Dashwood Sisters Tell All a quick and enjoyable read. It centers on Ellen and Mimi’s journey, not only through the English countryside as part of a walking tour of Austen’s homeland, but also on their journey as sisters. Can they overcome their temperment differences and forge a close bond with all the family they have left–each other?
When I first began reading The Dashwood Sisters, I found the characters somewhat shallow, both in their personalities and their characterizations. I had just finished reading several incredibly written works and it took me a few chapters to adjust to the quick read, chick lit style of The Dashwood Sisters. However, once I did, I began to enjoy the story plot line very much. This is a fun read, not a deep read. Which, sometimes is just what a reader needs.
I appreciated the interesting facts about Jane Austen, her works and the area in which she grew up that I found scattered throughout the story. Recognizing cherished Sense and Sensibility characters in their modern day roles made me smile with delight. Brandon, Edward, and Willoughby all show up quickly in the book.
The mystery plotline that develops surrounding a very valuable diary drew me into the story. Was the plot completely realistic and believable? Not particularly, but with suspension of belief, it was still fun to read.
The romances in the book move extremely quickly. While Ellen’s and the incarnation of Edward’s relationship had the excuse that they were old college friends to build off of to make it more believable, Mimi’s relationship look shallow and desperate. Can one really fall in love with two different guys in a week? I suppose so. Should one? No, probably not.
Can one really fall in love with two different guys in a week?
One of my biggest problems with the book was the characterization of Mimi. Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility loves literature, deep thought and has extremely exacting intellectual standards when it comes to men. She grows by learning that having strong character is more important than sharing similar poetic interests. Yet, nothing about Marianne bespeaks desperation. In fact, she declares she would rather stay single if she cannot find the right one. Meanwhile, Mimi’s character is desperate for male attention, shallow in her dating requirements, and vapid in her interests. I ended up liking her anyway by the end of the book, but she does not just to Marianne’s true nature.
Recommendation: Overall, I appreciated the modern retelling of one of Jane Austen’s most beloved stories. The plotline drew me in and enjoyed watching the characters learn about themselves and grow. If you want an easy, Jane Austen inspired, chick lit read, this might be the book for you.
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