Books

Book 514: The Dashwood Sisters Tell All (Adventures with Jane Austen and Her Legacy #3) – Beth Pattillo

Another weekend, another great beach read! If you’re keeping track, which only I am, that’s three Jane Austen fan-fiction novels and one male-male romance novel. Talk about a great summer at the beach 😀

This is the third and final installment in Beth Pattillo’s Adventures with Jane Austen and Her Legacy series, following Jane Austen Ruined My Life and Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart.

This felt like the weakest of the three books when it comes to narrative and characters, but I have to give Pattillo kudos for trying something new. Rather than focusing on one primary character and their voice/point-of-view, she split the book and moved back and forth between the characters Ellen and Mimi (not too much of a stretch from Elinor and Marianne am I right? – Pattillo nods to this). 

The dual narrative just didn’t work as well as it should have for me. I’m not sure if it’s because this paralleled Sense and Sensibility so closely that I wasn’t surprised by anything, or if I couldn’t identify with the characters or what, but it didn’t work for me.

I was also a bit disappointed in Pattillo’s placing us in the English countryside. She did such a wonderful job of the London setting of Jane Austen Ruined My Life that I felt this one was a bit of a let down. There were some parts that she bordered on the beauty of that first book when it came to setting descriptions, but they fell apart:

“Enough daylight lingered in the English summer that I could get another chapter of the book in before darkness fell. If you discounted the occasional power line or cell tower in the dusky, surrounding hills, you could imagine that the house and the scenery looked very much like it might have in Jane Austen’s time. In the quiet countryside, past and present blurred, and that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.” (169)

It’s not bad, it’s just not great either. Who hasn’t had this thought somewhere? I just wish she would’ve taken it to the next level. Same thing goes with what I believe was supposed to be the “big reveal.” I’m not sure what gave it away to me, but I felt half-way through that there was a deeper connection and guessed what it was.

Recommendation: It’s a light read to finish out the trilogy and it goes by quick. It’s a pretty good modernization of Sense and Sensibility with some real life Austen fact and fiction sprinkled in. If you’ve read the first two in the trilogy you may as well finish it out. I finished it and had a goofy grin on my face, so it’s worth that at least.

Opening Line: “I should never have agreed to travel with my sister, even if my mother’s will required it.”

Closing Line: “We couldn’t have been more pleased for our mother to be right.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)

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