You can't go wrong with Jane Austen and Juliet Stevenson. I sampled all of the Sense and Sensibility audiobooks before choosing this one. I was very pleased with the production -- Juliet Stevenson does a fine job with her narration. In my opinion, a good narrator is just as important as a good author. I found myself swept away and I couldn't wait to hear more. I'm planning to listen to more of the Jane Austen books, and I've noticed that Juliet Stevenson has done a number of them, so I'll be sure to pick her again!
Bought this for my wife. She'd read Jane Austen in high school, but just "couldn't get it into it" then. After a while, she saw the A&E video of "Pride & Prejudice" and loved it, so her interest in Jane Austen was revived. Now she just soaks up anything Jane Austen. This audio recording was excellently done and my wife has listened it to probably a half dozen times! Great audio quality, too.
A splendid reading of the classic. Unabridged is always the way to go, even with the verbose Jane Austen. I found the reader's voice to be pleasant. Enjoyed every hour.
I'm a middle school English teacher and mother of one teen girl. I tend to read paper copies of YA books and listen to books for adults.
...and I thought I loved Pride and Prejudice. Now I can't make up my mind. My high school English teacher once said that what makes a book a "classic" is when the heart is in conflict with the mind. That is what this story is about. How much of our true feelings should we reveal to the world? Is it better to attempt to remain in control of our emotions, appearing more reserved, or to allow our feelings full expression? Should our heart or our mind direct our actions? These questions are explored through the contrasting of two main characters - Elinor and Marianne. The narration was excellent - I could hear nuances between the sisters' voices and different accents or intonations for other characters. I've put this narrator's other Austen titles on my wish list.
Elinor Dashwood is "sense" — the sensible, even-tempered sister who is mindful of propriety and the necessities of life. Marianne Dashwood, the younger sister, is "sensibility," which in the Austenian sense means something more like "sensitivity" — Marianne is the passionate, feeling sister who wears her heart on her sleeve.
"Nay, Mama, if he is not to be animated by Cowper!—but we must allow for difference of taste. Elinor has not my feelings, and therefore she may overlook it, and be happy with him. But it would have broke MY heart, had I loved him, to hear him read with so little sensibility. Mama, the more I know of the world, the more am I convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much! He must have all Edward's virtues, and his person and manners must ornament his goodness with every possible charm."
(There's a third Dashwood sister, Margaret, but she's thirteen and barely enters the plot.)
We can see here the "formula" Austen was working on. Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion... each book examines a particular set of character traits and their effects on the person marked by them. (Her other books did the same thing, if not in the titles.) Elinor is the protagonist of Sense and Sensibility; she initially falls for a man named Edward Ferrars, the eldest son of a rich family, whose problem is that he wants to become a humble clergyman while his mother, who controls the family fortune, has great ambitions for him and certainly doesn't want to see him marrying some poor girl from an impoverished no-account family of minor gentry. (Shades of Lady Catherine from Pride and Prejudice.)
Marianne, meanwhile, falls for the rake who always wreaks romantic havoc in Austen novels. In this one, his name is Mr. Willoughby. Initially set up as a true scoundrel who leads Marianne on, even forms an "attachment" to her (i.e., an engagement in all but name), only to later break it (which in Regency times was a very grave moral offense if not a legal one), and then turns out to have left one of his other conquests ruined and with child. Austen does a clever job of making Willoughby out to be a villain, only to somewhat redeem him later by revealing that, while he is no saint, his conduct wasn't quite as bad as it appeared to the uninformed Dashwood sisters.
Waiting in the wings is the other Austen prototype, Colonel Brandon, the very serious old bachelor who'd be a fine catch for the right girl who doesn't mind marrying someone twenty years her senior. (Colonel Brandon is unmarried and in his early thirties — for a woman that would be beyond hope, and even for a man, in Regency times, that was getting well past prime marrying years.)
Having read all of Austen's other novels, Sense and Sensibility did suffer a bit from being yet another story about two sisters with contrasting temperaments, living in reduced circumstances thanks to the ungenerosity of their more affluent relatives, facing spinsterhood due to their lack of prospects before happy engagements with men who fortuitously turn out to be well-heeled, not without first surmounting a number of misunderstandings and existing engagements as obstacles.
Did I enjoy this book? Yes, certainly. Every Austen is worth reading. But I finished it for completeness' sake. I would recommend that everyone read something by Austen, and if you like the first one, read some more. But I don't think anyone but the true Austen fan needs to read all of her works, and I'd really only recommend Sense and Sensibility as either your first Austen (in which case all the tropes and devices will be fresh, and you'll see them used more skillfully in later books) or if you are a true fan wanting to read her complete works.
I am what you might call a literary philanderer...
The narration was impeccable, the storyline was engaging, the experience was delightful. As this was my first experience with Jane Austen, I can only hope subsequent selections from her works will inspire even greater admiration for the mastery with which this book was written. I sat in awe, repeatedly, as I the parade of Austen's abilities with words left me wondering why I've ever bothered placing pen to paper. Despite this, I felt inspired all the while to attain such skill.
I had always loved Jane Austen but for some reason had not gotten round to listening to Sense and Sensibility. I was nervous at first about it becoming a mere trivial commentary on women's affections and affectations but came to love this book. I became emotionally involved and even tearful at times.
A most pleasant surprise was finding the narrator, Juliet Stevenson. I had not heard of her before but find her one of the great readers at Audible. I was amazed at how she could create the characters, both men and women, with such clarity and charm that was so equal to the greatness of the book.
Here we have three sisters and their mother being forced to leave their home due to the death of their father along with the greed of another. In the era this story was written women didn’t get inheritances unless they were married to a man. So when the father dies and their half brothers wife gets greedy its time for them to move. Like with other Jane Austen books she explores the life as it was then from a different angle of her previous books. In the end well, read the book to find out what happens. I’m glad this is available in audio because it’s too long to read with the number of books I have in my ‘pending’ stack.