Feb 192014

A Modern Day Sense and SensibilityA Light and Faithful Update

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

Following her 2011 release of A Modern Day Persuasion, author Kaitlin Saunders once again picks up her pen to modernize one of Jane Austen’s beloved novels. In her faithful adaptation, A Modern Day Sense and Sensibility, we encounter a grieving Dashwood family as they attempt to pick up the pieces of their lives after losing, not only a father and husband they adored, but their comfortable and cherished home.

A round of applause to Kaitlin Saunders for stepping up to the challenge of modernizing Sense and Sensibility, which in my opinion, is one of the most daunting of Jane Austen’s novels to modernize! So many of the situations and conflicts in this novel do not have the same significance or consequences in our contemporary world as they did in Jane Austen’s. Engaged to a girl you are no longer in love with? (break up with her, it won’t cause a scandal!) About to be disinherited by your wealthy aunt? (get a job, stop being lazy!) I commend Kaitlin Saunders for taking on such a challenging feat!

My favorite scenes in this adaptation, and where I felt Ms. Saunders’ talents truly shine, were the scenes that illustrate the close bond the Dashwood women have with each other. How Mrs. Dashwood lets Ellie know she is there for her (when she sees that Ellie still hasn’t heard from Edward), how Ellie always shows Marianne such care and consideration (even though she can be pretty exasperating), how Ellie mourns the loss their closeness when Willoughby starts to create a rift in their relationship – all made this novel heartfelt and uplifting. In addition, it was inspiring to witness how these four women were able to start their lives anew, overcome their obstacles, and heal from their grief together.

A Modern Day Sense and Sensibility is a very straightforward adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, Kaitlin Saunders meticulously adheres to the original plot and characters – you won’t find too many surprising twists here! Part of me thought it was very respectful of Kaitlin Saunders to write such an accurate and faithful update, but at the same time, another part of me wished for some new scenes, clever recreations, and creative insights. One scene I was hoping to see updated and (dare I say it?) improved from Jane Austen’s novel was a scene where Brandon declares himself and proposes to Marianne (which we don’t see happen in Jane Austen’s novel!). But alas, we again don’t see it happen! In fact, we go right from Edward and Ellie getting engaged to the double wedding…it definitely felt like there was a scene missing.

One aspect of this novel that didn’t sit right with me was the fact that Marianne was eighteen. I’m not sure if it was because Brandon was in his thirties, or because everyone seemed to be perfectly fine with the idea of Marianne becoming engaged and married at such a young age, or both…I know Marianne is only sixteen in Jane Austen’s novel, I know that it isn’t unheard of for people to get engaged and married at the age of eighteen, and that the age differences of ten plus years isn’t too shocking…but I guess when you put it all together Marianne’s situation felt a little too far removed and atypical.A Modern Day Persuasion

Despite my quibbles, I’m so happy to have read this lovely adaptation by Kaitlin Saunders. I enjoyed my time with her lovely characters and her authentic renderings. Looking forward to reading her first release, A Modern Day Persuasion (2011) next!

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  14 Responses to “A Modern Day Sense and Sensibility – Kaitlin Saunders”


    Hi Meredith, Have you tried reading the Poldark novels. There are 12 novels in all. The Poldark Novels are a historical fictional sequence by Winston Graham. If you google them you might find they are of interest to you. I loved them.


      Hi Michelle! I haven’t heard of the Poldark novels before, but they sound interesting! I like that there are 12 books in the series! 🙂 More to enjoy! Thank you for the suggestion!


    Enjoyed your review and it must be hard to write a modern day version to the original especially when the ‘rules/etiquette’ are so different.


    Good points! This would be a tough one to modernize. Glad the familial feel was still there. Sounds good!


    I agree on both elements with you, 1st that the Regency society’s rule doesn’t apply to 21century in anymore so of course ‘dating a guy ‘ before marriage or having no money for women is different . Because women go to school , work for diploma and are more independent financially.
    The 2nd element is the proposal, it would have been so great,trulyenjoyable to see him propose!!
    anyway,The ‘a modern day persuasion ‘ is already on list , I’ll have to add this one as well XD


    Thank you so much for reviewing my novel, Meredith! I really appreciated your insights and take on my book! It was fun reading your post, and I’ve taken notes for when I set about writing again very soon! 🙂


    I’m looking forward to having a chance to read this book, hopefully very soon. It agree that S&S is hard to modernize, but I do appreciate it when authors give it a try.

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