Jun 182018

What If Colonel Brandon Fell in Love with the Other Dashwood Sister?

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

While Pride and Prejudice variations are in plentiful supply with dozens of new releases coming out each month, stories inspired by Jane Austen’s other novels are a bit more rare. Especially stories that are variations (not sequels or modern adaptations). As an ardent reader of variations (I love wondering ‘what if?’), I was most excited to see that Virginia Kohl’s debut release was a variation on Sense and Sensibility (so unique, right?)! And I loved learning that with this variation, quite a significant change takes place. True Love Comes to Delaford story poses the question: What if Colonel Brandon’s and Elinor Dashwood’s easy camaraderie and growing mutual respect and admiration for each other developed into something more?

It may be blasphemous of me to admit it, but sometimes I find myself a little dissatisfied with Elinor Dashwood’s fate at the end of Sense and Sensibility – even though Edward has some good qualities, I do sometimes feel Elinor deserved better. I know there are some who may agree with that sentiment – after all how many readers are naming Edward Ferrars as one of their top favorite Austen heroes? In addition, there are some readers who feel some dissatisfaction with Colonel Brandon’s and Marianne’s happily-ever-after. Whether it be because of the age difference or because we never see Marianne’s developed romantic feelings for Brandon on page. Will readers feel more satisfied with these characters’ fates when they become romantically intertwined with each other…?

First of all, brava to Virginia Kohl for having the courage to pen such a daring alteration! I’m so glad she did this because it was absolutely lovely to see more of Colonel Brandon as an ardent and romantic hero! I loved seeing how, despite his intentions to forever remain a bachelor, he fell in love. His kind actions, sweet surprises, and fervent protection of Elinor warmed my heart and made me fall in love with him as well! I especially enjoyed Colonel Brandon’s relationship with Margaret – and seeing their shared interests and Colonel Brandon’s special name for her. We so need more Colonel Brandon stories in the Austenesque genre! Discerning readers will recognize a lot of Alan Rickman in Ms. Kohl’s portrayal of Colonel Brandon, which, since I’m a fan of both Alan Rickman and the 1995 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, I didn’t mind! πŸ˜‰

While I adored the chance to see a relationship develop between Elinor and Colonel Brandon, I did find myself a little less fond of some other character portrayals and developments in this variation. The biggest alteration was with Marianne’s character, who is mean-spirited and perhaps even more insolent and thoughtless than Lydia Bennet! Sadly, there was no redeeming qualities in this Marianne and I found her heartlessness disappointing. I missed seeing a sisterly bond between Elinor and Marianne, and seeing how two diverse sisters with opposite natures can still care deeply about each other. I believe Ms. Kohl chose to portray Marianne (and Edward) a little more disagreeable in order to support her premise, but at the same time I think her premise would still be believable even with Marianne and Edward portrayed in a more favorable light. However, I do give the author kudos for coming up with such creative consequences for these duo’s actions!

Other than that main quibble, there were a few other instances that raised my eyebrow, such as Willoughby’s odd manner of talking and Colonel Brandon’s urgent trips to London which are never explained. But overall, I found myself delighted with this inventive Sense and Sensibility variation. I appreciated the new character additions, the sweet moments of devotion shared between Elinor and Colonel Brandon, and the chance to explore this different pairing! I do wonder if Jane Austen ever toyed with the idea herself!

Note: While it isn’t mentioned in the book’s description, there are mentions of faith, prayer, and religion in this variation.

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  22 Responses to “True Love Comes to Delaford – Virginia Kohl”


    nice review



    I’m halfway through reading this at the moment Meredith, and have already come to the same conclusions as your good self. I can see quite a lot of nods to the 1995 dramatisation, just like you, but find Marianne and Edward a little disappointing and Willoughby irritating. But I’m very much enjoying the romance between the Colonel (given his Austenesque fiction first name of Christopher) and Elinor.


      I look forward to hearing your thoughts when you finish, Anji! This story was a lovely homage to the 1995 movie. πŸ™‚ And I did love seeing the Colonel with Elinor. πŸ™‚


        And I’ve just spotted a quote which goes by way of the 1995 dramatisation and Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Colonel Brandon, on to his portrayal of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films: “Always”.


    I am just now reading Austen’s original “Sense and Sensibility” and I look forward to finding JAFF for that novel afterwards too! I have seen the movie, which gives me an image to pair with names, and I most always find that helpful. I put this book into my shopping cart at Amazon for a later purchase so that I do not forget about it! Thanks for the review!


      Oh wonderful! I hope you are enjoying it! I reread it in December, I do love the family relationship between Mrs. Dashwood and her daughters. πŸ™‚ Happy reading!


    I started reading this book, but the writing style and development of the characters didn’t sit well with me. I love Elinor…whenever I respond to those “Which Austen character are you?” quizzes, I am invariably labeled as Elinor. But I had a difficult time connecting with Elinor and all the other characters, especially Marianne, in this novel. Just not my cup o’ tea this time, I’m afraid.

    Thanks for your insightful review, Meredith!

    Susanne πŸ™‚


      It is great to see books that spotlight these characters. I love Elinor too, I wish there were more Austenesque books about her! I appreciate you checking out my review and sharing your thoughts!


    Glad to get your thoughts on this unique variation story. I’m curious to give it a go. πŸ™‚


    This is one variation I will definitely read. Colonel Brandon has long been a favorite of mine and so is Elinor so I’ll be interested to see how I feel about it.


    Thank you for this delightfully honest review. I have this on my wish-list and look forward to reading of a very different choice for our Colonel Brandon. I have always liked Colonel Brandon and I think this what-if would be interesting to read. Thanks for hosting this book review. Say hello to Mr. Bingley for me.


      Thank you for reading my review, Jeanne! πŸ™‚ I really like seeing authors ask ‘what if’ in Jane Austen’s other novels! I definitely love seeing more of Colonel Brandon!


    I totally agree with you on this one Meredith. I love the idea of pairing Elinor with the Colonel. But, I too, had a hard time with the direction of Marianne and Edward. I also gave it 3*.


    Colonel Brandon ranks right behind Mr. Darcy for me so I love the concept of this tale! Will have to add to my TBR list.

    Thanks for the review, Meredith!


    Thank you for your review, Meredith. I am glad you enjoyed the Colonel and Elinor’s love story. πŸ™‚

    Thank you to all those who have read or wish to read my novel. Your support and feedback are greatly appreciated!


    I have this book and I absolutely adore this version. Kudos to the writer.


    I always like the honesty in your reviews when you tell us just what you liked and didn’t like. Thanks for sharing.


    I really enjoyed this novel as well; however, the religion element was really, really annoying. I understand the treatment of Roman Catholics in England was horrible (History major); but, the author did not have to be so snarky in her pre-Vatican II views. (I am not a Christian; however, I am old enough to remember back to those days as I did attend a parochial school for 4 years while we lived in N. Car.) Anyway, I think she set Elinor’s fate right in the end. Marianne had still too much growing up to do. Margaret had a better head on her shoulders than she did! Austen was not perfect in drawing her characters in this novel as it is one of her first and we should recognize this. Northanger Abbey is similar that way though she is improving. She is also deliberately stepping into comedy.

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