Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

Suspense and Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited) by Carrie Bebris

So a while back I reviewed a Jane Austen mystery, Pride and Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged).  I enjoyed  the first book, although I did solve the mystery quickly, but it was very well written and worth reading.

So while the first book focused only on Pride & Prejudice characters (and ones she made up) this one combines P&P with Sense and Sensibility.

A mashup

Sense and Sensibility actually takes place in the 1790s, twenty years before Pride and Prejudice. All the characters have been aged accordingly so they match up with the Pride and Prejudice ones. It can be a bit confusing when the characters are no longer how they were in their book.  To make it less confusing, I will give a brief reminder of the plot of Sense & Sensibility.

So the Dashwood family:

The estate of Norland belongs to Old Mr. Dashwood. When he was sick he was visited by his family and found young Henry Dashwood, John’s son, to be just so adorable that he entailed it to the men in his family. After he died Mr. Henry Dashwood, the elder, ended up dying and the estate passed over his second wife and daughters going to his son John, (which would ultimately go to his son, young Henry.)

John promised his father to help his sisters, but with an ambitious wife; that quickly ended.

John’s wife is horrible, just evil. Fanny, the demon wife, convinces John to give no money to the sisters as they really “are not his siblings”. She then rearranges the whole household and makes life unbearable for all.

John also has an incredibly bratty son, Henry:

When Fanny’s brother visits, she sees that he and Elinor like each other, but as Elinor is too poor for her soon to be wealthy brother Edward, she ends that immediately. The second Dashwood family all move from their home to renting out Barton’s Cottage, owned by Sir John Middleton, Mrs. Dashwood’s cousin.

They spend a lot of time with Sir John, as he constantly invites them over so that they can eat well, as money is extremely tight. Eventually after all kinds of twists and turns, the two eldest girls marry the men of their dreams and the story ends happily. If you haven’t read it you should.

**Spoilers**

So Mr. Darcy, Elizabeth, Georgiana, and Kitty are all heading to London for a “London Season” as they are husband hunting for Kitty. They are invited to Sir John’s where they meet him and his wife (sadly I think Mrs. Jennings the mother-in-law has passed on) and their now adult children. Also there is the young Mr. Henry Dashwood, who is now no longer a boy, but a young man in his twenties. He meets Kitty and immediately finds her to be a fantastic partner, good conversationalist, and all around enjoys her company.

Only one problem, he thought she was Georgiana Darcy.

The next day it seems as if all the men were only interested in Georgiana, not Kitty, as she is going to bring an extremely large dowry.

Except for Mr. Henry Dashwood. After he discovered his blunder, he still spent the night with Kitty and fell for her. That works perfectly with Kitty as she has fallen head over heels for him.

While everyone finds him agreeable, and Elizabeth definitely thinks that he will be a good match for Kitty; Mr. Darcy thinks of him as a fop and a dandy wanting Kitty with someone who has more brains.

He goes to talk to Henry, and discovers that his lack of business isn’t from him not caring, but from not being instructed on how to run an estate. It turns out that his parents sent him away to school immediately and he has spent hardly any time with family or at Norland. However, he is eager to learn and Darcy soon takes him under his wing.

Henry has won over the whole family, but soon Fanny arrives to meet Kitty.

Here I am!

Fanny does not like Kitty as she is too poor and would rather spear Georgiana with her impressive dowry. But Henry will not be deterred, as he invites them to his 21st birthday and proposes to Kitty.

Everything seems to be going well, until Henry finds an old strange mirror and a painting of his notorious great-great uncle Sir Francis Dashwood. Soon after Henry starts acting completely different-gambling nonstop, drinking, carousing with all women (married and single of every class). What could have happened to him to make him so much worse than his nefarious relation? Could he be possessed?

So what did I think? Did I like it?

No

I thought this book ran into a few problems and wasn’t as good as the first one.

1) Henry Dashwod was too likable.

So when you read Sense and Sensibility, you don’t like Henry. He is a total brat and completely annoying.

But in this book they made him tooo likable. This caused problems as that reading about his possession made it sad because you knew it wasn’t him, and this poor guy has lost everything.

Secondly, because he is so likable, you know that he isn’t the one doing all these horrible things and that something has caused him to have a personality shift. It wasn’t a real mystery, like in the first novel, as you weren’t sure if Caroline was hypnotized or going insane.

2) No Mystery

In the first book, Caroline starts acting weird after she was married. This makes us wonder is someone making her act this way like in Gaslight or is she actually going crazy?

Crazy eyes

Secondly, there are a multitude of suspects:

  1. Mr. Kendall– He could be trying to kill the Bingleys because of the money he feels that he has been cheated out of. He also could be trying to get rid of Caroline because of his daughter being thrown over. Remember, his daughter was with Caroline when her horse bolted.
  2. Mr. Hurst– If his debts are as extremely high as Elizabeth suspects, he might be trying to kill his relations off for money.
  3. Professor Randolph– Professor Randolph has been drifting from place to place as most don’t feel his studies are legitimate. Now that Caroline is crazy, he has room and board as the prime caretaker for Caroline. Maybe he is making her seem crazy, and could even be trying to make it look as if she set the fire, to only further cement Mr. Parrish’s need of him.
  4.  Mr. Parrish- He only married Caroline for her money and is trying to remove her from the picture. He is supposed to be extremely wealthy, but for some people what they have is never enough. Besides, he could be lying about how wealthy he is, or have hidden debt that they don’t know about.

In this however, we immediately know that Henry is being possessed as the writer gives it away in the beginning introduction and the back of the novel. Instead we are just waiting for events to unfold.

Yeah, I don’t like those kind of mysteries. That’s how Death Comes to Pemberley was (the book, not the TV miniseries. The miniseries is better.)

3) Hardly Any Elinor, Marianne, Colonel Brandon, or Edward In It

I’m sorry but I don’t know why they were missing so much in this novel. We LOVE this characters so if we are reading something to so with Sense and Sensibility we want to have then in the book. It was a crime to not have very much of them.

4) Supernatural Seems Like an Afterthought

This is a supernatural mystery (not Supernatural) but it takes a long time for the characters to reach that point and even evoke in anything. Professor Randolph is there for a second, and then the weirdest thing-the ever staunchly “realistic” Darcy decides to do battle with the demon mirror? I don’t know, it just seemed hastily thrown in, instead of carefully worked like in the previous book.

So we will see what the next book holds. Will it get better? Or worse?

There is one question though that this book presented that I think is worth mulling over. Who should Georgiana marry?

So I started thinking, out of all the non-attached Austen men, who would be the best match for Georgiana (yes I know the author might just make a new character like P.D. James did, but forget that lets focus on what Austen made.)? I narrowed it down to three characters who I think might work.

3) Colonel Fitzwilliam from Pride & Prejudice

Pros: Known Georgiana a long time, is kind, caring, funny, amiable, etc.

Cons: Is like a brother to Georgiana, she might not be able to see past that. She might also think he is too old (which he isn’t).

For more on Colonel Fitzwilliam, go to A Murder Has Been Committed on Your Property: Death Comes to Pemberley, Episode One (2013)

2) James Morland from Northanger Abbey

Pros: James is a kind, compassionate, caring, and hardworking guy. He has studied constantly and will soon be taking his orders to become a minister. He is a kind older brother and has many traits, in that respect, shared with her brother. Educated, well read, etc.

Cons: Not from a wealthy family, but still does alright; naive, and like Bingley, more easily persuaded.

1) Lieutenant William Price from Mansfield Park

This is actually my top pick, I think they would be good for each other. I just see them as being a great couple, him so sweet and gentle with fragile temperaments. Georgiana needing someone who can be kind and caring.

Pros: Kind, caring, compassionate, honest, and hardworking.

Cons: While his mother came from a high class family, she married down (although that wouldn’t really matter to Georgiana.) He is in the navy a peon, but he does get a great commission through Fanny’s connection to Henry Crawford.

For more on Lt. William Price, go to Let’s Hear it For the Boys

For more by Carrie Bebris, go to Pride & Prescience (Or a Truth Universally Acknowledged)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to Too Pretty

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

For more Pride & Prejudice variations, go to Whether Presentable or Not, I Love Spending Time With You: Episode Four, Pride and Prejudice (1995)

For more Sense and Sensibility variations, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more Jane Austen mysteries, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more books based on Jane Austen, go to Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Promises Were Made to Be Broken

Now everyone knows that there are three things you should never break:

Don'tBreakTrustPromisesHeart

But I guess not everyone got that memo. Especially one in particular, John Dashwood.

sense&sensibilitydashwoodfamilyjohnFanny

But I am getting ahead of myself, let me back up just a bit.

So when we last left off on Sense and Sensibility, Mr. Henry Dashwood’s rich uncle had died and left his state entailed. That means the money and estate gets passed on only to the male heirs.  When Mr. Henry Dashwood dies everything goes to his son John, leaving his second wife and three daughters out in the cold. Yep, entailment sucks.

Lady-Mary-DOWNTONABBEYENTAILMENTSUCKS

But all is not yet lost. Mr. Henry Dashwood is not that old of a man. He is sure to live a long life and squirrel away enough money for his daughters. Everything is going to be just fine.

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I know, that’s what you think. Within a year of having the riches, Mr. Henry Dashwood fell gravely ill, and soon death was knocking on his door.

StoryOfMyLifeSomeLikeItHotMarilynMonroe

As soon as Henry Dashwood discovers that he has no chance of surviving, he calls his son John for a meeting. He makes John promise to take care of his sisters. And John does promise.

“[John] promised to do every thing in his power to make them comfortable.”

Yeah right.

Sense&SensibilitypromisesJohnDashwood

So John isn’t a complete monster. In fact his biggest fault is that he tends to think of himself more than others. And this would have been easily fixed, if he had married a nice woman. The problem is, he married this.

fanny dashwoodSense&Sensibility

This horrible, horrible woman.

ThewomenBadnameBitch

So John decides to give them £1000 a piece. And that is perfectly generous (he could easily give more). After all, he has the rest of his mother’s fortune, and then he will be given £4000 a year. All is good. Only one problem:

Sensefanny dashwoodSense&Sensibility

As soon as the body is in the ground, she comes to the house and starts cataloguing everything. And when she heard the plans John had she was like no way!

You-serious?-Not-happening-babe!

She thinks that by removing £3000; their boy is going to the poorhouse. So she wheedles John into decreasing that amount.

“[Henry Dashwood] did not know what he was talking of, I dare say, ten to one he was light-headed…”

Unbelievable!

ThewomenBadnameBitch

So John  decides that he is giving too much and that he will instead give each sister £500. £1500 in all. It could be better, but at least it’s not nothing. But “Oh too much”, Fanny exclaims again, after all they are only half-siblings. It’s not like they are actually blood.

hold-up-wait-a-minute-let-me-put-some-pimpin-in-it

Did you just say what I think you said?

Ryan-Gosling-Oh-No-You-Didnt-Half-Nelson

You girl are horrible and wrong. Half-siblings are real siblings! I know as I have one. It doesn’t change a thing. Fanny you make me so ANGRY!

dean_punching_supernatural

I feel better now.

Anyways, as I was saying, Fanny thinks the amount is still too much. So John decides again to knock the amount down. Now they get £100. £300! That’s all!?  Come on man. That’s horrid.

And still, this is far too much for Fanny.

“I am convinced within myself that your father had no idea of your giving them any money at all. The assistance he thought of, I dare say, was only such as might be reasonably expected of you; for instance, such as looking out for a comfortable small house for them, helping them move their things, and sending them presents of fish and game…I’ll lay my life he meant nothing farther; indeed, it would be very strange and unreasonable…”

Ryan-Gosling-Oh-No-You-Didnt-Half-Nelson

You know that is exactly what the dad wanted. Oh you, you are

you're evil

Now those girls have hardly anything to live off on. And they will be unable to get married. If you thought the Bennet situation was bad, this one is much, much, much, much, much worse. At least they had a chance to marry off one of their girls to Mr. Collins, but here they have nothing.

willy-wonka-you-get-nothingyoulose

Oh that Fanny! Curse You!

Replace Rothbart with  Fanny

Replace Rothbart with Fanny

And you know what, she doesn’t even need it. Not only does John have a ton of money from his mother and now the entailment; but she comes from money too. Her mom’s loaded. And still, she has to begrudge these girls a few dollars.

How rude

Just goes to show you:

mannersmoralscommonsense

And that some people do not know how to keep their promises.

truestoryofmen beauty and the beast

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For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to A Family Affair

For more on Beauty & the Beast, go to Heaven on Earth

For more great quotes, go to It’s Fantastico! 

A Family Affair

So I already did a post on the opening line of Sense and Sensibility, you should go here if you want to check that out. So Sense and Sensibility is far different from Pride & Prejudice. In Pride & Prejudice we have a basic introduction to the family-5 daughters, and their mother’s need to marry them off.

Pride&PrejudiceTruthUniversallyAcknowledged

Sense and Sensibility is a little different.

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We get a big family entanglement of who’s who in the family and who’s inheriting. It can be a bit much.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

It’s not as bad as Love Actually or He’s Just NOT Into You, but it is pretty knotted. But lucky for you all, that’s what I’m here for. I shall untangle it for you.

DeanSupernaturalLetsGetStarted

So it’s always about the property and land right?

And in this case it’s the same. But the one in question here is Norland Park, belonging to Mr. Dashwood.

Macdonald-Elmers-Court-Resort-England

Now Mr. Dashwood was a confirmed bachleor, and shared his house with his sister who managed everything for him. Both of them grew older, and Miss Dashwood died. Mr. Dashwood found himself alone and didn’t enjoy it. So he decided to invite his nephew, Mr. Henry Dashwood.

Now Henry is where things become a bit more complicated. Henry has two families.

keanu Whoa

Now I don’t mean that he was married to two women at the same time, this isn’t Sister Wives. And he wasn’t a conman either. He was a widower who remarried. This might not sound too complicated right now (I mean with how high the divorce rates are today, things are far more complicated,) but it does cause some legal issues I’ll get into later.)

So we have Mr. Dashwood’s first family. This includes his son John, horrible daughter-in-law Fanny,

sense&sensibilitydashwoodfamily

and awful grandson.

Sense&Sensibilitydashwoodgrandson

I hate these people. Absolutely HATE THEM.

Hate YOu

But more on that later.

And his second family consists of the new Mrs. Dashwood, Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret.

dashwoods_sense_and_sensibility_movie

So here we are.

DashwoodFamilyTree

John being older and married was the one that didn’t move into the family homestead. But he and his family visited all the time. The three girls however, joined Old Mr. Dashwood. They take good care of him and greatly amuse him in his old age.

Double double yay

Only one problem.

Sense&Sensibilitydashwoodgrandson

Ugh

Ugh

One thing my drama director always told us:

“Never work with kids or animals. They’ll steal the show.”

It’s true. Kids and animals are too cute, and they don’t even try. They’ll do something that will cause all others to be overlooked.

And here it’s no different.

ouch Hermione

Yes, the little spoiled brat steals away all the love of his grandfather.

“…this child, who, in occasional visits with his father and mother at Norland, had so far gained the affections of his uncle. by such attractions as are by no means unusual in children of two or three years old, an imperfect articulation, an earnest desire of having his own way, many cunning tricks, and a great deal of noise, as to outweigh all the value of all the attention which, for years, he had received from his niece and her daughters.”

Duh!

Duh!

 

Yep, just another case of those who slaved and cared being pushed aside for something “cuter”.

Ugh

Ugh

So the old Mr. Dashwood dies. And leaves things unpleasant. He entails all his money and estate to his grandnephew.

Entailment!

Replace Rothbart with entailment

Replace Rothbart with entailment

Entailment sucks!!!!!!!

Lady-Mary-DOWNTONABBEYENTAILMENTSUCKS

Entailment was something that was done a lot in the 18th-20th centuries. All the money, property, the whole shebang was entailed to the next male heir. So this is good and bad. It means that Henry will have everything, but only for as long as he is alive. When he dies it will be passed on to John, and then to the kid. This means that the female Dashwoods will receive nothing. The old Mr. Dashwood gave them £1000, but that won’t be near enough for them to marry well.

ouch Hermione

So I’m sure you are wondering about Mr. Henry Dashwood. I mean he doesn’t have to entail his personal money. Or Mrs. Dashwood’s money. Right?

there's a chance

howtheGrinchstoleChristmasWrongo

 Well you’re half-right. He wouldn’t have to if he had any. Yep, you see Mr. Dashwood has no money.

willy-wonka-you-get-nothing

He had status and married wealthy. His first wife had a fortune!

money money money

Unfortunately, she died.

Sadface Batman

And left all her money to her only child, John.

willy-wonka-you-get-nothingyoulose

When he remarries it’s for love and his second wife is poor. They have only £7000. (I’m not sure if that’s a year or what, but it’s not enough for taking care of his family long-term).

And then he hopes to get the inheritance, but winds up with basically nothing.

nightmare before christmas nothing turn out like it should

To rub salt further in the wound, John doesn’t even need the money. You see John not only has all that dough from his mom, but when he married he increased his net worth tenfold.

money money money

Yep, he’s rolling in dough.

So the Dashwoods got the shaft.

nightmare before christmas nothing turn out like it should

But then Henry decides maybe it’s not such a bad thing after all. He is not an old man, he’s still has plenty of years left in him and he could start setting money aside to take care of his family. After all it’s not like he is going to die any day.

never-say-never-in-front-of-fantasy_1279

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For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to A Sense of Sense and Sensibility

For more on the Dashwood family, go to Opening With…

For more on how entailment sucks, go to Fantastic Fantasies

For more on Gone With the Wind, go to At the End of the Rainbow