There are some books that strike me so deeply that I dread their inevitable end, especially considering that nothing beats the novelty of a first read. Given this, I was actually ready for Sense and Sensibility to reach its conclusion, though not due to any kind of disappointment. I loved it. The story is continuously surprising and observant of human behavior and folly. New characters are steadily introduced, adding freshness and much needed details to the intertwined story lines. I was eager to reach the story’s end simply because the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, are miserable throughout, and I was anxious for them to find reprieve. Their misery is largely due to heartbreak, which does not come off as frivolous as you would imagine; partly because their emotions are so pure and heartfelt, and partly because they are women of the 18th century. There are few prospects beyond marriage, so a runaway suitor deals a particularly strong blow.
I assumed some version of happily ever after, though I assure you it’s a tame one, because I couldn’t imagine a young Jane Austen letting down the characters she so thoughtfully created. The Dashwood sisters are emotional and eloquent, two qualities that blend perfectly together. I looked up Austen and her work a number of times while reading Sense and Sensibility, and was left with the impression that the book is not a favorite among readers or critics. If that is the case, my expectations for the remainder of the Austen canon are sky high. Northanger Abbey is next.