Rushton, Rosie. The Dashwood Sisters' Secrets of Love. New York: Hyperion, 2005.
Do you remember the Dashwood family from Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility? Well, author Rosie Rushton has brought them into the 21st century. Elinor is now Ellie. She still loves the unattainable guy. Marianne is transformed into Abby, still as flighty as ever. Margaret, the youngest Dashwood sister, is Georgie, but this time she has her own story to tell.
What I thought: I picked this book up on a whim. At best, I thought I could use it to introduce younger readers to the delights of Jane Austen. At worst, I knew it was chick lit. While the premise (bringing Austen into the 21st century) is commendable, I was less than pleased with Rushton's efforts. While no one can replace Austen, Rushton could perhaps have tried to give her novel the thoughtfulness and intimacy for which Austen's novels are so famous. My main complaint is the disjointed narrative. The author bounces between Ellie, Abby, and Georgie leaving the reader quite confused. I know multiple story lines can be successfully blended (Hilary McKay's Saffy's Angel is an excellent example.) When I read this book, it confirmed my worst fears, it is chick lit. When you accept that, it is an okay read.