In a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, the sudden death of their father places three very different sisters into a life of relative poverty. Ellie, the sensible one; Abby, the romantic troublemaker; Georgie, the tomboy; and their frazzled mother are suddenly forced to move to the small town of Norfolk on the coast of England, and their beloved family house is left to their father’s awful new wife. While the plot focuses on the three sisters romantic exploits in the new town, the book’s real center is the girls’ struggle to adapt to their new surroundings and circumstances. It is their relationships with Blake, Nick, and Adam, as well as their strong bond as a family, that eventually help the girls accept their new home.
I was surprised to find a generous portion of Austen’s novel Emma inserted into the plot, as the basis for Abby’s relationship with Nick. While Rushton’s novel certainly does not have the depth of either of Austen’s classics, it was pleasantly readable and engaging, with three likable main characters and will appeal to many teenage girls – or to anyone who, like me, is a sucker for anything Jane Austen.