Review by Jenny Ellis
I have to admit I try to avoid continuations but I couldn’t resist Expectations of Happiness: a Companion Volume to Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility by Rebecca Ann Collins. S&S is my second favorite Austen novel (behind Persuasion). Collins captures Austen’s voice almost perfectly. While it didn’t draw me in from the first page, eventually it became unputdownable.
Marianne runs into Willoughby after all these years. I kept thinking to myself “please tell me this isn’t going where I think it’s going.” I had to keep reading because I had to know if Marianne truly hadn’t grown up. There is a lack of Colonel Brandon in this book. He’s in Ireland for a majority of it (how I wished I was there with him). I found myself feeling like I was more in love with Brandon than Marianne was. I just wanted to wring her little neck.
While Margaret and Marianne are exactly how I pictured them after all these years, this Elinor isn’t quite the Elinor I have in my head. She really is just the go-between in this book. There really isn’t a storyline pertaining just to her besides Elinor being the glue that holds her family together. One uncharacteristic thing she does is to run off to her mother to tell her something one of her sisters did. I don’t think Austen’s Elinor would have done that. Elinor was known for holding things in. For most of the original S&S the reader (and her family) have no idea how she really feels about Edward. She keeps everything to herself. She would never run off and tell her mother. She’d mull it over for days until she got an ulcer.
I thoroughly enjoyed Margaret’s storyline. Margaret is all grown up and trying to figure out her place in the world. It was exactly how I pictured her turning out. I kind of wished this entire book would have just been her storyline.
The book really came together in the end. I actually finished it standing in the kitchen waiting for my pizza to come out of the oven. The ending had be laughing out loud. Everything was wrapped up nicely just like Jane Austen would have done.