Wednesday, 27 April 2011


Beth Pattillo knows how to make me feel better in stressful times. The same happened while reading Mr Dracy Broke My Heart last year, I found relief and escapism in a well-written, all-delight modern Austenesque tale.
Beth Pattillo follows the same successful "recipe" she used for her previous work and the result is a delicious, tasty new novel,  released at the beginning of this month and celebrating the bicentenary of Sense and Sensibility. What are the "ingredients" I  recognized in The Dashwood Sisters Tell All? The double-layered narration: the present story of the American Dodge sisters and the 18th century story of the Austen sisters conveyed through a diary which the 21st century protagonists read, the mysterious "Formidables" protecting Jane Austen's reputation at all cost, beautiful English settings for very romantic love stories, dashing but very down-to-earth male heroes as well as fascinating, very modern heroines and all of them are mixed with an Austen-can-do-magic wand. The result? A delightful modern fairy-tale with the familiar features of Sense and Sensibility.
The plot is in fact based on Elinor and Marianne's Dashwood's story but set in Hampshire, England, nowadays.

Ellen and Mimi Dodge have never been close, but their mother's dying wish sends them on a walking tour of Hampshire that follows in the footsteps of Jane Austen (Beth Pattillo went on the same pleasant errands while writing this book). Their mother also left them something: a mysterious diary that belonged to Jane's sister Cassandra. These private pages shed light on the secrets that nearly tore the Austen sisters apart and inspired one of the greatest love stories of all time.
As the Dodge sisters visit sites that were important to the Austen sisters, from Steventon Rectory to Chawton Great House to Winchester Cathedral, they are drawn together in ways they never expected. They also discover that Cassandra's diary holds clues that will ultimately lead them to Jane's own diary. But someone doesn't want the Dodge sisters to discover Jane's secrets and will stop at nothing to keep Ellen and Mimi from finding the truth.
There's an Edward/Elinor thread (Daniel and Ellen), a Willoughby/Marianne unfortunate encounter  (Ethan and Mimi) and, of course, a Brandon/Marianne happy ending (Tom and Mimi), with none of the bittersweet closing of Sense and Sensibility (I've always thought that ending the least happy among Austen very gratifying six epilogues). 

The story is told in a smart, convincing, amusing style with magic moments of romance and a bit of mystery.  A great fun read. If you fancy something which is light and enjoyable and Austenesque, this is perfect for you.

Remember! There's a giveaway going on here on My Jane Austen Book Club of an autographed copy of The Dashwood Sisters Tell All. It is open worldwide and ends on April 30th. Read Beth Pattillo's guestpost for The Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Celebration - a brilliant fragment inspired to the novel, titled Lost in Sense and Sensibility-  and leave your comment and e-mail address there to be entered in the giveaway.

My grateful thanks to Beth Pattillo for my personal autographed copy of the novel. I'll treasure it on the Austenesque shelf of my library.

Task 2 out of 4 in The Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge hosted by Laurel Ann at Austenprose.


_snitchbitch said...

Thanks for the review! I saw this book recently on various sites and was wondering what others thought of it. I'll be adding it to my shopping cart next time!

Wanda M. Cooper said...

Actually, I adore Dashwood Sisters! I'm a big fan of all the romantic literature and Dashwood Sisters is a pure romance! This is my advice for every woman loving tears and love in one book. Anyway, thanks for the awesome review posted here.

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The review you posted here is really great. I am agree with Wanda M. Cooper that every women should try those books mentioned. the both loving sisters are really rock.