#SaturdaysAreBookish | An after canon of #JaneAusten’s classic respun into “Sense Without Sensibility” by Keena Richins

Posted Saturday, 15 February, 2020 by jorielov , , , 1 Comment

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I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours since [2016], where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “Sense without Sensibility” direct from the author Keena Richins in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On how Jorie is spending the New Year 2020 lost in #JaneAusten:

Some years organically shape themselves into how your bookish & readerly life is going to manifest itself. For me, 2020 soon alerted me to the fact it was finally the year where I could re-shift my focus back into Jane Austen’s canon whilst entertaining her after canon sequels & retellings which I have been enjoying since I first started blogging my readerly life in [2013]. Prior to these years as a blogger and an avidly joyful tweeter – I never sorted out which of the after canon novelists I wanted to read due to the sheer amount of stories which are regularly published!

My journey of course began in December, 2013 when I read J. Marie Croft’s “Love at First Slight” which restylised “Pride and Prejudice” (singularly my favourite by far and one I highlighed in 2017 during #AustenInAugustRBR). From there I moved into my first “Sense & Sensibility” retelling entitled “Sense & Sensibility: A Latter-day Tale” by Rebecca H. Jamison proving that despite not reading nor seeing the motion picture adaption of the original with Emma Thompson (as this was a special gift to movie tie-in from my Mum; both the novel & the screenplay at time of release) you can definitely alight into a respun Austen story! I read this in August of 2014 (still within my first year as a book blogger) whilst years later I would re-cross paths with the author due to following Janeite & Austenite group author blogs and participating in INSPY related readathons!

Conversely, my attempts at participating in Roof Beam Reader‘s annual (until it took a sabbatical) Austen in August event was both productive and futile; depending on how you view my history of participation! Laughs at self.

When I soaked into “Liam Darcy: I Loathe You” by Heidi Jo Doxey (May, 2015) I learnt that there is still much to be learnt about comedic & satire writings in relation to Jane Austen! By October 2016, I was discovering “Sketching Character” (a variant of “Pride and Prejudice”) by Pamela Lynne. Yet in 2018, I discovered my first ‘not my cuppa’ variation of “Persuasion” whilst by November of the same year, I gushed over my first #25PagePreview of reading “Pride” by Ibi Zoboi!

Which brings me to the incredibly layered and wickedly smashing trilogy by Collins Hemingway entitled “The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen”! First read in 2018 and finished in 2019 – this became ‘the’ novel for all Janeites as I have regularly attested in my ruminations on the series behalf which acculmuated this New Year 2020 in the capstone interview I featured on Mr Hemingway’s dedication to bringing “Jane” to life as eloquently as he had! (see also reviews of Volume One, Volume Two & Volume Three)

In 2019 – I also had the honour of discovering the Quill Collective – of whom published a delightful Jane Austen anthology wherein all the writers took a round robin approach to adding in their variations to each of the canonical stories of Jane’s. The audiobook truly had a strong impact on me and I am not even done listening to it yet and ruminating over it as some portions of it I had to withhold listening til I could read the originals. This was meant to lead-in to my listening of a second anthology by the Quill Collective between November & December, 2019 entitled “Yuletide” which is a variation of “Pride and Prejudice”!!

Sadly – I had a hard ending to 2019 – from October – December my health was beyond afflicted and in January, 2020 my focus was simply removed from reading altogether. I barely blinked online – by blog or Twitter and focused more on showcasing #TopTenTuesday than reviews or features. It is only now in February where I have a renewal of spirit despite having a well of inactivity and a respite of absence from reading altogether as highlighted in my recent #BookishNotBookish.

Except to say – one audiobook series which is in of itself a variant of Jane Austen’s legacy is what truly helped ‘pull me out of my bookish funk’ and began to reinspire me to read again – the #JaneAustensDragons series by Maria Grace! I was able to share my initial takeaways and impressions on behalf of the first audiobook narrated by Benjamin Fife entitled “Pemberley: Mr Darcy’s Dragon” – whilst I also featured an interactive, candid and insightful interview with Mr Fife. The sequel “Longbourn: Dragon Entail” is next in line to be featured before I reveal my thoughts on the third in sequence which is “Netherfield: Rogue Dragon”!

In a recent convo on Twitter with @KhatriHina I realised I needed to break the trend of ‘not reading’ the original canons of Jane and to resume my love of her after canons. Thus, we’re reading “Emma” first and then moving into her other works whilst as this blog tour via Poetic Book Tours implies I am also reading her after canons in succession betwixt and between those readings as well! I want to dive into Jennetta James’s “Suddenly Mrs Darcy” as much as finally feel rooted into “Yuletide” in order to properly share my reactions to both as I move through their stories.

I am going to alternate from reading the books I currently have visible on my shelves (ie. “Northanger Abbey”, “Mansfield Park” & “Persuasion”) whilst borrowing the others except for “Pride & Prejudice” as I’ve read it oft enough to bypass it this year – though I do want to finally finish Stephanie Barron’s first Jane Austen Mysteries “Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor”). “Emma” is being borrowed on audiobook and I am thankful for it as I am striving for balance between what I read in print and what I listen to in audiobook.

I might have taken the long road back into reading #JaneAusten but I am appreciative of the fact that despite the adverse years of 2018-19 where my migraines raged – this New Year 2020 it is blissful to be migraine-free allowing me the grace of realigning back into Classical Literature & my selections of Non-Fiction which had to be back-burnered until the migraine lost their grip on me.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish | An after canon of #JaneAusten’s classic respun into “Sense Without Sensibility” by Keena RichinsSense without Sensibility
by Keena Richins
Source: Author via Poetic Book Tours

After a stroke that devastates the mind of her father, Elinor expects her life will never be the same. But she wasn’t expecting to lose her job and her family home thanks to a legal technicality.

Facing ruin, Elinor prepares to fight against the selfish, cruel man who would ensure that ruin. However, Edward turns out to be the opposite, a kind soul who only wants to fulfill his duty. So Elinor hatches a new plan: get Edward on her side and utilize their own legal technicality. The only problem? Edward would have to go against his very influential and wealthy family.

Would he risk losing everything–his job, his family, and his massive inheritance–to save Elinor?

Genres: After Canons, Classical Literature, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Re-telling &/or Sequel

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781074858070

Published by Self Published

on 23rd June, 2019

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 286

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The Pemberley Estates series:

Book One: Persuading Him (A Modern Persuasion Re-telling)

Book Two: Persuading Her (A Modern Persuasion Re-telling)

Book Three: Sense without Sensibility (A Modern Sense & Sensibility Re-telling)

Read the Author’s Guest post on the tour which explains why #stroke is an important part of the story within “Sense without Sensibility” whilst read my previous posts about how this has impacted my own life with my father. (Not Your Traditional Thanksgiving)(Returning)(& Top Ten Tuesday)

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Available Formats: Trade Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #AfterCanon of #JaneAusten, #SenseAndSensibility
& #SenseWithoutSensibility as well as Retellings of #ClassicLit

About Keena Richins

Keena Richins has a curse: she must write the stories bubbling in her head or go mad. Seriously. You should see the hordes of characters in her head constantly babbling about their lives. When she needs a break, Keena will delve into books and her favorite are the Jane Austen books, so it is only fitting for her first debut to be a modern twist on one of those classics. And many more are soon to come.

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uniquely enough, i did see a hallmark film about this story:

Round the time we were getting ready to binge watch as many Hallmark Christmas movies as e could this December and January (see also #BookishNotBookish, No. 11) we were treated to a lovely Contemporary Romance which was in effect a re-telling of Sense and Sensibility! The good news is that the actress who portrayed Elinor in the film (Ashley Williams) was also one of the lead characters in the Christmas in Evergreen movies! (of which I loved ALL of them!) Whilst I had already loved seeing Marla Sokoloff in Flower Girl. Marla of course played Marianne – to the exact exasperation of her sister, Elinor! I definitely want to get both of these lovelies on dvd at some point because I loved them dearly!

The name of the film was Scents and Sensibility and I felt they handled the treatment of the original arc of the story quite well – even though, technically I have yet to read it; there are key components that are ringing true in each of the variations I am reading and/or watching which elude me to think I have a good handle on the original! Therefore as I went into reading Sense without Sensibility I felt more confident about having the ‘refresher’ about the original characters ready in mind – though the overlay of how a person who survives a stroke as a main component of the story was one that concerned me the most – as somehow, I had forgotten this included that story arc and I had to brace myself for it.

my review of sense without sensibility:

The acuity of how Richins transitioned us into Elinor’s world where her father is caught inside his own mind without a method of communicating to the outside reality he once resided in – was done in such a compassionate tone of understanding about how stroke works and how the after effects are very much like an earthquake which doesn’t allow the brain to reset itself. It was here where if you are not as familiar with stroke, dementia and the neurological diseases which erode the cognitive clarity of the brain – you might have a harder entrance into this novel than I did due to my past experiences with Alzheimer and Parkinson’s (both grandfathers); notwithstanding the last three years my father’s recovered from his stroke.

Sometimes I equate this kind of separation from reality to those who are locked inside their interior worlds due to Autism. It isn’t that they are simply gone from our presence (even if they appear to be) it is that they’ve lost the pieces to reconnect to where we are and how to communicate what they want to tell us. This is when Aphasia starts to intercede and takeover – which is technically part of the new issues my father is having (as I revealled during last Saturday’s #SatBookChat) as those connective keys to using words which match what he is experiencing or trying to express are sometimes not in the right order or in the right sequence. Sometimes Aphasia can also replace common words with other words as if they are fitting into a pattern of their own linguistically puzzle. All of which is most frustrating for the loved ones and caregivers – or even the support staff (as this gentleman, Elinor’s father is residing in a facility) who are trying to focus on the positives and attempting to not allow those to be overshadowed by the deficits.

I was not surprised Elinor is shouldering this – she has felt to me like the sister who not only cared after her own affairs but unlike Marianne placed her family first and did what was needed to be done without thinking of herself first. She was the one who had to be stronger than most and resourceful enough to realise what her options were in case she needed to get defensive about someone trying to intrude on her goodwill to help her father. In some ways, there is a contrast here with #ZoeysPlaylist – as in the end of the pilot episode, Zoey realises that her father (although unable to speak) is listening to everything the family is saying and he understand it all. She decides to use that knowledge to re-route a way to connect with him – to take him out of his environment and do something that reminds him of the past; of how he used to be prior to the changes. This can also work with stroke survivors – the hardest bit is the caregivers… how to balance the changes against your own memories and how to find the humour in the everyday so it doesn’t make you lose your own mind in the process of caring for the survivor.

Richins places a thread of tension in Elinor’s life in regards to her brother’s wife Fanny – a horrid excuse for a woman and sister-in-law as she only has the heart of Scrooge (prior to his visitations). It isn’t enough for Elinor to have to place aside her own fears and concerns but then she has this outsider who wants to liquidate what she can if only for her own personal gain. Contrary to this Richins shows how the weight of being a carer can self-destruct the person who is attempting to block out the world from seeing their internal anguish and pain. Emotionally all of us can only handle so much before we reach our upper maximum of where we need not just a break but we need a support system to restablise us. Elinor is at her breaking point and that is a secret she doesn’t want to have revealled. My heart bled for her in that moment – so much truth in such a simple scene of how she masks her own turmoil.

The venomous hate seething out of Fanny was quite unexpected – thought in-line with another nemesis I am used to seeing against Elinor. She truly believes she’s in the right, never the wrong and that whatever Fanny dictates to be done is obviously the right course of action in only a justifiable situation invented in her own delusion of the reality she’s living. She really is out of touch with everyone round her – she can only see the value of real estate and business; of what those assets can provide monetarily speaking and not the truth of how Elinor, her sisters and Mum had been living prior to this unexpected invasion of relatives who are so far removed from their lives it is laughable that they have to contend with their insistence to conform or dismiss themselves from the rights they used to have in regards to their father’s assets.

There was one surprising turn of events – I hadn’t suspected Elinor would deceptively find a way to deceive John and Fanny; nor sort out a way to alter a way a business shows its vitality. For some reason, I never saw Elinor portrayed in that manner previously (at least that I remember?) as she was always the above board one – in comparison to Marianne who was much more flighty and unable to be pinned down to commit to anything. I don’t recollect anything untoward or underhand ever being part of Elinor’s MO? Hmm.

I struggled to connect with Elinor – rather than seeing the brave and strong sister who shepherded her family back into the black with positive cash flow and stability; I instead, seemed to have found this variant of her character more willing to take the short-cuts in life, act underhandedly and for whichever reason seek to win at all costs without the conscience of ethics or principle. It just felt so unlike her and in many regards, I was almost hoping Marianne or Maggie might have been featured a bit more as despite the differences in the sisters they seemed to be the more appealling lead character than Elinor. She also went on a bit of a whinge if you ask me – not strictly vocalising her discomforts and disappointments – but in how she behaved and the choices she was making just seemed to be counter-intuitive to me in order to write her own future on stable ground.

Quite soon after we visited with their father, the story re-shifted onto the Dashwood sisters and I honestly was surprised their father didn’t play a stronger part. Despite the hurdles I had in getting into the right frame of mind to read this novel, once I settled into it, I suppose I wanted a bit more from the father (Mr Dashwood) as his situation was very relatable. The further you get into the story – the Dashwoods in this variant seem to be scheming all the time – rather than planning their way out of their unexpected circumstances. It isn’t that what they are doing is entirely wrong – they are trying the leverage what little they still control into a return on their invested years but part of me felt that their whole course of action was simply wrong-footed.

Edward was an interesting fellow but he felt as predictable to me as Elinor – as those two could be twins separated at birth – they spoke the same, had the same interests and as Marianne even reflected herself – they were the sum equal of how to live a life of boredom unto themselves. Edward was a nice respite from his sister Fanny – she’s definitely the horrid character in this retelling and of course, perhaps in the original as well? I had a feeling she was the same flavour of personality as she was originally – as how else could she be portrayed? She seemed to come out of the gate this way and that would add enough spice to the background to keep everyone cringing whenever she would come round!

The sad bit is I just couldn’t connect with these characters – I didn’t feel invested in their lives and if anything most of what they were doing just didn’t make any sense to me at all. They definitely didn’t own their circumstances, they didn’t ban together to overcome anything and it felt like they were all in it for themselves. I don’t recollect the characters being this selfish? Also, I do think the title is more apt than I gave it credit for – as I thought it was a new way of viewing Elinor and Marianne but really its more like a title which encompasses the Dashwoods in this variation – they are simply without capacity to be sensible!

on why i had trouble shifting into the story & how I resolved it:

This is definitely a prime example of jumping into a novel before you fully consider the ramifications of reading it – as I hadn’t fully realised how realistically accurate the author would take me back to those early days at the hospital when we were awaiting news of how bad the stroke had been and of course, trying to fill the space of moments at the hospital by staying optimistic without having much of a rudder or anchour to ground us to any semblance of assurance (of Dad’s recovery) outside our own hope and faith. The most maddeningly part was the lack of updates until one nurse took a shine to my family and kept us in the loop; we were beyond grateful to her and she enabled us to get through those long hard eight days smoother than we felt possible!

The one key difference though which helped me shift into the story-line is that my father didn’t have a severe stroke – he had a moderate bilateral (which in of itself was bad enough) with experiencing TIA strokes off/on for an hour in the ER (apparently a new record?). He also came out of the stroke with minor deficits and was able to immediately eat, dress, talk and do all the normal things he could normally do! He even was on my case not to stop blogging or reading – to continue to move forward with whatever I was planning to do that November or December; whilst he reminded Mum about the bills coming up, etc. We, on the other hand had more trouble ‘shifting’ out of emergency mode and did our best to find our new rhythm of normalcy.

Three years on – this past November we started noticing he was experiencing more quirks and deficits than he initially had after his stroke. (uniquely enough) And, that is what set us on a course of meeting with his doctor(s) and trying to source what can be found in our local community to help my Dad. He also had an issue with his BP levels and thankfully that was resolved a bit faster than the other newer hurdles we’re still transitioning through – so overall, as I am my father’s caregiver whilst my Mum works outside the home – transitioning into this novel took a bit more courage than I first thought it might. I have a feeling it still might be too soon to read a book about stroke survivors but as I have other books on this topic to be read – I knew this was still the best ‘first’ story to be reading because of the overlays with Sense and Sensibility.

Sometimes it is good to push yourself to read a more challenging narrative that hits closer to home than you first realised – if anything, for the perspective and secondly for the more intuitive way you would most readily respond to the story moreso than someone else who might not be walking this kind of path at the time they read it themselves. Technically speaking – this is also why I watched #ZoeysPlaylist – because of how emotionally connective it was to be seen right now. (blogged on #BookishNotBookish, No. 11)

on the after canon styling of Keena Richins:

The accuracy of how Richins alighted us into her vision for this novel could only be writ by someone who understands the path Elinor was walking and when I found her guest post – I knew I had been right. You can recognise certain experiences and situations in others; even without words or revelations towards that end – there is something that uniquely links you to others who are living through something similar to your own walk and that is what I sensed about this story even before I had progressed too far into the content of the story.

How she managed to have the snark of Fanny sound so dearly sincere is a credit to how she approached writing her character! Fanny was a woman who you knew didn’t see past her own nose – she was selfishly absorbed and she only wanted what would benefit herself and her husband; though part of me felt she mostly was endeavouring to secure her own money and thereby not be in want or need of a husband at all.

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Poetic Book ToursFollow the blog tour for more readerly insights & reactions as well as the bookaway!

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who picked up the same story to read.

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{SOURCES: Book cover “Sense without Sensibility”, author biography, book synopsis and Poetic Book Tours badge were all provided by Poetic Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Saturday, 15 February, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, After the Canon, Blog Tour Host, Classical Literature, Indie Author, Inspired By Author OR Book, Inspired by Stories, Jane Austen Sequel, Modern Day, Poetic Book Tours, Re-Told Tales, Sense & Sensibility Re-telling, Sequel Authors, Siblings

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