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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Dashwood Sisters Tell All, by Beth Pattillo

I have been waiting and waiting for the release of The Dashwood Sisters Tell All! I first heard of the book's existence at BEA last year and have been hoppin' up and down ever since. I was delighted to receive a copy to read from Ideals Publications as I knew I was going to thoroughly enjoy the read.

How did I know? I loved Jane Austen Ruined My Life and Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart (both linked to my reviews.) How could I not expect to love The Dashwood Sisters Tell All, which is, of course, a spin-off on Sense and Sensibility? Each of these titles stand alone, although they all have this in common: a rare and hidden Austen relic (an original manuscript or, in the case of this new title, Jane and Cassandra's diaries) have been unearthed and exposure is threatened.

As any Austen fan is aware, Jane instructed her sister Cassandra to destroy all of her letters and papers upon her death. As far as the world knows, Cassandra honored her sister's request. Pattillo's fictional books explore the "what ifs" surrounding these destroyed papers. Pattillo created within these stories a group called "The Formidables" - which is a group that Cassandra Austen supposedly formed before her own death. The job of the Formidables is to keep these original manuscripts, letters, diaries, etc., of Jane's a secret from the rest of the world. Naturally, the main characters in each of Pattillo's books have chance encounters with these hidden documents and discover the existence of the Formidables.

In The Dashwood Sisters Tell All we meet sisters, Ellen and Mimi Dodge. Ellen is the older, more mature and stable one who nursed her mother, (who was originally from England), through the end stages of cancer. Mimi is the younger, flighty and flirty sister who can only think about herself and her own emotions. Upon their mother's death, they discover that before the estate can be disbursed, the sisters must take a trip to England together. They are required to take their mother's ashes along with them, participate in an Austen walking tour, and decide where to leave their mother's remains. Upon completion of this task, they will be allowed to receive their inheritance. Upon arriving in England, they discover that there was more to their English mother's plot that just planning a sisterly vacation. Ellen and Mimi have many choices and decisions to make and discover thing about Jane and Cassandra, as well as themselves, through their journey.

This book really made me want to dash off and read Sense & Sensibility again. I also had scenes from the Emma Thompson movie version dancing through my head as I watched and I want to pull it out and watch it again. This works well as I had committed to doing just that very thing during the Jane Austen Reading Challenge, being hosted by Amy at A Faithful Journey.


(By the way, this review of The Dashwood Sisters Tell All will be linked up over at Amy's, along with my posts about Sense and Sensibility when I get to read that!)

Once again I found Patillo's story charming, elegant, fun and enthralling. She really does a good job at writing a captivating (and clean!) story with characters that you come to care about.

I highly recommend this new title, as well as the two previous books in the series. I'm not usually fond of spin-offs but in this case? Count me all the way in and already looking forward to whatever book by Patillo comes next!

Thanks to Ideals Publications - A Guideposts Company, for sending a copy for me to enjoy! Furthermore, they also offered up a copy to giveaway to one of you. TO ENTER THE CONTEST CLICK HERE. (Contest closes April 7th.)

14 comments:

stephanie @ Simple Things said...

I don't think I've read any of these - I am bookmarking them for some summer reading for when we travel this summer. : ) Thanks!

Melissa @ Breath of Life said...

I liked Jane Austen but couldn't get into Mr. Darcy enough to finish it. I do want to read this one, though. I recently re-read S&S, and watched the movie, too. Love those Dashwood girls!

Marks of Faith said...

Sounds fun! :) I read her first two books...so my interest is peeked!

Amy said...

Ever since reading your reviews of the first two titles, I have been ever so curious about these books! Must get to them...soon! :)
Looking forward to the giveaway! :)

BTW...thanks for mentioning my challenge! ;)

mommablogsalot said...

ohhh this sounds really good!

Barbara H. said...

You're making me want to read this series!

Cassandra said...

Sounds like fun! I'm glad they can be read independently but I think I still want to read them in order. ;)

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

Sounds like fun!! I love Jane Austen's books but have hesitated to read the recent modern adaptations because I hate jumping on a bandwagon. :)

bekahcubed said...

I was pleasantly surprised by Mr. Darcy Ruined My Life after being quite turned off to Patillo by her Heavens to Betsy and Earth to Betsy about a female minister "Betsy Blessing."

Needless to say, Mr. Darcy was a great improvement over the other two. I wasn't head over heels (I felt it tried a little too hard to be thoughtful and fell short), but it was definitely an enjoyable read. I wouldn't mind reading others from the same series.

Alison said...

I loved her first two books. I just requested this book from my library. I can't wait!

Mama C said...

If you have these three books, I'd love to borrow them! :)

Kara said...

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed these! I have "Jane Austen Ruined My Life" sitting on the shelf and have plans to read the others during the course of this challenge too.

Just Call Me Lynn said...

I didn't read your entire post because I was afraid there might be spoilers, but I am so excited about adding this book to my list!! I enjoyed the other two books by Beth as well. :O)

Anna said...

I really want to read this one now!

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