Saturday, April 14, 2018

ARC Review: The California Dashwoods by Lisa Henry

The California Dashwoods
Make a new future. Choose your true family. Know your own heart.

When Elliott Dashwood’s father dies, leaving his family virtually penniless, it’s up to Elliott to do what he’s always done: be the responsible one. Now isn’t the right time for any added complications. So what the hell is he doing hooking up with Ned Ferrars? It’s just a fling, right?

Elliott tries to put it behind him when the family makes a fresh start in California, and if he secretly hopes to hear from Ned again, nobody else needs to know. While his mom is slowly coming to terms with her grief, teenage Greta is more vulnerable than she’s letting on, and Marianne—romantic, reckless Marianne—seems determined to throw herself headfirst into a risky love affair. And when Elliott discovers the secret Ned’s been keeping, he realizes that Marianne isn’t the only one pinning her hopes on a fantasy.

All the Dashwoods can tell you that feelings are messy and heartbreak hurts. But Elliott has to figure out if he can stop being the sensible one for once, and if he’s willing to risk his heart on his own romance.

A modern retelling of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

Jewel's rating:

​This is not a romance in the modern sense of the genre. It is, however, a classic romance set in modern times. Lisa ​Henry remains faithful to the original in ​this retelling of ​​Sense and Sensibility​, so if you're familiar with the original story, ​and you enjoyed it, you'll surely enjoy this The California Dashwoods!​ I admit, I am more of a Pride and Prejudice kind of girl, but ​​Sense and Sensibility​ isn't too far behind in in my esteem. It's Jane Austen, so both are close to my heart.

In Lisa Henry's retelling, Elliot Dashwood is our guy through whose eyes the story unfolds. After the death of his father, The Family (capitalized so as to not confuse them with people that matter) kicks his mother, him, and his two sisters to the curb. The Family are a vile bunch who are more concerned with pedigree and money than they are family that was born of a 20+ year love affair with *gasp* a commoner. Never mind that Henry Dashwood married and loved Abby.

Ned Ferrars is Elliot's brother-in-law. Ned's shrew of a sister is married to Elliot's oldest brother (from his father's first marriage). Ned seemed different than his sister or The Family and Elliot was drawn to him and they had "a thing" until Elliot and his mom and sisters moved to California.

If you're not familiar with ​Sense and Sensibility, you might be wondering why I say it isn't a romance in the modern sense. Well, that would be because Elliot and Ned get very little page time together. They are together for a bit in the beginning, but then are apart for 80% of the book. Elliot's sister Marianne honestly gets more action that he does!

I loved the recasting of Elinor as Elliot as well as the recasting Colonel Brandon as a woman. The latter, especially made me cheer! We kind of get two stories for the price of one, here, because not only does Elliot get his HFN with Ned, but Marianne finds a little happiness, too.

I truly enjoyed this adaptation of one of my favorite Jane Austen novels. Well, done Lisa Henry!


ARC of The California Dashwoods was generously provided by the author, in exchange for an honest review.

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