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The Third Sister

Posted on

The Third Sister

Current Status:
In Season
Julia Barrett

We gave it a C-

In Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen described Margaret — Elinor and Marianne’s sister — as a sweet but silly girl who ”did not, at thirteen, bid fair to equal her sisters at a more advanced period of life.” Julia Barrett (a pseudonym) should have taken the master’s word for it in The Third Sister. Instead, in this ”continuation” of Austen’s novel, Margaret is fashioned as a righteous heroine in true romance-novel style. While living with her mother, she secures two suitors: a gorgeous lieutenant and a dull but solid family friend. Faced with the same basic choice that her sister Marianne once was, how will she respond? More irksome than the plot is Barrett’s hollow mimicry of Austen’s style — and her outright failure to evoke Austen’s wit. C-