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4 stars: Good but flawed
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Comments for The Three Weissmanns of Westport

The Three Weissmanns of Westport: 01/01/13

 cover art (Link goes to Powells)The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine was inspired by Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. Familiarity with the original seems to be a good predictor of how well liked (or not) this retelling will be.

Betty Weissmann, Joseph's second wife of 48 years, is handed divorce papers. Joseph has fallen for a much younger woman at work. Betty, deciding to play the widow instead of the divorcee, leaves her Manhattan home for Westport, Connecticut. Shortly there after for reasons explained at length, she is joined by her adult daughters, Miranda and Annie.

Much of the remainder of the book is focused on Miranda, a once successful literary agent, specializing in memoirs, finding herself and finding romance. Her romantic life is the largest divergence from Austen's version.

But for me, the problems weren't with the points of departure, but with the places where the Weissmanns' misadventures are forced into a narrative construct that only makes sense with younger characters living in a different time and place. For instance, the Weissmanns' are invited to Palm Springs for the winter but it doesn't ring true as a substitute for families going to London for "the Season."

Three stars

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