The second book in the Jane Austen Murder Mystery series is as thrilling as the first, and full of twists that leave readers in suspense until the very end.
True to its name, Jane Austen’s classic Sense and Sensibility expectedly touches on the themes of good sense versus emotional sensitivity. Set in the late 1700s, Austen’s novel takes place in a world where there are limited roles and opportunities for women in society. Austen’s female characters do not inherit property and cannot have careers. Their futures and fortunes depend almost exclusively on the men they marry and they are expected to be dutiful, upstanding ladies of society. But, Austen depicts her female characters as thoughtful, clever, ambitious women. Even while living in a male-dominated world, female characters are able to exert power and agency.
In the same spirit, Sense and Second Degree Murder also focuses on themes of women’s role in society, but with a more modern twist. This series is set during the regency era, but does take creative liberties with what may or may not have been proper for young ladies of the time. Price’s versions of Eleanor and Marianne Dashwood allow her to explore tensions that wouldn’t have been polite topics of conversation in the original Jane Austen novels, updating the story for a modern audience. In this new story, we see the sisters take a stronger control over their destiny. While their fate still remains tied to the choices of others (read: men), this telling allows them more power over their situation as they take control of solving their fathers mystery, empowering them to act rather than sit by and wait.
Retellings are important. They keep us in conversation with authors of the past, they bring relevance back to stories of the past, proving that human nature is universal and unchanging. And retellings like this are especially important, because they bring modern concepts and ideas back to the story, keeping them relevant and talked about. We still feel the same feelings that humans have felt for centuries, and will continue to feel for eons. We, all of us as humans, exist and are destined to share the same thoughts, feelings, emotions, desires, and dreams, not only that other humans are feeling, but that humans have always felt. We are all different, but we are also all the same, and always will be. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants.
The Jane Austen Murder Mystery Series by Tirzah Price: