Okay, I know I'm obsessive, but I can NOT stay away from the Jane Austen rip-offs. This one was surprisingly good however, Sense and Sensibility set in contemporary New York (Manhattan and upstate) with two 50-ish sisters and their aging mother. Instead of a half-brother, the self-absorbed male relative is Betty's ex husband Josie, who abandons his wife and two step-daughters for the office climber. Schine's re-working of the famous scene in which the snake-in-the grass new wife talks her husband out of doing right by his family is brilliantly rendered:

" 'It's really a burden, that big old place,' Felicity said. 'Poor Betty. I don't envy her. At her age...' Obviously the apartment would be too much for Betty to handle, It would bankrupt Betty with taxes. It would be cruel. And so it was decided. Joe would be generous and keep the apartment."

Although this has much of Austen's sprightly delight in human folly, and colorfully ridiculous side characters, Schine dwells more in the autumnal register; rather than girlish heroines experiencing first time love, her protagonists are mature women finding love at long last.

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