I have to say that there have been very few truly great books/movies to emerge out of the Austen-sequel genre. I enjoyed the movie Clueless and Bridget Jones Diary, but most other Austen-esque books and movies have only shown their lack of genius by trying to copy a genius.
Ordinarily I would have lumped The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine in with the rest of the genre, but for two things. The first is that I saw it on the table at Daunt Books last summer in London. Daunt generally has excellent taste in the books it stocks and, in particular, in the books it displays. That made this book worth a second look.
The other reason was that it is written by Cathleen Schine and I remembered enjoying one of her previous books. So, I gave the book a try.
Generally I would give this book a 3 out of 5. It isn’t so much that it’s a bad book. More that it’s a disappointing book. The bones of the Austen Sense and Sensibility plot are so strong, yet this book feels more like a made for tv movie.
The best part of the book is the last 50 pages when Schine abruptly dumps the S&S plot and goes off on her own. The result is better writing, more realistic actions and a book worth reading. At least for the final 50 pages.