The Three Weissmanns of Westport
Booklist Reviews 2010 January #1
It may be hard to envision a novel of manners set in our ill-mannered times, but accomplished author Schine has captured the essence of Sense and Sensibility and dropped it into today's Manhattan and Westport. The Weissmanns, elderly mother and two mature daughters driven to penury by divorce and career reversals, must rely on the beneficence of Cousin Lou for the shabby roof over their heads. Annie, still modestly employed as a librarian, has both salary and an apartment to sublet, so it falls to her to provide the income for the three. Alas, the other two spend money as if it were still the old days. Mother Betty affects widowhood as it is easier than the pending divorce. Sister Miranda finds inappropriate love. The wide-ranging cast of characters—fools, scoundrels, poseurs, the good-hearted, and secret heroes—provides interesting interplay.Wild coincidences abound, so that Manhattan, Westport, and Palm Springs are but mere extensions of the classic drawing room. There is sadness but also love in this thoroughly enjoyable, finely crafted modern novel. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2010 January #1
Drawing on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Schine (The New Yorkers) has written a witty update in which a late-life divorce exiles Betty Weissmann and her adult daughters, Annie and Miranda, from a luxurious life in New York to a shabby beach cottage in Westport, CT. Annie is the serious daughter and Miranda the drama queen. Both women find unexpected love, while Betty, a sweet, frivolous spendthrift, struggles with her newly impoverished state. What comfort the Weissmanns enjoy is owing to the generosity of Cousin Lou, a Holocaust survivor and real-estate mogul, whose goal in life is to rescue everyone, whether or not rescue is needed. While beautifully preserving the essence of the plot, Schine skillfully manages to parallel the original novel in clever 21st-century ways—the trip to London becomes a holiday in Palm Springs; the scoundrel Willoughby becomes a wannabe actor. VERDICT Austen lovers and those who enjoyed updates like Paula Marantz Cohen's Jane Austen in Boca and Jane Austen in Scarsdale should appreciate this novel. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/09.]—Andrea Kempf, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS[Page 93]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
LJ Reviews 2009 October #2
When 78-year-old Joseph Weissmann divorces his wife because of irreconcilable differences, throwing her out of their classy New York apartment, she ends up in a tacky Westport, CT, beach cottage with her two grown daughters. Billed as a modern remake of Sense and Sensibility-poor Jane never gets a rest. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
PW Reviews 2009 December #3
A geriatric stepfather falls in love with a scheming woman half his age in Schine's Sense and Sensibility–flecked and compulsively readable follow-up to The New Yorkers. Betty Weissman is 75 when Joseph, her husband of nearly 50 years, announces he's divorcing her. Soon, Betty moves out of their grand Central Park West apartment and Joseph's conniving girlfriend, Felicity, moves in. Betty lands in a rundown Westport, Conn., beach cottage, but things quickly get more complicated when Betty's daughters run into their own problems. Literary agent Miranda is sued into bankruptcy after it's revealed that some of her authors made up their lurid memoirs, and Annie, drowning in debt, can no longer afford her apartment. Once they relocate to Westport, both girls fall in love—Annie rather awkwardly with the brother of her stepfather's paramour, and Miranda with a younger actor who has a young son. An Austen-esque mischief hovers over these romantic relationships as the three women figure out how to survive and thrive. It's a smart crowd pleaser with lovably flawed leads and the best tearjerker finale you're likely to read this year. (Feb.)[Page 36]. Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.