ITV’s dramatisation of the unfinished novel has offended the sensibilities of many Janeites. Alison Flood wonders if this makes sense
In one of the last glimpses Jane Austen gives us of the world of Sanditon, her final, unfinished novel, Charlotte Heywood has just met Sidney Parker, a young man of “about seven or eight and twenty, very good-looking, with a decided air of ease and fashion and a lively countenance”.
Andrew Davies’ TV adaptation of Sanditon, which aired on Sunday, ended with Charlotte and Sidney bidding each other a tearful farewell – in love, but not together. Viewers were teased with the hope of a last-minute reconciliation, as Sidney stopped Charlotte’s carriage. Would he throw honour to the wind and choose Charlotte over Eliza? But the expected happy ever after didn’t materialise. Reader: he didn’t marry her.