Jane Austen's celebrated 1811 novel has been adapted for the screen by Andrew Davies and directed by John Alexander. This lovely and well-acted BBC production first aired as a three-part miniseries on PBS's Masterpiece Theatre.

In early 19th century England, Mrs. Dashwood (Janet McTeer) and her three daughters live very comfortably in Norland Park. When her husband dies, John Dashwood (Mark Gatiss), a son from a prior marriage, inherits the estate. He promises his dying father that he will take care of Mrs. Dashwood and the girls, but his greedy and vindictive wife Fanny (Claire Skinner) convinces her weak-willed husband to give them almost nothing.

One day Fanny's brother Edward Ferrars (Dan Stevens) shows up for a visit and surprises everyone by finding himself very drawn to the oldest Dashwood daughter, Elinor (Hattie Morahan). She, in turn, though usually reserved and responsible, allows herself to be very pleased by the attention given to her by this handsome stranger. He also impresses young Margaret (Lucy Boynton), who is quite outspoken about being displaced from her home. The middle sister, Marianne (Charity Wakefield) is artistic and romantic. At 17, she is beginning to despair of ever finding the right man to share her love of music and poetry.

When Sir John Middleton (Mark Williams), Mrs. Dashwood's cousin, offers the family a cottage by the sea in Devon, they relocate and try to adapt to a much more frugal and simple way of life. Marianne, an accomplished pianist, is courted by Colonel Christopher Brandon (David Morrisey), a wealthy, middle-aged neighbor and music-lover. But she is swept off her feet by John Willoughby (Dominic Cooper), a handsome and seductive young man who sees her as his soul-mate. Meanwhile, Elinor helps her mother run the household, ushers Marianne through a series of romantic setbacks and surprises, and pines for Edward who has mysteriously disappeared from her life.

We loved Ang Lee's screen adaptation of Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson as Elinor and the inimitable Kate Winslet as Marianne, but we also found much to our liking in this longer BBC version. Hattie Morahan as Elinor beautifully carries the drama's most valuable treasure trove of goodness that needs to be rewarded. Dan Stevens brings both vulnerability and strength to the role of Edward. Charity Wakefield segues from the limerence of first love to a more mature appreciation of love with grace. David Morrisey's subtle performance as Colonel Brandon convinces us of his character's worthiness. And Dominic Cooper conveys both the dash and the disappointing character of Willoughby.

The cinematography of Sean Bobbitt beautifully captures the lushness of the countryside in Devon, Hertfordshire, and Surrey. The whole cast seems to know the secret that is at the heart of this touching drama of love lost and love gained: Patience is a defining virtue in intimate relationships.

Special features on the Two-disc DVD set includes: "Miss Austen Regrets"; Cast and crew commentary; Interviews with producer Anne Pivcevic and write Andrew Davies; Radio play: Remembering Jane Austen; Photo gallery