Willoughby's Return makes good use of Marianne - she's still a little emotional (read: jealous), impetuous, easily swayed by what she feels - she's Marianne. But Elinor - she's such a buzz kill. In S&S I like Elinor and to give credit she's a very minor character in WR, but famously dull and judgemental - glad she's just a minor character.
Margaret becomes a real character in this story, and is, perhaps, a blend of both of the best parts of Elinor and Marianne - spirited, but knowing, not so trusting as to be blind, but easily (perhaps too easily) falling in love. It's interesting to see Colonel Brandon (wish Jane had given him a first name) be something a little more three dimensional, but still absent. And Brandon's other family, that's an interesting project, isn't it? Not a good situation. I can totally understand Marianne - why she feels that way - I'm a jealous type too and and could NEVER share my husband with anyone ever. Jealousy is not a good quality, but what can you do? It's not rational, but then again, it wouldn't be, now would it?
All that said, the ending was nice but maybe a little to 21st century. Would Eliza talk to Brandon in such a personal way? Would Brandon apologize to Marianne for neglecting her? I'm thinking not so much. Margaret's story works better for me - it's believable though a bit transparent - but nice nonetheless - lovely lovely story.
What does one think about John Willoughby? Yes, he really loved Marianne. But not enough. Do you feel bad for him? Maybe like Elinor does when he explains why he married someone other than Marianne ... but to me he's an even bigger tool because he married a woman he didn't love - just for the money... weak.