June 5, 2020
Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, Books About Books, England, Post WW11, Classics
*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
Welcome to my stop on The Jane Austin Society Blog Tour. Thanks for the invitation!
Thank you #netgalley #Austenprose #StMartinsPress for a complimentary e ARC of #thejaneaustinsociety for review. All opinions are completely my own.
A love of writing and timeless stories draws people together….
Jane Austen’s final home was located in Chawton, England. In this imagined story that takes place shortly after WW11, a number of devoted Austen fans band together to preserve the home and her legacy. A local doctor, a young widow, a young farmer, a descendant of Austen’s, a young maid, and a movie star are among the group, and the story is told through their unique perspectives. Although they are very different from each other, they each share a deep connection with and a great love for the works of Austen.
Writing: Fans of Jane Austen will appreciate this imagined story of the first Jane Austen Society and that it is written in the style of an Austen novel. The Jane Austen Society is character-driven (although there’s a suspenseful plot element), charming, relationship-centered, and filled with likable characters (the maid is my favorite!). Although there are many references to Austen’s work throughout the story, I don’t think you need to have read Jane Austen to follow or appreciate the story. If you have read Austen, reading the story will be a richer experience for you. Several reviewers have compared this story to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society because of the unique group of people in a small community who come together in post-WW11 England to form a book club. In both stories, the book club enriches their lives and strong relationships are formed.
Characters: The Jane Austen Society includes a variety of characters, and it takes a while to get to know all of them. This can make the first part of the story move slowly. These are people you would love to have in book club. They are devoted to their favorite author and her work. I liked how many of the characters found true comfort in reading and rereading their favorite Austen work and how they applied her writing to their own lives. Reading Austen offers this group of readers encouragement for the dreariness and hardships of their post-war lives and personal struggles.
Themes: A few thoughtful themes include saving (themselves, relationships, a legacy), friendship, community, romance, determination, resourcefulness, second chances, and grief.
Anachronisms: Sometimes in historical fiction, actions, thoughts, and behaviors are modernized and a present-day agenda infiltrates the story. This was somewhat noticeable in this story, and my attention to it falls under personal preferences. Even though imagined, I prefer that the story stays as authentic to the times as possible.
Recommended: Overall, I think historical fiction enthusiasts and Jane Austen fans will enjoy this charming and heartfelt story. I think it would make a wonderful movie, too! Book clubs that have read some Austen might particularly enjoy this imagined beginning of the Jane Austen Society.
***May contain spoilers.***
Trigger Warnings and Content Considerations: Even though this is a mostly gentle read, it doesn’t shy away from life’s difficulties: the loss of a baby (difficult birth), mention of suicide, death of a loved one, drug use, and sexual assault.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Meet the Author, Natalie Jenner
Natalie Jenner is the author of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY (St. Martin’s Press, May 2020), a fictional telling of the start of the society in the 1940s in the village of Chawton, where Austen wrote or revised her major works. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie graduated from the University of Toronto with degrees in English Literature and Law, and has worked for decades in the legal industry. She recently founded the independent bookstore Archetype Books in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE:
- May 25 Jane Austen’s World
- May 25 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog
- May 26 Frolic Media
- May 26 A Bookish Affair
- May 26 Courtney Reads Romance
- May 26 Margie’s Must Reads
- May 26 The Reading Frenzy
- May 27 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina
- May 27 Gwendalyn’s Books
- May 27 Romantically Inclined Reviews
- May 28 Getting Your Read On
- May 28 Living Read Girl
- May 28 The Lit Bitch
- May 29 History Lizzie
- May 29 Silver Petticoat Reviews
- May 30 Cup of Tea with that Book, Please
- May 30 Historical Fiction Reader
- May 31 Jane Austen in Vermont
- June 01 From Pemberley to Milton
- June 01 My Jane Austen Book Club
- June 01 AustenBlog
- June 02 Lu’s Reviews
- June 02 The Green Mockingbird
- June 03 The Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
- June 03 Relz Reviews
- June 03 Impressions in Ink
- June 04 The Caffeinated Bibliophile
- June 04 Life of Literature
- June 04 Laura’s Reviews
- June 05 Reading Ladies Book Club
- June 05 Bookish Rantings
- June 06 From the TBR Pile
- June 07 Rachel Dodge
- June 07 An Historian About Town
- June 08 Bringing up Books
- June 08 Austenesque Reviews
- June 09 Captivated Reading
- June 09 Savvy Verse and Witt
- June 10 Lady with a Quill
- June 10 Drunk Austen
- June 11 Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
- June 11 Inkwell Inspirations
- June 12 Nurse Bookie
- June 12 A Bookish Way of Life
- June 13 Calico Critic
- June 14 Jane Austen’s World
- June 15 Stuck in a Book
- June 15 Storybook Reviews
- June 15 Confessions of a Book Addict
- June 16 Literary Quicksand
- June 16 Becky on Books
- June 17 The Reading Frenzy
- June 17 Anita Loves Books
- June 18 Chicks, Rogues, & Scandals
- June 18 The Write Review
- June 19 Diary of Eccentric
- June 20 Cracking the Cover
- June 21 Short Books & Scribes
- June 22 Reading the Past
- June 22 Babblings of a Bookworm
- June 23 My Vices and Weaknesses
- June 23 The Book Diva Reads
- June 24 Books, Teacups & Reviews
- June 24 Wishful Endings
- June 25 Robin Loves Reading
- June 25 Bookfoolery
- June 26 Lit and Life
- June 26 Vesper’s Place
- June 27 Foxes and Fairy Tales
- June 28 Probably at the Library
- June 28 Scuffed Slippers Wormy Books
- June 29 The Anglophile Channel
- June 29 So Little Time…
- June 30 BookNAround
Are you a Jane Austen Fan?
Have you read The Jane Austen Society or is it on your TBR?
Happy Reading Book Buddies!
“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke
“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text
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