The Jane Austen Society is the perfect book for quarantine, for unsettling times, for a quiet read, or for a virtual book club. Even better, it’s everything a Jane Austen fan could wish for in historical fiction.
If you like books about people who love books, people who gather to form societies to read and save old books, or books about England in the 1940s, then this is the book for you. And if you loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (read my list of 5 Reasons you should read it here), you’ll find another group of similarly-minded friends in this book.
The Characters in it
First, I enjoyed the ensemble cast of characters and each storyline. I, of course, have my favorites, but I’ll let you decide for yourself. Their stories intertwine in the most wonderful way. Each one is on his/her own path toward inner healing, which creates many lovely character arcs.
And what is a good cast of characters without a good love story (or several) to keep things interesting?! I found the love stories gentle, endearing, and realistic. Each one blossoms and unfurls beautifully as past sorrows slowly give way to future hope.
The Feel of it
It just doesn’t get much better than the feel of village life in Chawton in the 1940s in this novel. The descriptions of the farm, the lanes, Jane Austen’s house, the church, Chawton Great House–all of them are intimate and dear. Natalie Jenner makes you feel as though you’ve stepped back in time, onto the streets of Chawton.
The Jane Austen of it
There are MANY reasons to read this gorgeous novel, but if you’re a Jane Austen fan, I don’t see how you could resist. It’s all about a group of people who are drawn together by their shared love of Jane Austen and her novels. More than anything else, they want to save her house and her legacy, but they have to find a way to do it. (And it isn’t easy.)
Also, true Austen fans will find all sorts of fun nods to Austen’s novels strewn throughout the book. You’ll need to look carefully. I found many that were delightful!!
The Comfort of it
Finally, there is something comforting about this book. I loved curling up with it. It felt like a warm hug after a long day.
I hope you’ll enjoy this book as much as I did. If you’d like to have a chance to win a copy of it, check my Instagram account for details.
Grace and peace,
Order your copy here:
Meet Natalie Jenner
Natalie Jenner is the debut author of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, 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.
Just after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.
AUDIOBOOK NARRATED BY ACTOR RICHARD ARMITAGE:
The full unabridged text of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY was read by the distinguished English film, television, theatre and voice actor Richard Armitage for the audiobook recording. Best known by many period drama fans for his outstanding performance as John Thornton in the BBC television adaptation of North and South (2004), Armitage also portrayed Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s film trilogy adaptation of The Hobbit (2012 – 2014). Here’s an excerpt!
Spotify users can access a playlist for THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY at the following link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5Q1Vl17qyQQIvvPGeIPCkr?si=-iMhVz8uRk2v2mTdolrPdg. The playlist includes music from various film adaptions of Jane Austen’s books, as well as film scores by such incomparable artists as Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, Rachel Portman, and Michael Nyman.
FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR!
May 25 through June 30, 2020: Seventy-five popular blogs and websites specializing in historical fiction, historical romance, women’s fiction, and Austenesque fiction are featuring interviews and reviews of this post-WWII novel set in Chawton, England.
Upcoming Blog Tour Stops:
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
Catch up on what you missed and follow the rest of the blog tour here!