The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Natalie Jenner comes to the blog with her debut offering  

The Jane Austen Society  

I will admit I grabbed this book, not because I’m a huge Austen fan but because of the feel of the story that reminded me of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. AND a mention of the Chilbury Ladies’ Choir – both books I adored.  And there is a bit of ‘getting into the story and meeting the characters –  similar to both stories, that let the connections build and unfurl to reveal a lovely sense of the people, their support within the group, and the frequent references to Austen, which often were mirrored in the ‘actions’ of the moment.   

Fortunately, a solid basic understanding of Austen is all you need for this story – while those who adore her (in capital letters) will instantly see and remember references from Austen’s work to this one. It  is clear that Jenner has a love of Austen and a healthy obsession with Darcy, but the correlations never quite get too confusing or strange.  Bringing together a rather unusual group of widows and widowers, lonely hearts and film stars to a time and place just before all of the various adaptions of Austen’s work for the screen was a lovely set of moments: giving each character a chance to shine and allow the little village where Jane lived and wrote in the Kent countryside a tie that is unusual – particularly as we of today still do “Austen tours” – but the people here knew the families (or were the families) who interacted each day.  

Once you have the characters fixed in place and see their support of one another, even with some moments that are wholly unexpected, the story is a gentle, book-club appropriate read, perfect for fans of literary critique from ‘amateurs’ and the joy with which they approach their task.  One of the highlights of Austen’s works are the timelessness and accessibility: we can see ourselves and those we know in the books – just as the characters do, providing another link to another time long past where people were people and every story and life has the same hopes and dreams.  With an ending that circles back to the first character we met some 8 – 10 years before the story really starts in earnest, this is a lovely read and perfect for an afternoon’s escape.  

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Title: The Jane Austen Society
Author: Natalie Jenner
Genre: Friendship, Historic Elements, Historical Fiction, Humor elements, Post World War II, Setting: Britain, Small Town
Published by: St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 1250248736
Published on: 26 May, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 309
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 55 minutes
Rated: four-stars
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble iTunes Kobo Downpour IndieBound GoogleAudibleDirect from Publisher
See this Title on Goodreads

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.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.



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