Natalie Jenner’s debut novel, The Jane Austen Society, is a delightful, insightful tribute to the author who brought us so many memorable characters. The story is set at the end of WWII in Chawton, where Jane Austen spent the last part of her life and where she wrote her final three novels. A group of unlikely people become friends and form a society that has a mutual love for Jane Austen. They want to use their love to save her home and make it a museum with items of the era she resided in.
We’re introduced to Adam Berwick, a farmer who is the character we meet first, upon meeting with a stranger looking for Austen, develops an affection of Austen’s works; Dr. Gray, who is grieving over the loss of his wife; Mimi Harrison a Hollywood actress with a soft spot for Austen; Frances Knight, a descendant of Jane Austen’s brother; Evie Snow a housemaid working at the estate and who secretly catalogs the library; Adeline Lewis, an English teacher who has experienced a series of losses; Andrew Forrester, a lawyer handling the estate’s affairs; and Yardley Sinclair, an estate sales expert of Sotheby’s in London.
With an easy pace, a well-executed plot, and its ability to explore themes of grief, loss, identity, love, this is a novel that is sure to delight both Austen fans and newcomers to the author.
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. St. Martin’s Press, May 2020.
Reviewer bio: My name is Natasha Djordjevic. My favorite genre to read is Historical Fiction, especially books set in the Tudor times. You can find my blog at poetryofreading.blogspot.com.
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