Review: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

This book was an instant yes for me when it came across my desk for review. It looked so incredible and Jane Austen—need I say more?

It was also marketed to fans of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which was a huge favorite of mine last year and I was eager to read something in the same vein.

When I started reading this one, it was with the expectation that it would be charming and heart warming just as one of Jane Austen’s novels.

Summary

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.

Review

Where to begin with this one? I mean, on one hand I liked it but on the other, it wasn’t quite the uplifting book that I expected it to be—at least for the first half of the book. The unlikely group of people who come together because of their love of Jane Austen was charming and very much like the Potato Peel Pie book, but it was also just kind of depressing to start with.

Dr Gray had lost his wife, don’t even get me started on Adeline’s situation, Adam just seemed like this sad lonely farmer, and Mimi—-well all I can say is #MeToo. Everyone just seemed so broken and in desperate need of something positive—-enter their Jane Austen Society.

While the Jane Austen Society gives them all a much needed purpose but for me it came a little too late. This book is told from multiple POVs and while each POV was executed well, I just never felt overly invested in any of the character’s stories. I also felt that the Society just came too late, the Society comes in to play about 45% of the way through which just came too late for me. The second half of the book was much more positive but the beginning just felt more sad to me than it needed to be. I know that others weren’t bothered by this and felt that it was an uplifting book—-so perhaps I am in the minority in this perspective.

This book is clearly written for Austen fans and I would recommend if for any Austen fan as it is a good story, but for me I just had a different feeling from the beginning of the book. If you love Jane Austen you should definitely give this one a go because there are tons of Austen tidbits and discussions about her works between the characters that more than make up for some of the sad character storylines.

Book Info and Rating

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: May 26th 2020 by St. Martin’s Press
ASIN B07WQPPXFW
Free review copy provided by publisher, St Martin’s Press in partnership with Austen Prose blog tour, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: historical fiction

WHERE TO BUY

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORYINDIEBOUND | AUDIBLEGOODREADS | BOOKBUB

ACCOLADES

  • An Amazon Best Book of May 2020
  • One of Goodreads Big Books of Spring & Hot Books of Summer
  • One of Audible’s Top 50 Most Anticipated Spring Audiobooks
  • June 2020 Indie Next Pick
  • May 2020 Library Reads Pick
  • Starred Review – Library Journal
  • Starred Review – Booklist

AUTHOR BIO

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.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

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).

Link to YouTube audiobook excerpt: https://youtu.be/OJ1ACJluRi8

 

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

ADVANCE PRAISE

“Just like a story written by Austen herself, Jenner’s first novel is brimming with charming moments, endearing characters, and nuanced relationships…Readers won’t need previous knowledge of Austen and her novels to enjoy this tale’s slow revealing of secrets that build to a satisfying and dramatic ending.”Booklist (starred review)

“Few things draw disparate people together so quickly as discovering they love the same writers. Few writers cement such friendships as deeply as Austen does. I believe that the readers of Jenner’s book will fall in love with the readers inside Jenner’s book, all of us thinking and dreaming of Austen the whole while. What could be better? Nothing, that’s what! A wonderful book, a wonderful read.” ―Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club

“Fans of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will adore The Jane Austen Society… A charming and memorable debut, which reminds us of the universal language of literature and the power of books to unite and heal.” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

SPOTIFY PLAYLIST

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.

One thought on “Review: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

  1. I actually loved this and I wasn’t an Austen Fan it made me rethink my disliking of her and am now listening to all her novels on audible. I’m sorry it didn’t touch you the same way but no one ever reads the same book right.

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