Hello everyone! Sorry it’s been a while, I have been doing lots of reading lately but mostly advanced reader copies (ARC’s), so posts will be nearer to their individual publication dates….stay tuned 😉 However, in this case, wait no longer!
Firstly, thank you to NetGalley, Orion Books, and Natalie Jenner for my advanced copy of The Jane Austen Society in exchange for my honest review – I am so excited to share it.
The sleepy village of Chawton in Hampshire, once home to the famous writer Jane Austen, seems set to remain pretty much unchanged for another century. That is until the direct line of the Knight family still living on the estate runs out. Now destined to be sold off to developers, an unlikely group of people come together to try to buy the stewards cottage where Austen wrote the majority of some of her most celebrated works, with the aim of creating a museum and preserving her legacy. Thus The Jane Austen Society is born.
Natalie Jenner’s novel pays homage to Austen herself and the generations of admirers she has accumulated over the centuries. The complex characters and emotional undercurrents are tenderly written and the characters individual journey’s of love and self discovery unfold beautifully across the pages. The historical setting of the early to mid 20th Century and the emotional backdrop of both the First and Second World Wars, gives weight to the power of reading and it’s ability to bring people together. The relationship parallels with Austen’s own literary romances are subtle enough to remain unique yet satisfyingly discernible to any lover of Jane. An exquisite handling of language and a heartfelt respect for all she describes made it a joy to read.
I particularly loved the way Jenner used the whole cast of characters to shed light on the numerous different interpretations of the original texts. I was even inspired to make another, more forgiving attempt at Emma! All this considered, Natalie Jenner’s novel is a work of art in it’s own right and one that will stand proudly alongside my Austen collection, holding it’s own and demanding to be re-read.
The Jane Austen Society is due to be published in the UK tomorrow and one I would thoroughly recommend for both Austen and non-Austen lovers alike. It is perfect Corona reading, offering the chance to slip into another time while reminding you there is always hope.
Meg Readz xx