Publisher: St. Martin’s Press / Macmillan Audio
Release Date: May 26, 2020
Genre: Historical Fiction / Adult Fiction
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.
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner is a positively delightful book with a fictional version of how the Jane Austen Society came to be. This was a beautiful and endearing debut novel, and even though I still haven’t read a Jane Austen book, I was still able to appreciate it although I’m sure lovers of the writer will appreciate it even more.
I listened to the audiobook and I was very impressed with the narrator, Richard Armitage. He did a lovely job bringing this book to life and I’m going to have to search out more books that he narrates. I think there is something special about listening to the audio and it was the way to go for me especially having not read Austen before. There is a lot of focus on the characters and a lot of references to Austen’s books, so the audio helped propel me along.
I don’t think you need to be an Austen fan to read this book, but it would definitely help. I know a lot of things went over my head, but I still thoroughly enjoyed it and it has me itching to read (or listen to!) an Austen novel now. I think Jenner did an amazing job with this book and her writing was both engaging and witty. I don’t know if I really learned a whole lot since most of the book is based on fictionalized characters, but I would still recommend reading The Jane Austen Society especially if you love Jane Austen and her books. There were a few moments when I got a little teary, and there is definitely focus on some very serious topics, but it was also fun, and the ending made me smile.
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
Thank you to Libro.fm and the publisher for both my advance listening copy and advance review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.