The Jane Austen Society
You don’t have to be a fan of Jane Austen to love this book. You don’t even have to have read Jane Austen to love this book. It is a standalone novel about a group of people in the 1940’s, who find themselves drawn together by their love of Austen to create a museum to honor the author in Chawton, the small town in Southeast England where Austen wrote.
THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY is not to be confused with other books (even a movie) of similar titles. This one is brilliantly crafted, weaving together the lives of eight people in the most intriguing of ways. Even someone like me, who hasn’t studied Austen’s books, understands that the challenges facing these eight are a more modern version of elements in her books.
Ms. Jenner tells a good story. The evolution of the characters is smooth and steady, the challenges facing them serious but do-able. I completely bought into each of their attractions to Austen, though some were newer to the game than others. Likewise, I bought into their forming a society to honor this writer.
There is something utterly calming about THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY. It may be the voice of Dr. Gray, a charming middle-aged doctor who has cared for nearly everyone in the town. Or the voice of Francis Knight, who grows perhaps more than anyone else. Or the voice of Mimi Harrison, an American actress whose attraction to Jane Austen and Chawton changes her life.
The characters here have flaws, just like we do. And those flaws do not magically disappear at the end of the book. But the resolution is gratifying in ways that our very real, very COVID world may not be for a while.
Calming, absorbing, uplifting – I highly recommend THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY.
Oh, and based on the advice of the characters, I’ve just ordered EMMA.