Title: The Jane Austen Society
Author: Natalie Jenner
Published: May 26th 2020
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genres: Fiction, Historical
Rating: 4 stars
THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB meets THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY
‘Hope can sometimes be just enough.’
It’s only a few months since the war ended but the little village of Chawton is about to be hit by another devastating blow. The heart of the community, the Chawton estate, and site of Jane Austen’s cherished former home, is in danger of being sold to the highest bidder.
Eight villagers are brought together by their love for the famous author’s novels, to create THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY. As new friendships form and the pain of the past begins to heal, surely they can find a way to preserve Austen’s legacy before it is too late?
And there may even be a few unexpected surprises along the way…
A heartbreaking and uplifting novel of hope, loss and love. Perfect for fans of MISS AUSTEN by Gill Hornby and THE GUERNSEY LITERARY AND POTATO PEEL PIE SOCIETY by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer
‘I just feel, when I read her, when I reread her – which I do, more than any other author – it’s as if she is inside my head. Like music.’
In times of great loss, grief, pain, turmoil and uncertainty, the small glimmers of hope from gentle acts of humanity give us the strength to carry on in hard times. The Jane Austen Society is a wonderful tribute to literary icon Jane Austen, but it is a tale that provides a great deal of hope. The positive affirmations contained in Natalie Jenner’s debut made this story a pleasure to read from cover to cover.
The Jane Austen Society crosses the difficult time between two wars. When the story begins, we are transported to a quaint village called Chawton after the Great War. The book then travels forward in time and the bulk of the story is focused on the aftermath of World War II. Here, an unlikely group of eight different personalities are drawn together via their passion for the great writer Jane Austen. In their efforts to protect Austen’s former home, Chawton Estate, they find friendship and long lasting connections. Together, this group works to preserve Austen’s legacy and at the same time, they find solace in their connections. Filled with moments of striking love, devastating loss, crushing grief, clarity and hope, this is a remarkable tale from a talented first time novelist.
The Jane Austen Society is a novel that is perfect for both historical fiction fans and those who have a great deal of respect of the classic novelist Jane Austen. I’ve loved Austen’s books since I first started reading her work back in high school and I haven’t looked back since. I trip to Bath and the Jane Austen House back in 2009 truly cemented my obsession for the author. I have really enjoyed the recent spate of Jane Austen inspired novels. The Jane Austen Society was an uplifting and joyful novel, that I highly recommend to fans of the great literary figure.
What I loved the most about The Jane Austen Society was the charming English small town setting. I felt Natalie Jenner easily transported her reader to this nostalgic time and place. The detail Jenner injected into this aspect of her novel is to be commended. I loved the village life descriptions, the authentic dialogue and the general feeling of uncertainty, as well as deep loss during this time pocket. Along with the truly delightful small town musings, we are also gifted with plenty of references to Austen’s novels, along with her characters. This offered plenty of entertainment and pleasure, especially to a big Austen fan!
Jenner does an excellent job of gathering an eclectic set of characters together in a common objective to preserve Jane Austen’s legacy. Throughout the narrative we move between the eight figures of the ‘Jane Austen Society’ . Jenner devotes plenty of page time to each character, background and eventually their role in the society. We also learn of the grievances suffered by each protagonist. These issues ranged from loss, grief, misunderstanding and ambition. When the group forms as a collective, Jenner presents her audience with plenty of witty, intelligent banter, along with a focus on shared connections. This was one of my favourite aspects of The Jane Austen Society.
The Jane Austen Society is an easy read and the perfect novel to snuggle up this winter season. With a touching tribute to a much loved literary figure and the strength of people power in achieving a common goal, The Jane Austen Society is a dashing set piece.
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner is published by Hachette Australia on May 26th 2020. $32.99.
To learn more about the author of The Jane Austen Society, Natalie Jenner visit here.
*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.