Today I’m on the blog tour for the audiobook of The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner.
‘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 and site of Jane Austen’s cherished former home, Chawton estate 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 had been really looking forward to this audiobook and I have to say that it blew my expectations out of the water! Firstly, the narrator was Richard Armitage who has the most soothing voice and really made the characters come to life and secondly it made me what to go and reread Pride and Prejudice the minute it finished! Natalie Jenner obviously knows the works and life of Jane Austin intimately and she has used her knowledge and passion to create a fictional account of the dawn of The Jane Austen Society. She has used her plot and characters alongside Jane Austen’s real life story to weave a believable tapestry of how a community comes together to support each other during difficult times.
I loved meeting the characters here and learning about their own connections to Jane Austen. There’s Miss Knight, a descendant of the Austen family and last in her family line but who has the misfortune to have a father who only believes in male heirs. There is Doctor Grey and Adeline, the village doctor and teacher who share many scenes and are connected by tragedy. Evie Stone was one of my favourite characters with her affinity for books and her dogged determination and thirst for knowledge. And then there was the lovely Adam who I felt particularly drawn to with his calm personality and quiet adoration and insightfulness regarding Austen’s books. The addition of an American actress completes this unusual group who become entangled in each other’s lives in a post war society that is adjusting to living once again.
This isn’t a fast faced book-more like a leisurely morning stroll with friends. The references to all things Jane Austen were completely in context with the storyline and gave me a new mantra “What would Jane do?” There were a few shocking moments for me when I realised that even today the writings of Jane Austen can be related to our lives-she really was ahead of her time.
A wonderful feel good narrative read by an equally brilliant narrator. I bought a copy for my mum as soon as it finished as I know she will love it too.
Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie Jenner graduated from the University of Toronto with consecutive degrees in English Literature and Law, and has worked for decades in the legal industry. She also founded the independent bookstore Archetype Books in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs. A lifelong devotee of all things Jane Austen, THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY is her first published novel.