Jane Austen inspires romance, friendship, and self-discovery.
The Jane Austen Society is a very special book. Fiction and reality intertwine to take the reader to the village of Chawton, Hampshire, where author Jane Austen lived.
Print Length: 320 pages | Audio: 9 hours and 55 minutes
Publisher: MacMillan Publishers (May 26, 2020)
Narrator: Richard Armitage
ASIN: B07WQPPXFW | B082VL7VRR
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.
A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, Natalie Jenner’s The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.
From the Publisher’s Blurb
These are not affiliate links
I love books. It is as simple as that. The thing I love most is their ability to transport me in time and space, and Jane Austen Society was an especially lovely trip.
Fiction and reality intertwine to take the reader to the village of Chawton, Hampshire, where author Jane Austen lived, and where her brother’s estate, Chawton Park, is still located.
Most of the story takes place in 1945 when eight very different individuals end up establishing a society in an attempt to preserve as much as possible of Jane Austen’s legacy.
In their quest, they not only dive into Jane Austen’s world, but they also connect to one another in a very meaningful way.
I was impressed by the depth of the characters: A lonely village worker dominated by his mother; a Hollywood star unhappy with the superficiality of fame; a widower doctor trying to start living again; a young and smart girl in a man’s world; an old lady facing the consequences of her life choices; a young teacher devastated by loss; a lawyer unable to disclose disturbing information to those he cares most about; and a Sotheby’s specialist, who dreams of being a farmer.
A well-written and engaging story. There is romance, friendship, kindness, a villain here and there, a wonderful tour through Chawton, several references to Jane Austen’s fabulous work, and a heartwarming end.
The Jane Austen Society is a very strong debut novel and a must-read for all Jane Austen fans.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book and a copy of the audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
(A slightly different version of this review was originally published on 01/29/2020 on lureviewsbooks.weebly.com)
Also available in audiobook.
Richard Armitage’s narration is superb! His performance adds depth to the story and makes what is already good even better.
The full unabridged text of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY was read by the distinguished English film, television, theatre and voice actor Richard Armitage for the audiobook recording.
Best known by many period drama fans for his outstanding performance as John Thornton in the BBC television adaptation of North and South (2004), Armitage also portrayed Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson’s film trilogy adaptation of The Hobbit (2012 – 2014).
From the Media Release
Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself…
Download a sample of the book to your Kindle.
A lovely playlist to listen to while reading
The Jane Austen Society Playlist
About the Author:
Natalie Jenner is the debut author of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, a fictional telling of the start of the society in the 1940s in the village of Chawton, where Austen wrote or revised her major works. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie graduated from the University of Toronto with degrees in English Literature and Law and has worked for decades in the legal industry. She recently founded the independent bookstore Archetype Books in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.