The Jane Austen Society

Natalie Jenner. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-24873-2
In Jenner’s delightful debut, a group of people are united by the goal of preserving an iconic literary figure. In post-WWII Chawton, England, farmer Adam Berwick embarks on a quest to honor the legacy of Jane Austen, seeking the help of his doctor, Benjamin Gray, to establish a museum in the cottage where Austen lived. The two men form the Jane Austen Society with former schoolteacher and young widow Adeline Grove. The society’s membership grows to include solicitor Andrew Forrester; Frances Knight, whose family owns the cottage and the Great House once belonging to Jane’s brother; and young maid Evie Stone, who has catalogued valuable books from the library at the Great House. When Frances’s father dies, his will leaves her without a claim to the cottage if a male heir is found, and the society bands together to try to purchase the cottage and preserve the valuable books that Evie has catalogued. Jenner’s immersive character development is juxtaposed against her study of Austen’s characters, providing clever insight into how the trials of Austen’s life were revealed through her books. The narrative, meanwhile, is rich with references to Austen’s literature and carried along by the strong bonds formed by the characters based on their shared appreciation for her work. Austen-ites are in for a treat. Agent: Curtis Brown, Curtis Brown. (May)
Reviewed on : 03/04/2020
Release date: 05/26/2020
Genre: Fiction
Library Binding - 500 pages - 978-1-64358-653-3
Compact Disc - 978-1-250-75219-2
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-250-78727-9
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