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NetGalley Review: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Hey all, Sam here.

Oh look, another review that I had started to draft up last fall, and then never finished up. Oops. So, I’m going to do my best to write a review to the best of my recollection. But I’m also starting to get a bit stressed about the whole move coming in the next few days. We got a dumpster dropped off today to throw out some of the trash and junk and furniture (not in a condition we’d feel right donating). And we’ll be picking up the moving truck on Sunday to get it all loaded up.

So I’m trying to get posts drafted up to get through the next handful of days without having to worry about my blogging schedule, but if I miss a day or two, it’s because of the move and trying to adjust to all of that. Anyway, let’s go ahead and jump into the review.

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

* INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER *

“This novel delivers sweet, smart escapism.”—People

“Fans of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will adore The Jane Austen Society… A charming and memorable debut, which reminds us of the universal language of literature and the power of books to unite and heal.” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

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.

My Thoughts:

Rating: 4 stars

I picked up this book initially because of the title, because I have read through Jane Austen numerous times over the years, and generally find them to be enjoyable. Then, after reading the synopsis, it gave me vibes similar to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and a little bit the “Jane Austen Book Club” movie.

Historical fiction is not one of my main focuses when I read; a majority of what I pick up tends to be fantasy, but I do like picking up other genres when the story sounds interesting to me, and I loved Guernsey (the book WAY more than the movie).

This book was a little slow to get into, because there were so many characters to get introduced to, but there was still enough going for it to where I was interested by all these characters and seeing how their stories and their lives began to weave together. It wasn’t a fully cozy story, and there were some difficult moments to read through. Even more than that, there were some moments when the story would drag a bit.

It is a bit of a lower stakes book, all really focused on the small town of Chawton and a group of people who bond over Jane Austen and a desire to preserve her home. This book is a very character focused tale, so if you’re looking for something with a big or complex plot, this probably isn’t the book for you.

But I do like character driven stories, and find that plot can be a tiny bit weaker so long as there are characters I am invested in enough to keep reading.

Overall though, despite me having read this book….oh goodness, I just looked it up on Goodreads…I read this in May 2020, so more than two years ago. Now I feel even worse about taking so long to get a review up. Overall I did find it to be a good book.

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You can pick up your own copy of The Jane Austen Society from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local indie bookstore.

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