Hello, Sunshines! I have the huge pleasure to be today’s stop on this wonderful blog tour for; The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. I am super excited to share my review of the enchanting book with you, I hope you love as much as I do!
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Format: Ebook, Audio, Hardback
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, The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.
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).
YouTube audiobook excerpt
Praise for Natalie Jenner
“Just like a story written by Austen herself, Jenner’s first novel is brimming with charming moments, endearing characters, and nuanced relationships…Readers won’t need previous knowledge of Austen and her novels to enjoy this tale’s slow revealing of secrets that build to a satisfying and dramatic ending.” ―Booklist (starred review)
“Few things draw disparate people together so quickly as discovering they love the same writers. Few writers cement such friendships as deeply as Austen does. I believe that the readers of Jenner’s book will fall in love with the readers inside Jenner’s book, all of us thinking and dreaming of Austen the whole while. What could be better? Nothing, that’s what! A wonderful book, a wonderful read.” ―Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club
“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
This is a real sweet and feel-good story of love, friendship and the power of reading! If anything this charming tale just goes to prove that books really are the balm for the soul, they can bring so much joy, which is what I am assuming Jane Austen would have loved to hear, that her books have brought people so much happiness and joy.
I have to say that I am immensely impressed by how solid and beautiful the writing is if I didn’t know that this was Natalie Jenner’s debut book I wouldn’t have believed it. This is a gorgeous, heart-warming and inspiring book which really does drum home the power of good friendships.
I have to be honest and say that when I volunteered to review this for this blog tour, it wasn’t the Jane Austen link that caught my attention first, I did love the sound of it but what captured my attention was the era, I love a WW2 or post WW2 novel and I caught up by the idea that the power of books and one author, the history and legacy of a place can help restore the hope in a time that was so fraught with its own challenges, the war is over but that isn’t the end; men are coming home, women are losing their positions, loved ones are lost forever and those left behind are having to cope plus on top of that there is still unease and rationing it was those aspects and how the Society would help rebuild peoples lives that captured me most.
Set during 1948, we are whisked away to the picturesque village of Chawton, the last home of one Jane Austen a place where she spent the last days of her life. Unfortunately, Janes familial estate is under threat which is where a group of completely different people all come together in a shared hope and attempt to save not only Jane’s home but her legacy too, and the Jane Austen Society is born!
Each one of these eight individuals may have come together to preserve history and to keep Jane’s legacy of friendship and love from books alive, they have thrown themselves in on the task, but they each are battling their own personal issues. They are all so different each one is from a completely different world from the next each has come into the village with different reasons, they are all trying to either forget, move on or find a new life, some have suffered because of the war, some are facing the worst possible moments of their lives, some have found themselves in tragedy but. But despite their differences and their struggles, they have two things in common; 1. they all need a friend and 2. they are all passionate about Jane Austen.
I can’t really go into too much detail regarding this book, as apart from each of the members own personal histories and drama, the back blurb practically tells the story itself,, it’s not a taxing heavy read you can sit back and lose a couple of hours easily as you are transported to Chawton. I love the overall feel to this is an enchanting and engaging, its beautiful nod to one of this countries greats, but what surprised me most is that this is Natalie Jenner’s debut book, I would never have thought that as the writing is so clear and rich in detail, it’s definitely easy to read the story flows over the reader like a swirling mist and before you know it you’re near the end and wondering how that happened.
It’s a simple story one that will really hold onto your heart and what I love about it is that it can be enjoyed by all readers of historical fiction, whether you are an Austen fan or not. I know this as a fact as – and yes, I realise that this admission will probably get me outcast for life, but hey, I am all for speaking the truth – I have never read a Jane Austen and I don’t particularly like Pride and Prejudice, I am and always have been a Bronte lass, sorry to all Janeites.
Oh and for those who like audiobooks, I would definitely recommend this one, I am not a big fan of audio, in fact, I can never get into them much preferring to read a book for myself but The Jane Austen Society is narrated by the very talented Richard Armitage (Yes, I know ladies, its Mr Thornton and now we shall all stop and remember that kiss…#DoubleSigh) so whether you like audio’s or not, who can say no to Richard Armitage? 😉
Spotify users can access a playlist for THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY here – The Jane Austen Society Playlist.
The playlist includes music from various film adaptions of Jane Austen’s books, as well as film scores by such incomparable artists as Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, Rachel Portman, and Michael Nyman.
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.
Blog Tour Schedule
Join the virtual online book tour of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, Natalie Jenner’s highly acclaimed debut novel May 25 through June 30, 2020. Seventy-five popular blogs and websites specializing in historical fiction, historical romance, women’s fiction, and Austenesque fiction will feature interviews and reviews of this post-WWII novel set in Chawton, England.
May 25 Jane Austen’s World
May 26 Frolic Media
May 26 A Bookish Affair
May 26 Courtney Reads Romance
May 26 Margie’s Must Reads
May 26 The Reading Frenzy
May 27 Gwendalyn’s Books
May 28 Getting Your Read On
May 28 Living Read Girl
May 28 The Lit Bitch
May 29 History Lizzie
May 29 Silver Petticoat Reviews
May 30 Historical Fiction Reader
May 31 Jane Austen in Vermont
June 01 From Pemberley to Milton
June 01 My Jane Austen Book Club
June 01 AustenBlog
June 02 Lu’s Reviews
June 02 The Green Mockingbird
June 03 Relz Reviews
June 03 Impressions in Ink
June 04 The Caffeinated Bibliophile
June 04 Life of Literature
June 04 Laura’s Reviews
June 05 Reading Ladies Book Club
June 05 Bookish Rantings
June 06 From the TBR Pile
June 07 Rachel Dodge
June 07 An Historian About Town
June 08 Bringing up Books
June 08 Austenesque Reviews
June 09 Captivated Reading
June 09 Savvy Verse and Witt
June 10 Lady with a Quill
June 10 Drunk Austen
June 11 Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
June 11 Inkwell Inspirations
June 12 Nurse Bookie
June 12 A Bookish Way of Life
June 13 Calico Critic
June 14 Jane Austen’s World
June 15 Stuck in a Book
June 15 Storybook Reviews
June 15 Confessions of a Book Addict
June 16 Literary Quicksand
June 16 Becky on Books
June 17 The Reading Frenzy
June 17 Anita Loves Books
June 18 Chicks, Rogues, & Scandals
June 18 The Write Review
June 19 Diary of Eccentric
June 20 Cracking the Cover
June 21 Short Books & Scribes
June 22 Reading the Past
June 22 Babblings of a Bookworm
June 23 My Vices and Weaknesses
June 23 The Book Diva Reads
June 24 Books, Teacups & Reviews
June 24 Wishful Endings
June 25 Robin Loves Reading
June 25 Bookfoolery
June 26 Lit and Life
June 26 Vesper’s Place
June 27 Foxes and Fairy Tales
June 28 Probably at the Library
June 28 Scuffed Slippers Wormy Books
June 29 The Anglophile Channel
June 29 So Little Time…
June 30 BookNAround