by Scott D. Southard
“When one looks at life it is easy to get lost in big moments, losing simple days that pass by in a glance, unimportant except in counting down to other days and events. We only notice their loss when we wonder whither all the time disappeared. We may see the lost time in the eyes of grown children and the age on the face of our parents. The hard, inescapable truth is that it is forever gone, and man has yet to find a way to recover it.”
This novel, full of anecdotes, does not come across as a transparent retelling, but rather an emotional journey that fits in perfectly with the known facts of Jane Austen’s life. The inclusion of a completely fictional character, an American at that, ensures a uniqueness and the smart, humorous prose resonates the authors’ own beloved style. Jane’s experiences and thoughts are cleverly laced with phrases fans will recognize from her books, while character traits are obviously drawn from family and acquaintances unfortunate enough to make an impression on the young writer.
“All her heroines find love in the end—but is there love waiting for Jane?
Jane Austen spends her days writing and matchmaking in the small countryside village of Steventon, until a ball at Godmersham Park propels her into a new world where she yearns for a romance of her own. But whether her heart will settle on a young lawyer, a clever Reverend, a wealthy childhood friend, or a mysterious stranger is anyone’s guess.
Written in the style of Jane herself, this novel ponders the question faced by many devoted readers over the years—did she ever find love? Weaving fact with fiction, it re-imagines her life, using her own stories to fill in the gaps left by history and showing that all of us—to a greater or lesser degree—are head over heels for Jane.”
This marks the 35th Jane Austen variation I’ve read, and it stands out as one of the more well-written and thought provoking. There are no modern nuances, it does not stray too far from the facts, and the author has managed to capture Austen’s style and wit, along with his own charming quips. This story will delight those Austen fan-fiction enthusiasts who enjoy an imaginative and entertaining escape into their favorite author’s world.