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The Man Who Loved Jane Austen [Kindle Edition]

Sally Smith O'Rourke
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

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Book Description

When New York artist Eliza Knight buys an old vanity table one lazy Sunday afternoon, she has no idea of its history. Tucked away behind the mirror are two letters. One is sealed; the other, dated May 1810, is addressed to "Dearest Jane" from "F. Darcy"--as in Fitzwilliam Darcy, the fictional hero of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Could one of literature's most compelling characters been a real person? More intriguing still, scientific testing proves that the second, sealed letter was written by Jane herself.

Caught between the routine of her present life and these incredible discoveries from the past, Eliza decides to look deeper and is drawn to a majestic, 200-year-old estate in Virginia's breathtaking Shenandoah Valley. There she meets the man who may hold the answer to this extraordinary puzzle. Now, as the real story of Fitzwilliam Darcy unfolds, Eliza finds her life has become a modern-day romance, one that perhaps only Jane herself could have written. . .

"Fascinating. . .pays tribute to Jane Austen's enduring ideals of romantic love." --Booklist

"O'Rourke's latest is mysterious yet romantic as she reveals secrets of Jane Austen's life." --Romantic Times

Sally Smith O'Rourke lives in Monrovia, California, where she is working on her next novel.

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

New York artist Eliza Knight stumbles across an antique dressing table that includes the added bonus of secreted letters, apparently between Jane Austen and a real-life Mr. Darcy. Caught up in her romantic notions about Austen's Pride and Prejudice and the possibility that Darcy may have been more than Austen's invention, Eliza enlists the aid of an eccentric researcher as well as a handsome and mysterious Virginia horse breeder, Fitzwilliam Darcy. Three years earlier, on a horse-buying junket to England, Darcy had a life-altering experience that makes him now anxious to buy the one letter written by Austen before it goes to auction at Sotheby's. For Eliza, the letter represents a possible fortune; for Darcy, it represents possibly requited love. O'Rourke alternates between the past and the present in this fascinating novel that pays tribute to Jane Austen's enduring ideals of romantic love. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved


"O'Rourke's latest is mysterious yet romantic as she reveals secrets of Jane Austen's life." - Romantic Times"

Product Details

  • File Size: 508 KB
  • Print Length: 317 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0758210388
  • Publisher: Kensington Books; Reprint edition (January 1, 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0026CKYO2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,656 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good attempt--Lighthearted April 12, 2006
I recently read The Man Who Loved Jane Austen by Sally Smith O'Rourke. (Do not confuse it with the novel of the same name by Ray Smith!) This is an interesting take on the imagined background of Pride and Prejudice.

The novel begins as the heroine, Eliza Knight, an artist, and her passionless accountant boyfriend, Jerry, peruse a used furniture store. Eliza finds an antique vanity table, falls in love with it, and purchases it (against the advice of the money-practical Jerry).

The next morning, while in conversation with her cat, Wickham, Eliza notices that the panel backing to the mirror is pulling away. When she investigates, two letters fall out. One is addressed to Jane Austen, and the other--an unopened one--is addressed to F. Darcy.

Shocked but wise enough not to open the unsealed letter and thereby ruin the value of the document, Eliza decides to research on the internet to see if Darcy was a real person. Of course, with over a million Austen cites on the net, she is daunted. She chooses one and posts a question, "Was Fitzwilliam Darcy real?"

Strangely enough, a man has been watching and waiting for such a question for the last three years, and he quickly replies. The kicker is that his name is Fitzwilliam Darcy, and he is a horse breeder at Pemberly Farms in Virgina. Eliza dismisses him as a lunatic and goes on with life.

The novel moves along--the letters are authenticated, she meets the current Mr. Darcy (who is just as Austen described him in the original book), and they mysteries of these letters and of Darcy's identity are revealed. Of course, in order to believe this mystery, you also have to believe in time travel, but anything is possible in fiction, right?
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable, Intelligent, Escapist Romance April 28, 2006
I do not usually read historical romances, but this intelligent novel combining a modern-day investigation of Jane Austen's correspondence with a contemporary romance is a fine read.

Sally Smith O'Rourke's creation is premised on a New York artist's discovery of a 200-year-old letter from Jane Austen to her fictional hero Fitzwilliam Darcy. In attempting to verify the authenticity of the letter, the artist heroine meets a modern-day Mr. Darcy sequestered on an estate in rural Virginia. Could there be any connection between Austen's Darcy and his 21st-century namesake?

Sally Smith O'Rourke provides a diverting tale of modern romance and historical inquiry that Austen fans and others will enjoy mightily. I give O'Rourke high marks for good writing, expert plotting, and an imaginative take on Jane Austen's life and work. And, as befits the Jane Austen theme, the author manages romance without sappiness.

A well-deserved four stars.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good for a romance novel May 12, 2006
As far as romance novels go, this one is well worth the time and money. The time traveling set up may be a tad overused, but the twist in using Jane Austen as a character is interesting, especially to fans of Jane Austen. The end unfolds much like many romance novels, easily and neatly. If I were to judge this against authors who are continuing the stories of Austen or trying to write in her style, or even against just plain old 'fiction' (as this is labeled), I would have to give it three stars instead. It is cute, light, and has the added bonus of the historical Jane Austen.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hopeless Romantic June 19, 2006
As a new found Jane Austen fan, I have been reading about everything I can find having to do with her and her works. My sister made the mistake of lending this book to me and is now having problems getting it back. Although the plot is somewhat predictable and some of the background characters a bit shallow, the book on the whole is an enjoyable read. If you are looking for an accurate description of Jane Austen's life, you will be disappointed. If you want a hold your breath and day dream romance, this book will meet your expectations.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Painfully bad writing August 3, 2006
By Mandy
I had hoped this book would be another Austen fan delight along the lines of 'The Jane Austen Book Club', but was disappointed to find bad writing, flat characters, and a contrived storyline. It was like any grocery store romance novel, without the graphic sex scenes. It tried too, too hard to create a 'Pride and Prejudice' parallel in Jane's life, and made the character of Jane Austen into a very unimpressive, flimsy, mousy woman. Nothing like the brilliantly witty, mysterious and deep person her fans know her as (although it makes cringeworthy attempts at wit, mystery, and depth, to the author's credit at least demonstrating her genuine admiration for Austen). The writing was just too reminiscent of high school 'boy meets girl' dime store novels. Even the battle over Darcy between the main character, Eliza, and her nemesis, Faith, was portrayed as very 'high school' for two grown women characters. Overall, I wanted to like the characters, but I just couldn't relate to them. I wanted to enjoy the story, but it was just too cliche. I wanted to enjoy the romance, but it was just too immature. Check out 'The Jane Austen Book Club' for a GREAT and very clever read in Austen's style.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book for me in 2006 June 10, 2006
Thank you Sally Smith O'Rourke for your wonderfully romantic

book "The Man who loved Jane Austen". I read it all in one sitting and was totally absorbed into every page. Being a fan

of Pride and Prejudice and other Jane Austen books, I thoroughly

enjoyed how you weaved the past and present together. Bravo!!

I absolutely admired and ardently loved it!!! Hopefully another

book will follow to continue our journey with Eliza and Mr.Darcy!

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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely tale...
A delightful imagining of what might have been...combining two worlds...fact and fiction...then and now. Enjoyable for all Jane Austen fans!
Published 10 days ago by Connie Lard
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fun Read
It is a lovely extension of Pride and Prejudice. Who does not love Austen and time travel? It was a fast and enjoyable read.
Published 1 month ago by Mary Karch
5.0 out of 5 stars Five stars easily.
Loved the story. Wished it would go on forever. I want a follow up to it of Darcy and Eliza.
Is there as equal to it? I hope so because it would be wonderful reading.
Published 2 months ago by Breedle
4.0 out of 5 stars Creative combo
Creative blend of several different romantic movie story lines combined to give an enjoyable alternate view on a beloved classic character.
Published 2 months ago by Heidi Langston
4.0 out of 5 stars The Man Who Loved Jane Austen
I really enjoyed this book, and i really like how it was written. I like how the past and the present were presented together in this story. Read more
Published 4 months ago by sparkle
5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting twist on Pride and Prejudice
I enjoyed this book and its sequel very much. The author brought her characters and Jane Austen to life and gave an interesting glimpse into the life of Jane Austen's time.
Published 6 months ago by Ksschultz
5.0 out of 5 stars A GREAT READ
Sally O'Rourke kept the reader guessing until the very end; a great read! I wanted to believe it really happened!!
Published 8 months ago by Mary Alice C. Dowdell
3.0 out of 5 stars Fairy Tale Story
This was like a fairy tale, which isn't always a bad thing. Wouldn't we all like to find a rich, handsome, sensitive, caring man like Darcy. Read more
Published 8 months ago by mary evans
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read!
I liked the way she intertwined past & present. The characters kept me interested. Perfect book for a beach read or a rainy day.
Published 8 months ago by travelcat
5.0 out of 5 stars Skillfully written fantasy...
This novel is a skillfully written fantasy of time travel. Through the accidental passage of a time portal, an injured Fitz Darcy of Pemberley Farms, Virginia, awakens to find... Read more
Published 14 months ago by jbtaylor
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More About the Author

"Where shall I begin? Which of all my important nothings shall I tell you first?" (J.A. June 15, 1808)

That I reside in the Victorian village of Monrovia, California; a mere two miles from my place of employment, a local hospital where I spend most daylight hours in the operating room as a scrub nurse.

That I am a native Californian having been born in Glendale, and spent most of my life here with a relatively short span of years in Reno, Nevada where I attended school. Returning after graduation I have remained in sunny SoCal.

That I was widowed some time ago. That I have very domestic hobbies like sewing, cooking, baking, candy making and cake decorating. Oh, yeah I write, too. Mike, my late husband and teacher, taught me that writing has to be treated like a job so every day no matter how tired I am I edit, research one or more projects and write.

That presently I am finishing up the continuation of The Man Who Loves Jane Austen with Yours Affectionately, Jane Austen. That I have started a story of reincarnation that takes place in Pasadena, CA and am making notes for a ghost story set in San Francisco. That all Three stories are running around in my head and often colliding but I untangle the debris and continue on.

There you have a few of my nothings.

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