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A Walk with Jane Austen: A Journey into Adventure, Love, and Faith Paperback – October 16, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (October 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400073707
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400073702
  • Product Dimensions: 0.7 x 5.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,263,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this engaging, deeply personal and well-researched travelogue, Smith (a PW contributor) journeys to England to soak in the places of Jane Austen's life and writings. The book is sure to ride the wave of Austen-philia that has recently swept through Hollywood and a new generation of Americans, but this is an unusual look at Jane Austen. Readers will learn plenty of biographical details-about Austen's small and intimate circle of family and friends, her candid letters to her sister, her possible loves and losses, her never-married status, her religious feelings, and her untimely death at the age of 41. But it is the author's passionate connection to Jane-the affinity she feels and her imaginings of Austen's inner life-that bring Austen to life in ways no conventional biographer could. Smith's voice swings authentically between the raw, aching vulnerability of a single Christian woman battling a debilitating and mysterious chronic illness and the surges of faith she finds in the grace of a loving God. And yes, she even meets a potential Darcy at the start of her journey. This deliciously uncertain romantic tension holds the book together as Smith weaves her own thoughts, historical research, and fitting references to Austen's novels into a satisfying whole. (Oct. 16)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“A young woman goes looking for Austen in all the places Austen once lived and many of the places she wrote about. The Austen she finds is a woman of family, and of quiet but sustaining faith. Austen shares these things and many others with author Lori Smith whose book gives the reader the great pleasure of time spent with both. A lovely, intimate read.”
Karen Joy Fowler, best-selling author of The Jane Austen Book Club

“Sensitively written and carefully paced this memoir takes the reader on a tour of the author’s experiences while journeying around England in the footsteps of Jane Austen. Lori Smith moves seamlessly from romantic daydreams, through a close questioning of her relationship with God, to battles with her mental and physical health. The book reads as an intimate and honest memoir and has enough to satisfy the non-Christian (like myself) if they choose to look beyond the somewhat unexpected (in a mainstream book at least) pairing of Jane Austen and Christianity. Above all else, this is a book about searching–for love, meaning, peace with oneself, health, a good night’s sleep, and a decent cup of coffee that wasn’t made with that freeze-dried-instant-powder–and these are experiences that anyone of any faith can relate to.... A welcoming read. Lyrical and questioning...perfectly pitched.”
Emma Campbell Webster, actress, author of Lost in Austen, and founder of lostinaustenblogspot.com


“With wit, charm, and rare honesty–of which I have to believe Jane Austen would have thoroughly approved–Lori Smith weaves her personal life experiences throughout her journey into the life that was Jane’s. Infused with faith, romance, loss, and a search for self, A Walk With Jane Austen makes for that rare book that keeps popping into one’s thoughts and beckoning one back.”
Tamara Leigh, author of Perfecting Kate and Splitting Harriet

“With deep and sometimes heartwrenching honesty, Lori Smith weaves her story and Jane’s together into a wholly unique narrative. In the midst of a craze for treating Austen’s novels as little more than glorified bodice-rippers, Lori brings to bear her perspective as a single Christian woman who can identify in many ways with Austen’s own beliefs and experiences, exploring truths and ideas that others gloss over. The resulting book stands out like a beacon.”
Gina R. Dalfonzo, editor of The Point weblog (http://thepoint.breakpoint.org) and writer for BreakPoint Radio

More About the Author

Lori Smith is an adorer of Jane Austen and a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. She feels connections to Austen on many levels--as a writer, a single woman, an Anglican, and as someone struggling with a mysterious chronic illness. For her last book, A Walk with Jane Austen: A Journey into Adventure, Love, and Faith, Lori spent a month in England tracing Austen's life and works. Readers voted to give that book the Jane Austen Regency World Award for best nonfiction, and it received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

Customer Reviews

I started this book, and found it real boring.
Stephanie from Michigan
Lori reveals herself to us as a quintessential Austenian character--charming, essentially good, but honestly and vulnerably flawed.
K. Steakley
Pick up a copy of Vanity Fair if you are looking for trivial entertainment and do not waste your time reading this book.
buchfrau

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Fellow Traveler on October 28, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed Lori Smith's "A Walk with Jane Austen," it is unquestionably an enjoyable and thought provoking read. Once again Lori has bravely and generously let the reader sit beside her and hear her thoughts, listen to her humbly own her strengths and goodness, while at the same time actively confront and challenge her growing edges. Such self examination of her own character is an inspiration to the reader. Lori has a veritable gift for meaningfully writing about unquestionably challenging human struggles without making the topic overwhelming or odious---this is because the prose is so absolutely lovely, funny, and honest, that the reader feels completely natural and at ease at every turn.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Austin Native on October 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a beautiful book about Lori Smith's real life adventures when she went to England to explore Jane Austen's world. Interwoven with her own stories are fascinating and little-known facts about Jane Austen. Lori lets us into her life, as well as Jane's, and everyone will find something to relate to and learn from. It is a fun and inspiring book, and way too short!
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By K. Steakley on November 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
Lori Smith joins the ranks of travel memoirists with the engaging story of her trip through Jane Austen's England and the coinciding Austenian romance that arose during her stay. Lori reveals herself to us as a quintessential Austenian character--charming, essentially good, but honestly and vulnerably flawed. Her struggles with faith and her exploration of Austen's religious roots, her musings on life as a single woman in the 21st and 19th centuries, and her detailed and insightful descriptions of Austen's history and the places that figured in her history will delight both Austen fans and fans of the memoir genre.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Austen Lover on July 4, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book goes to show you that adding a reference to Jane Austen is one way to sell a book, and I'm out of excuses for why I keep buying them. This book is much less about walking with Jane - and when the author does try to draw parallels they are weak indeed - and much more about poor pitiful Lori. Lori has made life choices, and then expects us to feel sorry for the consequences. Lori is also an emotional roller coaster in a way that I was at 16, not 33, and when she laments that single men are single for a reason, I can't help but think the think the same could be said of her.

I have been to England to see Chawton and Bath and walk where Jane did; while they brought me significant joy (much more than I expected), being your average tourist (which Lori basically was, sans car) hardly qualifies as adventure. Climbing a stile does not induce terror (at least not the ones I climbed in England, perhaps she found a different style of stile?). Yet I knew my vacation didn't make a book, and somehow Lori's vacation is this lightweight. She had no profound life changing experiences or revelations, though the reader does learn all about her outfits (poor thing - she had to put on a clashing red fleece in the cold!). Seriously, are Jane Austen fans supposed to care about this?

I've already attacked the "adventure" part of the title, and unless you think falling in love over a couple of days with someone who honestly tells you early on that he is seeing someone and wants to be true to that - if you think that that is a journey into love - because really, that's all there is - then well, maybe you can find the journey into faith part, too.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Philadelphia Reader on January 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
Sorry, I have to go with the party-poopers on this one. I, too, wanted to like this book a lot more than I actually did, as conceptually it was quite engaging. And I did appreciate Smith's research about Austen's life, as well as her earnest interest in the author as a person. *However,* as others have written, the core of this book is Smith's own insecurities and experiences, and unfortunately her writing style (and persona) is not sophisticated enough to make the most of her "hook," that is, the walk in Austen country.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mistie the Dog on August 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
I admire the author for having the courage to seek out her vision of Jane Austen on her own. Ms. Smith is not unlike many Janeites who look to Jane Austen for guidance of some sort (books, movies, travel, etc.) when their own lives are in disarray. Unfortunately, I felt sorry for the author through most of the book, at one point wanting to grab her by the shoulders and say "I'm sorry, but he's just not that into you." If I had it to do over again, I'd spend my money on another book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Holly VINE VOICE on July 8, 2009
Format: Paperback
I can't really say what I expected from this book, but it was terrifically disappointing. The premise is good: traveling through England and visiting all places Austen-related. When Lori Smith talks about Jane or her life, the book is interesting. What was most disappointing to me was that it was more a story of Lori Smith's search for a husband.

I really wanted to like her. I wanted to care. Mostly, I was annoyed at her whiny, martyr-like tone. The "poor-me, I'm-not-married-and-I-really-like-this-guy-I-met-in-Oxford, but-will he-like-me-when-he-sees-me-again" got very old, very fast.

I think that if I were still 29 and unmarried I would have enjoyed this book more. I could have related to the desires of marriage. I do know, however, that I never had the whole "feel sorry for myself" attitude, even though I was single. I think that's what turned me off of this book. It was less about Jane Austen and more about Lori Smith and I just didn't feel much empathy for Lori.

I had to force myself to finish it. The Austen passages are interesting. Just read those and skip over the rest.
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