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A Jane Austen Daydream Paperback – April 2, 2013
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"...Lovely, thought-provoking novel. Fans of Austen will adore this book."
- Lori Nelson Spielman, author of The Life List.
"Southard has taken the facts about the great author and woven them into a credible, touching, and also entertaining portrait of a life."
-Historical Novel Society
About the Author
Scott D. Southard, the author of A Jane Austen Daydream, swears he is not obsessed with Jane Austen. He is also the author of the novels: My Problem with Doors, Megan, Permanent Spring Showers, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, and 3 Days in Rome. With his eclectic writing he has found his way into radio, being the creator of the radio comedy series The Dante Experience. The production was honored with the Golden Headset Award for Best MultiCast Audio and the Silver Ogle Award for Best Fantasy Audio Production. Scott received his Master's in writing from the University of Southern California. Scott can be found on the internet via his writing blog "The Musings & Artful Blunders of Scott D. Southard" (sdsouthard.com) where he writes on far-ranging topics like writing, art, books, TV, writing, parenting, life, movies, and writing. He even shares original fiction on the site. Currently, Scott resides in Michigan with his very understanding wife, his two patient children, and a very opinionated dog named Bronte.
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Top Customer Reviews
"To call this book a biography would be to do a great injustice to biographers everywhere. This book is a work of fiction, only marginally influenced by the facts."
In an interview, he states that little is known of Jane Austen's personal life - mainly due to Cassandra burning her letters and the family members who knew her, painted her as a candidate for sainthood. The author fills in the gaps.
Imagine what it would be like to be `a fly on the wall' in the Steventon rectory in the late eighteen century, or to be a `bee in the bonnet' of Jane Austen. That is what the author tales - the intimate life in the Austen household.
Throughout, the daydream is populated with `look-alike' characters from her books. Mrs. Austen is somewhat like Mrs. Bennet, Cassandra is sweet as Jane Bennet, and of course Jane is like Lizzie. (It is interesting to guess who the real life persons resemble the characters.)
Jane Austen is portrayed as a real person - warts and all! At times she is angry, jealous, bitter, biting but throughout the book she is passionate about her writing and characters.
The author populates his tale from the works of Jane Austen. One character, Mrs. C d B, is not the shrew from Rosings but a character from Emma. There are lines from the dialog that are lifted out of the works. Mrs. Austen gets to say the most famous line, "It is a truth universally...." The treatment of Austen's short engagement to Biggs-Withers is treated differently. Jane herself gets to say, after breaking the engagement and approaching the Biggs mansion, "And of this place, thought Jane, I might have been mistress! ...." Can you catch the other quotes?
The author, in an interview or his blog, says, "I really don't want to ruin any of the surprises...." (And I won't, either.) And there are a few. There is a mysterious stranger. Toward the end of the book, I thought that there would be a winding down of the life of Austen into spinsterhood and then, ZING! I suddenly realize who the mysterious stranger was or is. See if you can.
'A Jane Austen Daydream' is a fictional story based on the life of Jane Austen, although the way it was written made me wish that it was real. I could really empathise with Jane all along - I felt we had a lot in common and I would have loved to have known her.
As I got to the mid-point of the book, I was surprised when a certain character entered the pages of the story and I wondered if this book was really Jane Austen's daydream, or if it was Scott D. Southard's daydream. Perhaps it was both. I've never seen an author make such a hilarious and risky move, but it was brilliant. You'll have to read it to find out what I'm referring to.
As I read this wonderful book, I not only felt captivated by the characters, but also by the art of Scott D. Southard's storytelling. It has inspired me to work harder on improving my own writing so I can tell a story just as well.
One of the best books I've read in a long time. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys Jane Austen novels (or the TV and movie adaptations).
Southard doesn't rely on the great works to develop his characters instead putting in the legwork himself by showing us the characters in action and through the eyes of their community. There is a commonality in the family that flows in a logical fashion. Jane and Cassandra are who they are because Mrs. Austen is who she is. Mr. Austen is stern, as would be appropriate for clergy of the time, but he is caring and kind-hearted and generally wants the best for his children even when they're not looking out for the best for themselves. Mrs. Austen lauds Cassandra for how caring she is but she, herself, mothers the community and knows the goings on in the homes of everyone she comes across because they let her in and want her there. I know a lot of readers out there will scoff seeing that the author is male that he could convey the finer emotions but I can't help but imagine that Southard's representation of what her life might have been life would make even Jane Austen proud.
One of my favorite scenes in the novel comes early when a fortune teller marvels that Austen's lifeline never ends. "It means...that you will never die" (Kindle location 353). This tongue in cheek nod from Southard to his reader shows an acceptance of a great truth. A writers work lives on. Austen herself may have died in 1817 but her work has always been in print and with fans like Southard preserving her memory, she always will be.