|Sold by:|| Macmillan |
Price set by seller.
Your Memberships & Subscriptions
Follow the Author
The Jane Austen Society: A Novel Kindle Edition
* INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER *
"This novel delivers sweet, smart escapism." —People
"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
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, Natalie Jenner's The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.
"Brilliantly crafted, weaving together the lives of eight people in the most intriguing of ways....There is something utterly calming about The Jane Austen Society." ―Barbara Delinsky, New York Times bestselling author of A Week at the Shore
"Anyone seeking an antidote to contemporary chaos will find a welcome respite among the members of a group whose outer lives may appear simple, but whose inner lives need the kind of balm Austen knew well." ―The Washington Post
"In my opinion, Natalie Jenner’s first novel, The Jane Austen Society, could not have been published at a more appropriate time...it’s a wonderful, magical journey to the end of the book." ―Fredricksburg Freelance-Star
"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)
"Readers who enjoy character-driven novels will want to read this book. Like Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, it’s a must-purchase for libraries of all sizes." ―Library Journal (starred review)
"Delightful... Jenner’s immersive character development is juxtaposed against her study of Austen’s characters, providing clever insight into how the trials of Austen’s life were revealed through her books." ―Publishers Weekly
"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
"I can’t remember the last time I was so utterly charmed by a novel as I am with The Jane Austen Society. Natalie Jenner creates a world populated with characters who come together to preserve Jane Austen’s home in the village of Chawton after WW II. And in so doing she explores love and grief and hope, all while plunging us headfirst into Austen’s words. A celebration of the human spirit and the power of stories, I just love this book!" ―Ann Hood, New York Times bestselling author of Comfort and The Obituary Writer
"Natalie Jenner's lovely debut novel, The Jane Austen Society, is a charming, yet bittersweet tale about the power of literature ― the beloved Jane Austen in particular ― to heal and elevate the human spirit in the aftermath of World War II.” ―Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Only Woman in the Room
"Natalie Jenner's The Jane Austen Society is an extremely impressive debut novel populated with fully-developed, nuanced characters that resonate with the kind of humanity that made Ms. Austen's stories so universal and timeless." ―Mark Sullivan, bestselling author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky
"Fans of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society will adore The Jane Austen Society, which tells the story of an eclectic group of people in a post-World War II English village who come together to save the beloved author's home and legacy. Author Natalie Jenner has penned 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
"The Jane Austen Society is a joyous novel. Written beautifully from the first sentence to the last, Natalie Jenner casts a spell that will have you falling in love with each of her lovingly-drawn characters, with the charming English village in which the story is set, and with Jane Austen herself. I read it straight through, relishing every word and regretting only that it eventually had to end. With tears still in my eyes from the perfect closing scene, I ran to pull a Jane Austen novel from my bookshelf, eager to remain in the magical world Natalie Jenner conjured. In a time where it is so easy to feel we are all at odds with one another, The Jane Austen Society is a beautiful reminder that connection and care are at the heart of the human experience." ―Kim van Alkemade, New York Times bestselling author of Orphan #8 and Bachelor Girl
"Prepare to meet 'three or four families in a country village' who embrace their passion and form a literary society in honor of an author whose enduring appeal, after 200 years, reminds us of what should be paramount in our lives: compassion, love, and reading!! The Jane Austen Society is an uplifting tribute to its inspiration and the nobility of the human spirit. Natalie Jenner could be the next Helen Simonson.” ―Laurel Ann Nattress, editor of Jane Austen Made Me Do It and Austenprose.com
- ASIN : B07WQPPXFW
- Publisher : St. Martin's Press (May 26, 2020)
- Publication date : May 26, 2020
- Language : English
- File size : 3373 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 315 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #73,388 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2020
Reviews with images
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
All lives who seemingly have nothing in common save for the one thing that makes them feel happiest the works and words of Jane Austen…
REVIEW | This is one of the most hyped novels of this, its publication year. Or it is in my circle. As a result, this is one of those go-out-and-preorder-right-away types of books. The concept of this novel is lovely and while I can appreciate certain aspects of the plots and their varied characters, The Jane Austen Society doesn’t captivate me in the way I wanted it to.
The first 5-10 chapters don’t read well because of the various and multiple characters. Some of whom don’t have the role or impact on the story one would assume. The flurry of people, all while trying to remember where and how to place them, plus the various different dates (until the majority of the books settles in the mid-40s) does nothing to help to ground the reader. All this said, as I’m the only one I’ve seen share reservations, I suspect (again!) this is a “me” thing rather than a larger group of readers.
Some of the characters are extremely endearing, and it’s sweet to pull out the ways Jenner pays tribute to Austen (whether by mirroring some of her characters, love stories). ‘Guernsey’ is all kinds of cozy reading for me, so it’s that novel which still holds my heart when it comes to this time of multi-arc storytelling, but those who love Austen-esque fiction are likely to enjoy The Jane Austen Society. It’s something I did want to enjoy, but my reserved feelings while reading it just won’t go away.
Content: F-word (rare, but 2-5) and adult thematic elements (there's an attempted rape/sex; loss of children, husband, the war, homosexuality).
Reading the book was relatively quick and enjoyable. The reviews here seem all over the map as to whether the book started slow and ended fast or vice versa, whether the characters were relatable or not, whether there was too much sex in the book, etc, etc. All in all, I found it balanced and captivating.
As a Jane Austen enthusiast, I loved references to her books and would have been happy with more references. All the descriptions of Chawton were like eating candy for me, such a thrill to read! Having read a lot about the history of Chawton House, including the recent book by a descendent, Caroline Knight, Jane & Me, and also knowing the true history of JAS and JASNA in NA, I was a bit unnerved to see history modified so much yet still maintaining real descriptions of the estate and family history.
Nevertheless, I recommend the book as a very fun read in the canon of surrounding Jane Austen books. I want to retrace the true history of the house during this time, which I've not heavily researched, pertaining to the founding of the Jane Austen Society in 1940 and the purchase of the Jane Austen cottage by a father who lost a son in the war and wanted to leave this as a legacy. Finally, the holy grail of all those first editions in the Chawton library, so special for Janeites was confusing since none of the information in the book was verifiable.
Top reviews from other countries
My big 'however' is that the book was seriously marred for me by jarring americanisms and use of language which would not have been used for another few decades certainly in England. Bearing in mind it is set mostly in England with mostly English characters and about one of the greatest English authors it made me cringe and really detracted from an otherwise excellent book.
For example, one of the characters Adam Berwick is sorting through trash! A cottage they wish to buy could be 'repurposed'. People 'figured out...' 'they were 'sick to their stomach' and carried out 'yard work' not gardening, Apparently teabags were in common use enough just as the war finished for Adeline Grove to make tea from bags.
For the sake of getting an English proof reader the story was spoiled for me and I really wanted to like it.
It is not a bad read, until near the end, when the author seems to be in a rush to sort out her characters' lives and get the book over with.
One thing about this book that I couldn't help finding annoying is that lots of Americanisms pop up when there is no American character in sight. Adeline talks about growing up in a 'town' when she seems to mean a village. At one point the doctor opens a 'holiday card'. I had to go back and read that again before I realised it meant Christmas card. Someone talks about meeting up before 'the holidays' occupy them. In England, people just say 'Christmas'. One of the characters 'visits with' her father (though they live in the same house). Someone else talks about 'yardwork' (aka gardening). An Englishwoman says 'You're not doing that any more though, right?'. This is an American turn of phrase, not one from England in the 1940s.
At one point the author talks of the 'chancery' in a church. I think she meant 'chancel'. She describes someone as 'disinterested' when she seems to mean 'indifferent'.
At other times the language seems not merely un-English, but rather anachronistic. The doctor is described as being 'comfortable in his own skin'.
The other annoying thing was the implausible portrayal of all the main characters: the future doctor, the future lawyer, the son of a modest farmer and the daughter of the local squire, all attending the same little village school. We're talking pre-WW1 England. Very unlikely.
On the whole the author writes well, and the story is not without interest.
But what happened to editors? It used to be their job to pick up issues with language or plot. Don't they exist any more?
When a cultural sight that the celebrated novelist Jane Austen has links to comes under threat, the Jane Austen Society get together to preserve her legacy. Through the trials and tribulations and the lingering presence of the ghosts of the past relationships develop and subsequently become strained. Can a mutual love of Jane Austen bring the characters together.
The Jane Austen Society is a lovely story. At times it can feel a little slow paced but then that fits with the time period. It would seem at odds with the story if the pace was elevated. I think because the story is character that this also impacts on the pacing. I did enjoy reading it though. It was fascinating learning things about Jane Austen and her legacy. You can tell that Natalie Jenner has a deep passion for all things Austen. When a writer lets you feel her passion for a subject it makes the story more enjoyable.
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner is available now.