Wednesday, August 09, 2023

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

First Line: Chawton, Hampshire. June 1932. He lay back on the low stone wall, knees pulled up, and stretched his spine against the rock.
The small English village of Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of the world's finest novelists. Just after World War II, Chawton is home to a few distant relatives and their steadily shrinking estate. When the last piece of Austen's legacy is threatened, a group of individuals comes together to preserve both the author's home and her legacy. 
These people couldn't be any more different: a farm laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, the local solicitor, a young maid-of-all-work, a movie star-- yet they are all united in their love for the works and words of Austen. Each person is enduring their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, but they all rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.


Lately, I've been mapping out which books I'll read each month, and I was following my plan faithfully until just recently when The Jane Austen Society surfaced from the hundreds of books on my Kindle and demanded that I read it.

I'm glad I did.

Natalie Jenner's debut novel is a quiet little book, very like the novels of Jane Austen herself, yet it packs a punch (just like Jane's). Only a reader knows how universal the language of literature is and how powerful books can be in uniting and healing people. Many are the times when books and reading have saved me from the abyss, and the same holds true for the characters in Jenner's novel.

The library in the Knights' country house made my jaw drop and my mouth water and I easily put myself in young maid Evie Stone's place each evening as she sneaked inside to be with all those wonderful books. For me, that library was just as important a character as the members of the Jane Austen Society.

This little piece of historical fiction is a must-read for those who love to be drawn into the characters' lives. Although I have to admit that young Evie was my favorite, I felt a part of all their lives. I shared in their joys and their sorrows, and I definitely had my own opinion about what each of them should do.

If you like being drawn into a story and feeling a part of the characters' lives, by all means, you need to pick up a copy of The Jane Austen Society. It was the perfect way for me to spend a couple of summer afternoons.

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
eISBN: 9781250248725
St. Martin's Griffin © 2020
eBook, 320 pages
Historical Fiction, Standalone
Rating: A-
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


  1. I really like this approach to exploring Austen's life and legacy, Cathy. I do like character-driven stories, and that's such an interesting way, too, to celebrate the power of literature. I really want to be in that library, too!

  2. I'm putting this one on my TBR list.

  3. Oooh, I have this to read in my Austen folder on my Kindle. I'm so glad it's delightful.

  4. I'm so glad to read your review of this one. I've been wondering whether or not to put it on my To Read list for this year, or not. And now I know! :D

  5. It's been awhile since I had a reading dose related to Austen. It sounds as though this may be a good candidate for another installment.


Thank you for taking the time to make a comment. I really appreciate it!