I so wanted to enjoy this The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. I mean, ever since I saw it and ordered it, I believed this book was a perfect match for me. It wasn’t bad, not at all, but something was missing despite the lovely theme and setting.
He could disappear inside that world whenever he needed to—whenever he felt the outside world, and other people, pressing in on him…
This was author Natalie Jenner’s first published novel and from that perspective this was a great debut. Anyone who is a fan of Jane Austen, and brings it up in new creative works has my respect. 🙂 . I’ve been a Jane Austen fan as long as I can remember, and Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books ever (the best tv adaptation of that is the 1995 version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle ❤ ).
The Jane Austen Society is a historical novel, set after World War Two and in the village of Chawton where Jane Austen lived. We focus on the lives of some of the villagers who are all, in their own ways, Jane Austen fans and want to have a place where the author could be remembered. So with this joint interest, the characters get to know each other and we get to know them and all their problems. Obviously there’s so much to go through in the post-war time and the war has left different scars and ghosts in people’s lives.
So far so good: historical novels are my thing, complicated relationships also, and all the Jane Austen details and references. It sounds so good, so promising! And sometimes it was. Some of the character stories are more interesting than the others, which is natural. But I couldn’t escape the feeling of something missing, some spark between the different relationships. Or perhaps the pace of the book was too slow. At times I wanted to skip ahead, so something was missing to really hold my full attention, unfortunately. Still, overall I have nothing really bad to say about the book and I did finish it. I did appreciate that true to Jane Austen style, the relationships had some very surprising moments for the characters (if not for the reader). 🙂
For a first novel, this book is very impressive for sure. I hope Natalie Jenner will keep on writing and I’m looking forward to what she might be writing next.
The Jane Austen Society fills these prompts from the two Reading Challenges I’m doing this year:
A historical novel (Helmet Reading Challenge)
A book from your TBR list you meant to read last year but didn’t (Popsugar Reading Challenge)