Monday, February 24, 2020
The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
Being a fairly avid Jane Austen fan, I fairly salivated when seeing this title. Assuming the story would mirror the wit and craft of the book's namesake, I eagerly tucked into the book as one would a long anticipated banquet.
Things started out quite beautifully in the village in which Austen had lived. An American tourist searching out the novelist's home and being assisted by a friendly local. One wondered where that thread might lead. As each character is introduced, readers get a hint of a parallel Austin character and will wonder which of the novelist's storylines is playing out in a contemporary setting.
One thing I have appreciated about Austin is that even the nasty characters have a certain amount of decorum and one can read the books without being assaulted with vulgar language or graphic detail of exploits. Upon encountering a cohabitating couple, I was sorely tempted to chuck the book. The obligation to complete a review was the only reason I carried on until the end. And by the time I'd finished, my disappointment had turned to sadness as the book closed on a very un-Austin like note.
I had some nigglings as the book went along with the characterization of a couple characters and their lifestyles. But given their minor role in the story, I plodded on only to be completely blindsided when the book concluded with the final "pairings." I felt as though I'd witnessed the vandalization of a work of art. Sorry, this is one book I will not be recommending.
Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of The Jane Austen Society from NetGalley for the purpose of review. No other compensation was received and the views expressed are my own.