Thursday, June 11, 2020

THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY by Natalie M. Jenner. #BlogTour and Review

Deb here, and I'm participating in this virtual online book tour of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, Natalie Jenner’s highly acclaimed debut novel May 25 through June 30, 2020. Seventy-five popular blogs and websites specializing in historical fiction, historical romance, women’s fiction, and Austenesque fiction will feature interviews and reviews of this post-WWII novel set in Chawton, England.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: 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.

I had the pleasure of listening to the audiobook as provided by the publisher! And what an audiobook!

The full unabridged text of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY was read by the distinguished English film, television, theatre and voice actor Richard Armitage for the audiobook recording. Best known by many period drama fans for his outstanding performance as John Thornton in the BBC television adaptation of North and South (2004), Armitage also portrayed Thorin Oakenshield in Peter Jackson's film trilogy adaptation of The Hobbit (2012 – 2014).
Link to YouTube audiobook excerpt:

Here's my review:
I think the cover of The Jane Austen Society is a perfect preface for what to expect from this gentle story. Perhaps it’s the rapid loss of The Greatest Generation, but stories set during the period between WW1 and the 1950s draw a lot of interest. While certainly full of issues, maybe we think there was a bit more to admire about an era where ‘ladies’ and ‘gentlemen’ wore hats and gloves for a trip into town.

As you’d expect, Natalie Jenner’s debut novel immerses the reader in an England after the war, as we meet the cast of characters perfectly drawn as a fictional ‘team’ determined to celebrate and save a hint of Chawton village Jane Austen would have recognized, and to promote what she brought to the literary world.

The story takes time. Don’t expect to rush through it. Expect instead to be reminded of how pain and loss can be overcome with time, and how the support of good people helps. Along the way, you’ll enjoy how devotees of Austen’s stories found relevance in their own lives. You don’t have to be familiar with the novels, but it certainly enhances the enjoyment.

If there wasn’t change or conflict, we wouldn’t have much of a story, so you won’t like all the characters. One pair in particular are a little rough (language alert), and one heartbreaking event occurs. But doesn’t that make it all the better as the story ends in a very satisfying manner? People grow and mature, heal and find their way with proper nurturing. A good lesson right now.

I received the audiobook from the publisher, so, while I might not read the physical book a second time, I know I’ll listen to it again. And maybe again over the years. Even if I didn’t know who Richard Armitage is, I’d give his narration a full thumbs up.

Overall, consider The Jane Austen Society as the perfect rainy weekend read. 

Note: Book is for the general market and is not Christian Fiction.

“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)

“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

“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

Spotify users can access a playlist for THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY at the following link: The playlist includes music from various film adaptions of Jane Austen’s books, as well as film scores by such incomparable artists as Hans Zimmer, Ennio Morricone, Rachel Portman, and Michael Nyman.
Natalie Jenner is the debut author of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, a fictional telling of the start of the society in the 1940s in the village of Chawton, where Austen wrote or revised her major works. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie graduated from the University of Toronto with degrees in English Literature and Law and has worked for decades in the legal industry. She recently founded the independent bookstore Archetype Books in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.

May 25 Jane Austen's World
May 25 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog
May 26 Frolic Media
May 26 A Bookish Affair
May 26 Courtney Reads Romance
May 26 Margie's Must Reads
May 26 The Reading Frenzy
May 27 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina
May 27 Gwendalyn's Books
May 27 Romantically Inclined Reviews
May 28 Getting Your Read On
May 28 Living Read Girl
May 28 The Lit Bitch
May 29 History Lizzie
May 29 Silver Petticoat Reviews

May 30 Cup of Tea with that Book, Please
May 30 Historical Fiction Reader
May 31 Jane Austen in Vermont
June 01 From Pemberley to Milton
June 01 My Jane Austen Book Club
June 01 AustenBlog
June 02 Lu's Reviews
June 02 The Green Mockingbird
June 03 The Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
June 03 Relz Reviews
June 03 Impressions in Ink
June 04 The Caffeinated Bibliophile
June 04 Life of Literature
June 04 Laura's Reviews
June 05 Reading Ladies Book Club
June 05 Bookish Rantings
June 06 From the TBR Pile
June 07 Rachel Dodge
June 07 An Historian About Town
June 08 Bringing up Books
June 08 Austenesque Review
June 09 Captivated Readin
June 09 Savvy Verse and Witt
June 10 Lady with a Quill
June 10 Drunk Austen
June 11 Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
June 11 Inkwell Inspirations
June 12 Nurse Bookie
June 12 A Bookish Way of Life
June 13 Calico Critic
June 14 Jane Austen's World
June 15 Stuck in a Book
June 15 Storybook Reviews
June 15 Confessions of a Book Addict
June 16 Literary Quicksand
June 16 Becky on Books
June 17 The Reading Frenzy
June 17 Anita Loves Books
June 18 Chicks, Rogues, and Scandals
June 18 The Write Review
June 19 Diary of Eccentric
June 20 Cracking the Cover
June 21 Short Books & Scribes
June 22 Reading the Past
June 22 Babblings of a Bookworm
June 23 My Vices and Weaknesses
June 23 The Book Diva Reads
June 24 Books, Teacups & Reviews
June 24 Wishful Endings
June 25 Robin Loves Reading
June 25 Bookfoolery
June 26 Lit and Life
June 26 Vesper's Place
June 27 Foxes and Fairy Tales
June 28 Probably at the Library
June 28 Scuffed Slippers Wormy Books
June 29 The Anglophile Channel
June 29 So Little Time…
June 30 BookNAround

· An Amazon Best Book of May 2020
· One of Goodreads Big Books of Spring & Hot Books of Summer
· One of Audible’s Top 50 Most Anticipated Spring Audiobooks
· June 2020 Indie Next Pick
· May 2020 Library Reads Pick
· Starred Review - Library Journal
· Starred Review - Booklist

**and kudos to Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose Blog for organizing this amazing blog tour!

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