Thursday, June 25, 2020

BLOG TOUR - The Jane Austen Society

Join the 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. 

  • 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  

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.



Title:   The Jane Austen Society
Author:  Natalie Jenner
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Genre:   Historical Fiction; Austenesque Fiction
Format:  Print ARC
No. of Pages:   320
Date of Publication:   May 26, 2020
My Rating:   5 Stars

This is my first foray into Austensque Fiction, although I am getting an idea of its popularity. Moreso, I have never read a Jane Austen book, despite having a couple of them on my Kindle. This is something that I would like to change very soon.

In this wonderful book by debut author Natalie Jenner, what starts with a slowly formed group of eight people that eventually come together to protect a home and items that were connected to Jane Austen. It begins in 1932, Chawton, Hampshire, and a woman wants to see the home of writer Jane Austen. This is nothing new, as the writer gained incredible popularity at the time and people just wanted to get as close to her in any way possible. The story moves ahead to 1943 and beyond as we start to meet the various characters.

Meanwhile, one by one, an interesting group of people begin to be introduced to the story, a general laborer, a widow, a maid and and actress, among others. Different story lines begin to be formed. Although not familiar with Austen's work, I am very familiar with her name, so it was very easy to see how people at that time were just about close enough to touch the fringes of her life.

One thing really enjoyable about this book is the men whose lives were affected by Austen's work and how they became part of the Jane Austen Society. There were other very nice elements to this story as well, and these included the touch of romance, the erstwhile efforts of a young housekeeper carefully cataloged an incredible number of books and while doing revealed some long-hidden secrets about the incredible writer. 

The original group of people who decided to create the society could not have been more different than one another, but their intense love for Jane Austen proved to be all that was needed to give them a common ground that could not be denied. How the author created these characters and made them so very real was absolutely fantastic. 

So now it is up to me to get into the minds of the characters - and the impressive debut author Natalie Jenner - by settling down one day and read the books written by Jane Austen. Although the book was entirely fictional, it came across as very realistic because the love for Jane Austen felt so very real.

Many thanks to Austenprose for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

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:


“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 link here. 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.