There is an entire library of books in the world, simply waiting for the eager reader to crack open their pages. From adventures in frozen, enchanted lands to contemporary romances with swoony cowboys, the stories on those shelves is endless.
Among these books are works of fiction that delight their target reader, ready to take them on an adventure. Some of the books we discover are entertaining but sometimes forgettable. Others work their way into our hearts with classic storytelling, and others still stay with us. Perhaps rarer still are the books that remain with us for reasons we can’t explain. Such is the case with one of my recent reads, Hillary Manton Lodge’s, Jane of Austin.
“Every woman swoons over a man walking out of a lake in a white shirt. It’s a universal truth.” – Hillary Manton Lodge
The latest from the talented pen of Lodge is a loose contemporary re-telling of Jane Austen’s, Sense & Sensibility. It’s one I’ve gushed about aplenty on my various social media outlets, but I couldn’t help the opportunity to do so again. The effortless story and prose keep the flow rapidly moving forward as we approach the end of these iconic characters’ stories. Though it’s all familiar, this story gives its reader a new lease on this tale, and perhaps most importantly these characters.
Below I’m sharing six of the reasons you absolutely, 100% must add Jane of Austin to your TBR.
6 Reasons Hillary Manton Lodge’s Jane of Austin Should be on Your Must-Read ASAP List
#1 The Inspiration
This goes without saying, but since this one is inspired by an Austen classic, fans of Austen should give this one a second glance.
#2 The Storytelling
It’s a universal truth that there are a few issues from Austen’s stories that are no longer 21st century relevant. With intelligence, the author manages to piece together the same sort of catalysts (events that catapult our heroines into change) without making the relevance (of Austen’s days) irrelevant. Plus, the writing is stunning and so swoony.
#3 The Recipes
One of Lodge’s signatures is the addition of recipes and baking. She created yummy concoctions in her Two Blue Doors trilogy (which is also amazing) and carries this theme into Jane of Austin. Between the recipes that are tucked in-between chapters, you might also find Jane’s unique tea leaf combinations interesting!
#4 The Audio
Ordinarily, I don’t use audio books. However, since my week was busier and I read Jane of Austin as a read-along, I decided the audio option might be helpful. Oh, my stars! The audio version adds so much context to this story. It’s a wonderful rendition that brightens the “voices” of these characters in what’s already a brilliant text.
#5 The Cover Art
Okay, so maybe this one is a bit superficial, but seriously. This cover is absolutely stunning, and it’s even more so in person. The design works so well with the story plus I’m one of those readers who has to have it on my shelf… because it’s PRETTY!
#6 The Characters
Last but not least, let’s talk about these characters. They’re all memorable in their own way. Unlike Austen’s story, this isolates (nearly) everyone to better understand Jane aka Marianne Dashwood. It’s her first person narrative we mostly stick with though we do get to know Captain Callum Beckett aka Col. Brandon. Then there’s Margot (Margaret); Celia (Elinor); and Teddy (Edward), plus any number of the familiar quirky characters we love.
These characters work their way into our hearts where they remain. I adore that Jane is still a sassy heroine whose overt romanticism gets a reality check. Celia’s sensible self stays lovely, and yet she’s somehow different from the Elinor we love. Then there’s Margot, whose delightful teenage self translates to our modern world the best.
Have you read any of Hillary’s earlier novels? Do you like contemporary fiction or Austen re-tellings? Let me know about your favorites! I’d love to chat with you.