All her heroines find love in the end - but is there love waiting for Jane?
Jane Austen spends her days writing and matchmaking in the small countryside village of Steventon, until a ball at Godmersham Park propels her into a new world where she yearns for a romance of her own. But whether her heart will settle on a young lawyer, a clever Reverend, a wealthy childhood friend, or a mysterious stranger is anyone's guess.
The novel, created in the style of Jane herself, ponders the question faced by many devoted followers over the years - did she ever find love? Weaving fact with fiction, it re-imagines her life, using her own stories to fill in the gaps left by history and showing that all of us - to a greater or lesser degree - are head over heels for Jane.
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A Smart and Fun Tale.
- 1-Click Junkie
Fabulous Jane Austen tale mixed with her own words
A Jane Austen Daydream by Scott Southard is by far the best Jane Austen "fan fiction" I've ever read or listened to. Reminiscent of the movie Becoming Jane starring Anne Hathaway from several years ago, this book is a loose biographical portrait of a pre-fame Jane Austen. Unlike that movie, Jane's "romance" with a young Irishman is only the first of several suitors and Tom Lafoy never regards Jane as anything more than a friend. Two other potential suitors for Jane - an arrogant pastor and a wealthy childhood friend - ask her to marry to them, neither of whom Jane holds much affection. Then one day while walking in Bath, Jane meets an American writer who is traveling in England with his brother's theater troupe. The conversation between them is immediately very comfortable, natural and spontaneous. It's as if they are kindred spirits.
Scott Southard does a marvelous job of weaving facts from Jane's real life (living in the small countryside village of Steventon) with fiction from her stories that we've grown to love and cherish. For example, three years after Jane's father refuses to give his consent to the American for her hand in marriage, Jane breaks down in front of her sister Cassandra telling her how heartbroken she's been over the years, which is almost identical to the colloquy between Eleanor and Marianne in Sense and Sensibility when she finds out that Edward is engaged. Another example is how Jane's mother is almost identical to Mrs. Bennett in mannerism (very much into gossip and one goal in mind - to marry off her daughters) and temperament (extremely excitable and "over the top"). I laughed out loud when I heard Cassandra tell Jane that she should publish her books as "Anonymous" because her brothers and mother all recognized themselves in her books and what would the neighbors think of such insights into their personal lives? Thankfully, Jane gets her happy ending in A Jane Austen Daydream, unlike her real life where she died a spinster at the age of 42.
I listened to the Audible version of this story narrated by Louisa Gummer who did a great job. Despite clocking in at almost 12 hours, she maintained different and consistent voices for all characters. Her narration definitely contributed to my enjoyment of this book. I received a copy of this audio book for free in exchange for an honest unbiased review.