Thursday, July 30, 2009
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
From the publisher:
"Many rumors abound about a mysterious gentleman said to be the love of Jane's life-- finally, the truth may have been found..."
From p. 1, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James:
"A workman recently employed to repair the roof of the manor house, in an attempt to trap an errant family of mice, discovered an old seaman's chest bricked up behind a wall in a far corner of the immense, rambling attic. The chest, to the befuddlement of the entire work crew, was filled with what appeared to be old manuscripts..."
My thoughts on the book:
Written as a "true" account of a very private experience for Jane Austen, the reader is given a glimpse into the quiet world of Austen as she finds pleasure in simple family life and reading and writing her beloved novels. Syrie James was successful,I think, in capturing the voice and spirit of Jane Austen, and she was true to known historical facts in Austen's life. The places she lived, family members and events, and the details of her early writing efforts are documented facts and are included in this fictitious memoir. It is a bittersweet story of love and loss, as we all know it must end that way, but it is written in a way that is respectful of the author's integrity.
Given that Jane was a private person and kept her writings mostly for her family's amusement (novels were a new concept and were viewed with disdain), it is perfectly understandable that at some point she gave up on the idea of being a published author when her first efforts at publication resulted in rejection. She felt her works were incomplete and needed revisions.
Enter Mr. Ashford, a man who despite his wealth and status, comes to know and appreciate Jane for all her special qualities and completely supports her writing efforts. As Jane's relationship takes twists and turns, she experiences emotions which will bring new depth and energy to her writings, First Impressions and Sense and Sensibility.
A very good read, poignant with vintage charm, and would work well as a young adult novel -- if I was still in the literature classroom, this would definitely be in my class library. I am looking forward to reading her newest release, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte.
Click here for the author's website and more information about her books. Be sure to visit the photo section that highlights the major places discussed in the book. Very interesting!
Title: The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen
Author: Syrie James