Review: Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge


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I’m going to admit something that may not be popular here. As a Jane Austen fan, one of her books I like least is a favorite of many. There’s just something about Sense and Sensibility that has always bothered me. Maybe it’s because Marianne Dashwood seems more flighty than heart-on-her-sleeve to me, or that Elinor and Edward spend so little time together that I never get the feel for their relationship.

Whatever it is, I’m happy that there have been some adaptation of the original story that I have enjoyed reading. And Hillary Manton Lodge’s contemporary take on this classic tale is delightful and engaging.

The cast of characters in Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility create an ensemble that welcomes you in. Told from the perspective of the middle sister (Jane in this book, Marianne Dashwood in the original) gives readers a fresh perspective and for me, it gave the middle sister more substance. The focus on the dynamics between the sisters adds depth to the novel, and the additional stress of a major move adds to the tension.

Moments of heartache and heartbreak are woven with touches of humor when the reader needs it most. Throw in an elderly in-law who speaks her mind; a rescue dog you can’t help but love; references to popular movies, music, and television, and you have a recipe for success.

Speaking of recipes, there are some yummy ones included in this book for the motivated baker to try.

Through Jane’s and retired army major, Callum Beckett’s eyes, readers get a more in-depth, deeper love story than the original (in my opinion). I think Jane Austen would approve.

This is one of those books that deserves multiple readings. At least it will get more than one from me!

My Rating:

Jane of Austin Hilary Manton Lodge

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I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Jane of Austin Hillary Manton LodgeJust a few years after their father’s business scandal shatters their lives, Jane and Celia Woodward find themselves forced out of their San Francisco tea shop. The last thing Jane wants is to leave their beloved shop on Valencia Street, but when Celia insists on a move to Austin, Texas, the sisters pack up their kid sister Margot and Jane’s tea plants, determined to start over yet again.

But life in Austin isn’t all sweet tea and breakfast tacos. Their unusual living situation is challenging and unspoken words begin to fester between Jane and Celia. When Jane meets and falls for up-and-coming musician Sean Willis, the chasm grows deeper.

While Sean seems to charm everyone in his path, one person is immune – retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett. Callum never meant to leave the military, but the twin losses of his father and his left leg have returned him to the place he least expected—Texas.

In this modern spin on the Austen classic, Sense and Sensibility, the Woodward sisters must contend with new ingredients in unfamiliar kitchens, a dash of heartbreak, and the fragile hope that maybe home isn’t so far away.

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