#BookReview : Flying Solo by Zoe May #FlyingSolo #romcom @rararesources @zoe_writes

Hello Readers! I’m excited to share my review of Flying Solo by Zoe May as part of blog tour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources. Many thanks to Rachel for tour invite and author for providing review copy.

Flying Solo by Zoe May
Publication Date :  6th July 2020
Genre : Romantic Comedy
Pages : 250

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Rachel Watson has it all worked out. By 30, she’s ticked off most of the goals on her Life List. She’s a homeowner, a partner at her law firm, she has a gorgeous boyfriend, lots of hobbies and loads of good friends. The only thing that’s missing is a ring on her finger.

According to her Life List, Rachel should be getting hitched around now, so when her boyfriend, Paul, plans a romantic date, Rachel’s pretty confident he’s going to propose. Except Paul has other ideas. He’s jetting off to India to find himself.

Distraught, Rachel doesn’t know what to do. Not one to easily admit defeat, she embarks on a mission to win him back.

Flying solo to India is definitely not on Rachel’s Life List, but could her trip teach her some unexpected lessons about love, life and herself? Could she realise that perhaps her Life List wasn’t exactly what she wanted, after all?

Other books I read by the same author:

Perfect Match

When Polly Met Olly

Flying Solo was delightful romantic comedy that revolved around Rachel’s unplanned trip to Indian ashram. It was about realizing life is better unplanned, finding yourself and true happiness, and finding love at unexpected places at unexpected time.

Writing, like previous books, was entertaining and fun with beautiful setting of Indian ashram in Bangalore. It was first person narrative from Rachel’s POV that made book refreshing and light-hearted.

It started with Rachel expecting to be proposed after 6 years of relationship with her boyfriend, Paul. She planned her whole life, checked all boxes of life list within time period she had set, but getting engaged and hitched. What she didn’t plan/expect was flying to other side of the world. Paul broke up with her on the night she expected him to propose her, packed his bag and gone to some random ashram in India. She couldn’t let go of this long time relationship, she thought this is Paul’s midlife crisis, she could change his mind and win him back. And so started her unplanned adventure in India. I was excited to find out what she would experience in India, how she would adjust to different life style of Ashram, could she win Paul back, what would she learn from this experience and how it would change her.

What I didn’t predict was Paul behavior when he saw Rachel at ashram, his new competitive girlfriend, and how attracted Rachel felt towards a handsome Canadian neighbor in ashram who vowed celibacy. But it all turned out really entertaining and dramatic.

All characters were fun to read. Rachel was lovely throughout the book. She was workaholic, home furnishing obsessed who had her Life List with timeline but she had reason for all that. Her childhood story was realistic and I could see why she was the way she was. At first I didn’t like how she was behaving, taking everything as joke and I couldn’t  believe how she didn’t talk about ashram with her Indian friend before on her way to airport, she had no idea what she was going to find there. But I liked how she tried everything in ashram even though she was skeptic, didn’t believe in meditation or spirituality and how she had her own opinion, kept open mind, and enjoyed her stay.

Her development was great. She got over her break up, made friends, found some shocking things about ashram, and found love. At heart she was nice and lovely and knew her elements, learned that life was better unplanned, keep hobby enjoyable rather than obsess over it, there is nothing wrong in being workaholic but it’s also important to enjoy life, go with the flow, step out of comfort zone, and experience knew thing.

Paul was total jerk. It was unbelievable how he suddenly decided to leave without discussing his decision with her like 6 years of relationship was nothing to him and then disrespecting it by latching on new girl and making Rachel feel bad about how she lived and what she did. Seb was cute. He was friendly and lovely guy and I liked his story. I loved Meera and Priya for how friendly they were and how they helped Rachel.

This is not just romance book, in fact there is very little romance and more about Rachel’s new experience and development. Both Rachel and Seb felt spark, supported each other, and spent time knowing other as best as they could, and we don’t know if there was happily ever after till the end, which I felt was good thing.

What I loved most was seeing India from non-Indian’s eyes. Some titbits about India were real and funny.  Rachel’s thoughts and experience after setting foot in India was hilarious. I laughed at her appalled look on seeing Indian toilet and her room in ashram, and most epic was what she packed in her suit case. Who brings dildo to ashram! Most hilarious scene was Spirit Animal Workshop.

I’m not a fan of Ashram but I liked how author added another layer to story by showing reality behind ashrmas and gurus. What Rachel found about it was not shocking for me as I know these things really happen in some ashrams. I agreed with what she thoughts, how crazily people follow scamming Gurus, throw their logics out of window and make it easy for such scammers to take advantage.

Climax was great with Rachel finding reality of Ashram, her new case, what happened to Paul, and lovely date. End was fun. I liked that end conversations and Rachel’s decision.

Why 4 stars-

I wanted a bit more at the end. An epilogue telling what happened to case or if romance lasted or how long it took for them to get together would have been great.

Overall,

Flying Solo was entertaining, dramatic and lovely romcom with amazing setting and some hilarious scenes. If you are looking for light-hearted, entertaining read that make you laugh, I highly recommend this.

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B082K48FX8/

US  – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B082K48FX8/

Author Bio:

Zoe May is an author of romantic comedies. Zoe has dreamt of being a novelist since she was a teenager. She worked in journalism and copywriting in London before writing her debut novel, Perfect Match. Having experienced the London dating scene first hand, Zoe could not resist writing a novel about dating, since it seems to supply endless amounts of weird and wonderful material!

Perfect Match was one of Apple’s top-selling books of 2018. It was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award, with judges describing it as ‘a laugh out loud look at love and self-discovery – fresh and very funny’.

As well as writing, Zoe enjoys walking her dog, painting and, of course, reading! She adores animals and if she’s not taking a photo of a vegan meal, she’s probably tweeting about the dairy industry. She is half Greek and half Irish and can make a mean baklava. Zoe has a thing for horror films, India, swimming, hip hop and Radiohead. She has an encyclopaedic knowledge of handbags having spent several years working in fashion copywriting and could probably win Mastermind if this was her specialist subject!

Zoe loves to hear from readers, you can contact her on Twitter and Instagram at: @zoe_writes. Zoe’s Facebook page is: http://www.facebook.com/zoemayauthor/

She posts updates and blogs on her website, http://www.zoemayauthor.co.uk

Social Media Links : Twitter | Instagram | Facebook


I hope you enjoyed this review. Let me know what do you think about the book, if you have read this already or any books by the same author. Which is your favorite book set in India.

Happy Reading!

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#BookReview : Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust #GirlSerpentThorn @HodderBooks

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Expected publication : July 7th 2020
Publisher : Flatiron Books
Genre : Fantasy
Pages : 336

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to publisher. ***

Girl, Serpent, Thorn was amazing fantasy based on Persian mythology that revolved around cursed princess and her efforts of trying to free herself from curse. It was about good vs evil, choices and its consequences, accepting flaws than fearing it, finding beauty in imperfections, family, loyalty, love, and betrayal.

Writing was flawless, compelling and magical. It was written in third person narrative told from Soraya’s perspective. There was fabulous world building, interesting and mysterious character and gradual character development with a little bit romance.

Stories always begin the same way: There was and there was not. There is possibility in those words, the chance for hope or despair.


As soon as I started reading this book, I knew I’m going to like this. The beginning was fantastic. A mother telling her daughter a story about a girl how she was cursed by a demon and birthed a princess with poison in her blood, a curse, whoever she touch will die. But it was not just story but reality of Soraya. Approaching marriage of her brother, a demon imprisoned in dungeon who might help in finding answers about her curse, and a boy who was not afraid of her curse, ready to help and understood her more than her family, put her in situation she never imagined she would found herself in and couldn’t come out of it without putting her family in danger. Her one question started a untoward chain reaction. It was interesting find out who was that boy, if demon will help her or not, how she would free herself from curse and save her family.

I loved this concept of girl alone in her room and garden craving for touch and love, deceived by a demon and found help from another demon to right the wrong she did, and save her family. Cover and title was perfect and made more sense after reading the book.

Lot of things happened in first half that described world, Soraya’s story, about her family and Golvahar, lies she discovered and range of emotions she felt in trying to get rid of her curse. Some things I could see coming like- Demon in prison was mysterious, she was keeping some secrets but I could see spark of relationship between them which we don’t see igniting until second half of the book. And mainly I knew, that new boy looked too good to be true. Something was off about him, no matter how convenient he sounded, and I feared for Soraya. I knew she was putting her faith in wrong place but I was curious to see what that boy wanted and when he would show his true color. When he did, I must say I was surprised. I didn’t expect what was revealed and I was not sure what would happen next. Second half was all about Soraya’s development, her conflicts, knowing love for first time, and many twists and turns.

Soraya was great. Usually when heroine shows weakness and self-doubt in half of the book, I get frustrated but here it felt right and real. Even though she was most powerful in realm, most deadly person, she felt low and fearful. She didn’t see her curse as untouchable power but a poison, and she feared for herself, for her family and people who might come near her. Her fear made her weak, small, and yielding. But hope of getting rid of this poison, crave for human touch, companionship, happiness and her family’s love was too strong that made her want to change that about her. When she faced worst consequences of her wish and choices, we see how misguided she was. I felt for her at this point. I couldn’t help but put myself in her situation and from what she discovered, her actions made sense. Her intentions were selfish but felt genuine. I loved the way she learned her lessons, kept fighting for her family even though she heard worst things from them for her mistakes, and how she found a way to make things right. Her guilt, anger, self-doubt, determination, a new experience of touch and love, it was all written perfectly.

“I’m not afraid of you,” Soraya whispered. Parvaneh’s eyes sparkled, not with usual mockery, but with something like hunger. “Of course not,” Pervaneh said. “You could kill me with a single touch. Why should you ever be afraid of anyone?” She peered closed, tilting her head. “No, it’s only yourself that you fear.”

All secondary characters specially Azad and Parvaneh were interesting and mysterious. I couldn’t tell whom should I trust and whom should not until second half of the book. They were all keeping secrets, told lies and will betray to achieve what they wanted.

World was best part of the book. All elements were well explored. There were maze of secret passages of Golvahar palace and Soraya’s beautiful rose garden, Persian terminology, different types of demons, their appearance and power, legends and stories, mythical creature, and spellbinding forest and mountain of demons. It was fascinating to read how author created world inspired by ancient Persia and its folklore. It all made more sense in author’s note.

F/F relationship was lovely in second half. It was for a short while but worked as breather in this tense and fast paced plot. Trust issues along with tension to save family made it interesting to see how they will confess their feelings to each other and when that moment came, I couldn’t help but smile ear to ear.

Climax was brilliant. With a surprising discovery, an emotional twist, and tense situation that left me without any hope. Even one last effort by Soraya didn’t work but then that magical effect and all that happened till the end was amazingly thrilling and exhilarating. End was perfect. My only complaint was I didn’t want it to end. I want more stories in this world.

Overall,

Girl, Serpent, Thorn was fast pace and fabulous #fantasy with magical world based on #PersianMythology, and mysterious and interesting characters.

Books Links : Goodreads Amazon

Affiliate Link : Book Depository


I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about my review and this book, if you have read it already or are you going to add it to TBR. Which different mythologies have you read in books so far?

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#BookReview : Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli @PRHGlobal #SayYesSummer #YA #Contemporary

Say Yes Summer by Lindsey Roth Culli
Publication Date : May 12th 2020
Publisher : Delacorte Press
Genre : YA Contemporary
Pages : 256

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Perfect for fans of Morgan Matson and Netflix/Hallmark Channel rom-coms, this is the story of a girl who decides to give in to the universe and just say yes to everything, bringing her friendship, new experiences, and, if she lets her guard down, true love.

The perfect book to kick off summer! For as long as Rachel Brooks can remember, she’s had capital-G Goals: straight As, academic scholarship, college of her dreams. And it’s all paid off–after years of following the rules and acing every exam, Rachel is graduating at the top of her class and ready to celebrate by . . . doing absolutely nothing. Because Rachel Brooks has spent most of high school saying no. No to dances, no to parties, and most especially, no to boys.

Now, for the first time in her life, there’s nothing stopping Rachel from having a little fun–nothing, that is, except herself. So when she stumbles on a beat up old self-help book–A SEASON OF YES!–a crazy idea pops into her head: What if she just said yes to . . . everything?

And so begins a summer of yes. Yes to new experiences and big mistakes, yes to rekindled friendships and unexpected romances, yes to seeing the world in a whole new way. This book is a fresh and fun take on the coming-of-age novel that explores the quintessential themes of growing up: taking risks, making mistakes, and, of course, love. And who knows? Lindsey Roth Culli’s hilarious and heartwarming debut may just inspire your own SAY YES SUMMER. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

Say Yes Summer was cute and fluffy YA Contemporary, a coming of age story of Rachel and her summer of saying yes to everything. It was about pros and cons of saying Yes or No that comes with opportunity cost, experiencing the world for the first time, friendship, family, and love.

Writing was simple, easy, and entertaining. It was super-fast paced, I finished this book within a day, which rarely happens with me.  It was first person narrative from Rachel’s perspective that made me understand her feelings and how she was seeing the world and experienced her summer adventure. Setting of Michigan and all beautiful touristy beach, Kalamazoo lake, Lake Michigan, Mt Baldhead and Rachel’s parents’ new venture cream cart and ice-cream gondolas (yum yum) gave the story whole summery vibe.

Plot was simple that started with Rachel suddenly realizing she missed out so much in four years of high school by saying No to everything except studies. Now she felt nobody knew her, she successfully made herself invisible and boring and now she wanted to change that. When she found her grandma’s self-help book ‘The Freedom to Say Yes’, she got idea of saying yes to everything and fully enjoy this summer. In doing so, she experienced many good things but also messed up lot of things.

It was interesting to read how Rachel came out of her shell, overcame her fears, rekindled friendship, found lovers, learned many things specially what it’s like to be free and live out in real world. It was pretty simple plot, I knew how this was going to end but at the same time it was cute and lovely to read Rachel’s summer adventure.

“I think balance is the key to finding out what you really, actually want. Not just what you’re forcing yourself to say yes to.”

I loved all characters specially Rachel. She was smart, caring and lovely person. We see her thoughts towards her classmates and friends, how she saw them through their social media life and gossips she heard but not by knowing and interacting with them in real but as soon as she started interacting with them, she learned how wrong and judgmental she was, how much she blocked out reality and picturized them how she wanted to see them. It was bit weird to see she was observing Clayton so much that she could tell what was going on in his life but at the same time she literally didn’t know what Miles felt whom she knew in real for her whole life both in school and at job at her parents’ restaurant. She was wrong about lot of things and I liked how she realized that. Her development was best part in the book.

Clayton was popular guy, Westfield’s Soccer star and so very handsome but he was nothing like those famous boys who act like they own the world. He was lovely, kind, and gentle soul. Rachel thought he was perfect guy but in reality he was normal human who had his own issues. I loved him for being true and real all the time, even when Rachel messed things.

Miles was Rachel’s childhood friend and worked at her parent’s restaurant. He too was going through his own issue, trying to get over grief and loss. He was not bad. I knew he liked her. I felt for this guy and his reaction to both loss and feeling for Rachel was genuine but still I wasn’t completely at his side.

Carrie was my favorite secondary character. She was wise and smart and lovely girl. I liked the way she helped Rachel and how they sorted their problems. Bethany and Rouxi, her family and Nona were also great.

Love triangle and dating two boys at same time didn’t work that long. Romance and two-timing was wrapped pretty soon. But there were cute moments that made me smile and I liked how they knew each other better in this short relationships.

I liked message in the book given through Rachel’s development- not judging people based on what they show out to the world, even popular girls and boys have their problem and behind all their fame they are normal human being; it’s never easy for anyone to be out in the world and experiencing the real world and life; even best laid plans can go wrong; it’s okay and to mess things but important to not to hurt anyone’s feeling and make things right later; going out of comfort zone is good but also should stay true to yourself; and most importantly it’s okay to say NO.

“Every choice has embedded within it an opportunity cost. Saying yes isn’t free. When you said no to parties and to boys, you were saying yes to your family, and to your friends, and to your responsibilities. And sometimes that- learning when to say no and especially what to say no to- is just as important.”

Climax was filled with lots of drama with boys and then with family. But then Nonna’s wisdom made Rachel gather all courage and make things right by apologizing for her royal mess. End was lovely with packing, time with friends and surprise gift from family and Rachel finding her love.

Why 4 stars-

It’s not like I don’t like love triangle but what makes me not so inclined for love triangle stories is protagonist always going with a boy I don’t like as much as I like the other boy. And that’s what happened here! And another reason was, I have read/seen something like this before. It sounded a bit clichéd and predictable.

Overall,

Say Yes Summer was fluffy, feel good, enjoyable, cute and coming of age YA contemporary with lovable characters. I recommend this to fan of this genre.

Books Links : Goodreads | Amazon

Affiliate Link : Book Depository


I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about my review and this book, if you have read it already or going to add to TBR. What are your favorite fluffy contemporaries?

Happy Reading!

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#BookReview : Episodic Sleep Disorders by E.L. Haines #Mystery #EpisodicSleepDisorders

Episodic Sleep Disorders by E.L. Haines
Publication Date : June 3rd 2019
Genre : Mystery
Pages : 119

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Beware, beware, the beast of Lozère!
Who lurks in your dreams, and knows how to scare
You will freeze at the sight of strange dancing at night
And the dead, in their coffins, still stare.

A menacing wolf is terrorizing the village of Lozère. A beautiful young girl has lost her family and her best friend to this nightmare when Sparrow shows up with his characteristic curiosity. But all is not as it seems in this cold mountain village, where the beasts are like men and the men are like beasts.

Sparrow came to Lozère to tell stories, but he stayed for the stories Lozère told him…

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thank to author for review copy. ***

Episodic Sleep Disorders was unusual mystery that revolved around Sparrow, a storyteller, trying to uncover the mysteries of Lozère village and its people. It was interesting blend of folk tales and scientific elements set in fictional village filled with imagination and allusions.

Episodic Sleep Disorders started with Sparrow, traveler and storyteller, meeting Reynard at his campsite. Sparrow wanted to visit Lozère next but his new companion hinted there’s something dark about this village and it gives nightmare. When Sparrow visited Lozère, he knew Reynard was telling the truth. Lozère had a feel of ghost town, no sounds, no activities shrouded in eerie silence and he witness an unusual events at graveyard that picked his interest. He wanted to know story of this village and its people, to uncover what happened here. The more he knew the more darkness he discovered that might endanger his life.  I was curious to know why people were having hallucination, what was the story of wolf was and how Sparrow would save himself and the village from twisted scheme of perpetrator.

Writing was easy to follow, vivid, and gripping. Story was written in episodes instead of chapters that told the story within story and each ended with cliffhanger that made me keep flipping pages. I liked the switch between Sparrow’s visit to Lozère, story about it and his retelling and conversations with Reynard. There was some interesting myths and scientific details- Anomic Aphasia, taphophobia and phytology and Zymology- incorporated with mystery.

Suspense of villager’s behavior, unseen beast was interesting. I couldn’t figure it out until its revelation. Climax was both tense and entertaining. I was impressed by Sparrow’s smart trick and clever escape. End was shocking and also open to interpretation for reader using their imagination.

Why 4 stars-

My only complaint was it was bit confusing at some points.

Overall,

Episodic Sleep Disorders was quick, intriguing, dark mystery with vivid description and eerie setting. I recommend this book to fans of short stories.

Book Links:

Goodreads | Amazon


I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about the book and review, if you have read it already or are you going to add it to TBR. Do you like to read short stories? Which is your favorite short story?

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#BookReview : The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner #TheJaneAustenSociety #HistoricalFiction

Hello readers! I’m excited to be part of virtual online book tour of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, Natalie Jenner’s highly acclaimed debut novel and to be one of the Seventy-five popular blogs and websites participating in this biggest tour. Check out book details and my reviews of this historical fiction novel in this post. Many thanks to Laurel @austenprose for tour invite and publisher providing review copy.

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
Publication Date : May 26th 2020
Publisher : St. Martin’s Press
Genre : Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, General Fiction, Austenesque
Pages : 320

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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.

ACCOLADES:

  • 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 

AUDIOBOOK NARRATED BY ACTOR RICHARD ARMITAGE:

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: https://youtu.be/OJ1ACJluRi8

ADVANCE PRAISE:

“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 PLAYLIST:

Spotify users can access a playlist for THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY at the following link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5Q1Vl17qyQQIvvPGeIPCkr?si=-iMhVz8uRk2v2mTdolrPdg. 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.

The Jane Austen Society was beautifully written historical fiction that revolved around seven characters, their love for Jane Austen books and their idea of Jane Austen Society. It was about getting over loss and grief, camaraderie and companionship one find in mutual love and passion for books, romance, village and Post WWII life, and power of reading.

Writing was beautiful. It had that classic feel that took me right to post WWII, 1940s era, written multiple third person narrative set in the quaint village, Chawton, Hampshire where Jane Austen spent last few years of her life writing her world famous books. It was so well written that I had hard time believing this was author’s debut novel.

Plot was simple yet enjoyable, refreshing and uplifting. It started with introduction of all 7 main characters and their life- Adeline, Dr. Gray, Mimi, Adam, Evie, Andrew, and Yardley. Each were introduced in different chapters with ups and down in their life, how they are big fan of Jane Austen and love all her books, how they met each other and later formed Jane Austen Society to preserve history and legacy and to spread their love to more people.

All characters were going through hard time, fighting their own battle to keep their ship afloat in the ocean of life. They all were so different from each other both in nature and profession and yet one thing that bound them in solid camaraderie was Jane Austen’s books and also saved their ship from sinking.

Dr. Gray was widowed general physician of Chawton who knew everybody in village with their past and future. This smart, down to earth and humble and gentle soul couldn’t see the signs of love that was always there. I liked his moment of realization. Adeline was school teacher and now young widow. She was my favorite character in book. I felt for her and I admired her for getting out of her grief.

Frances was lonely woman and only living child of Knight Family, living with her ailing father who never appreciated her. It was hard to understand her resignation, calm and cool demeanor to all that happened to her, nonetheless I liked her. Andrew was Knight Family’s solicitor who respected and admired Frances. It was mystery why he never told her- or if he did, what happened- which was revealed near the end.

Mimi– She had most interesting back story of all. I loved her from the beginning. Her journey to Hollywood star and love for everything related to Jane Austen was mind-blowing. I can’t believe how this smart, with so much self-restrain and self-respecting person can end up with likes of Jack. I didn’t like him a bit. I loved her for not losing her head in relationship, her view towards Hollywood and village life, and doing right thing at the end.

Adam was lonely and quiet farmer who had hard life. It was lovely to read his thoughts while reading Jane Austen. This man was full of surprises. Yardley brought liveliness in this book. I wasn’t sure if I liked him or not in the beginning but in second half he was great. Evie was brilliant. This girl surprised me. Her observations, love for books, foresight and thorough-mindedness was amazing. She literally saved everything.

What I loved in this book was backstory of all characters, beautiful description of Chawton, home of Jane Austen, Knight Estate and its library, her family history, tradition, legacy and villager’s view point towards it, and their culture and mindset.

Best of all banter and discussion between characters on Jane Austen books, their dissection of all Austen characters and their passionate love for all her books and more importantly how they understood Jane Austen through her writing, her view towards society and observation of people through her characters. I have only read Pride and Prejudice and I have to say I didn’t understood the book the way these characters did.

Romance was fun to read. We can see couples’ admiration and who liked who but who ended up with whom was mystery itself. There was misunderstanding and drama just liked Pride and Prejudice, jealousy and possibility of love triangle which was flamed by busybody of village.

There was mystery of a will by old Knight that decided the fate of Frances and cottage the society wanted to turn into museum. I couldn’t tell till the end what will happen to cottage, if they could save it or not and how. Climax was tense but they were still hopeful because of Evie’s smartness, and then the biggest secret was revealed. It was shocking but the unlikely decision and then a scheme gave it whole new turn. It was at the end and in epilogue was actually revealed what exactly happened to cottage. Epilogue was lovely, feel good and exhilarating.

And lastly, I listened audiobook narrated by Richard Armitage. This was my first audiobook, I struggled a bit, wouldn’t have tried it without e-book but after few chapters I loved it. One thing was sure, I got so used to Richard’s voice. Pitch and changes he made for different characters was amazing.

This made me want to reread Pride and Prejudice and read all Austen books. It was said many times in the book Jane Austen’s novels act as balm to wounded, sooth the soul and get us through disturbing times. Well this is best time to read Austen books and see if it works in the time like this.

Overall,

The Jane Austen Society was simple yet beautiful, lovely and refreshing historical fiction with amazing characters and setting.

AUTHOR BIO:

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.

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May 25           Jane Austen’s World
May 25           Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog
May 26           Frolic Media
May 26           A Bookish Affair
May 26           Courtney Reads Romance
May 26           Margie’s Must Reads
May 26           The Reading Frenzy
May 27           Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina
May 27           Gwendalyn’s Books
May 27           Romantically Inclined Reviews
May 28           Getting Your Read On
May 28           Living Read Girl
May 28           The Lit Bitch
May 29           History Lizzie
May 29           Silver Petticoat Reviews
May 30           Cup of Tea with that Book, Please
May 30           Historical Fiction Reader
May 31           Jane Austen in Vermont
June 01         From Pemberley to Milton
June 01         My Jane Austen Book Club
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June 02         Lu’s Reviews
June 02         The Green Mockingbird
June 03         The Interests of a Jane Austen Girl
June 03         Relz Reviews
June 03         Impressions in Ink
June 04         The Caffeinated Bibliophile
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June 29         The Anglophile Channel
June 29         So Little Time…
June 30         BookNAround


I hope you enjoyed this post and review. Let me know what do you think about the book or if you have read this already and what are your thought on this book, which is your favorite Jane Austen book?

Happy Reading!

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