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The Jane Austen Project

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  5,626 ratings  ·  1,159 reviews
Perfect for fans of Jane Austen, this engrossing debut novel offers an unusual twist on the legacy of one of the world's most celebrated and beloved authors: two researchers from the future are sent back in time to meet Jane and recover a suspected unpublished novel.

London, 1815: Two travelers—Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane—arrive in a field in rural England, disheveled
Paperback, 373 pages
Published May 2nd 2017 by Harper Perennial
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Kathleen Flynn Hi Madeleine -- well, there's a chance. I'd put it at 67 percent or so at this moment. Thanks so much for taking the the time to read Project!

And I…more
Hi Madeleine -- well, there's a chance. I'd put it at 67 percent or so at this moment. Thanks so much for taking the the time to read Project!

And I hope this means you liked and not that you felt the ending was too unresolved. I personally hate it when I get to the end of books and realize it's not really an ending at all and the author is just trying to trick me into reading the next book. I tried not to do that.(less)
Kathleen Flynn thanks for standing up for the copy editors. We are an injured body!

I hadn't heard of Pen & Prejudice but after reading your review I am going…more
thanks for standing up for the copy editors. We are an injured body!

I hadn't heard of Pen & Prejudice but after reading your review I am going to go look for it.(less)

Community Reviews

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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,626 ratings  ·  1,159 reviews

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Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
Time travel + Jane Austen = two of my favorite literary subjects! Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

I’m an enthusiastic Jane Austen fan (Pride and Prejudice is my desert island book of choice) but I had never heard of her unfinished novel The Watsons until reading The Jane Austen Project, a compelling time travel novel by Jane Austen devotee Kathleen Flynn. In this novel, an old Austen family letter has recently surfaced, indicating that Jane Austen actually did finish The Watsons
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
There was a moment in the beginning of the book when a sentence made me stop reading and smile because I recognized a name and the sentence made me realize that the author has read my favorite book; Possession by A.S. Byatt. I will even quote the sentence: A statue of the poet Randolph Henry Ash, which had long stood in a traffic circle in Hampstead, had disappeared overnight, along with all records of its creation. The poet Randolph Henry Ash is one of the main characters in Possession and I th ...more
Dr. Rachel Katzman has her mission: travel back in time to 1815 London to save an unpublished Jane Austen manuscript from the dustbin of history. If possible, she'd also get a diagnosis for the mystery illness that, in less than two years, would lead to the author's premature death. Rachel and her colleague, Liam, pose as brother and sister who have just moved to England from a sugar plantation in Jamaica. Their first task is to ingratiate themselves with Henry Austen, Jane's favorite brother, a ...more
Cindy Burnett
Jan 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
5+ stars

WOW is truly all I can say about this book. I loved every aspect of The Jane Austen Project. I am a huge Jane Austen fan and have read and reread each of her books too many times to count. I am not a fan of books that take Austen’s stories and redo them – making them about zombies, continuing the characters’ lives, etc., and I have mixed feelings about books that drop people into her stories. Thankfully, The Jane Austen Project does none of these things. Instead Kathleen Flynn creates an
Dec 04, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
The Jane Austen Project is a pretty entertaining read on the whole, very solid if unspectacular, for fans of Jane Austen, Regency England, and time travel books that focus little on the science and more on the experience: I'd give 3 stars exactly. I should start by saying though I've read Longbourn (enjoyed on the whole though it had an extremely different tone and sensibility to Austen novels, and also gave it three stars) and plan to read Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice, in ...more
"What kind of maniac travels in time? I was thirty-three the year I went to 1815, single and childless, a volunteer after humanitarian disasters in Peru, Haiti, and most recently Mongolia. Between these, I worked in the emergency department at Bellevue Hospital in New York and liked vacations that involved trekking through mountains or swimming in very cold water, in corners of the earth where such things were still possible. Love of adventure might seem an odd mix with devotion to the wit and
Sep 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was a weird one. The focus wasn't on the tech needed to get the main characters Rachel and Liam to 1815 London (the tech involves supercomputers that generate wormholes to other time periods, and hand waving.) This book is about fangirling Jane Austen, not there's anything wrong with that!; I love Austen's sharp-witted and ironic humour.
Rachel and Liam are tasked with retrieving the complete manuscript for "The Watsons"; to do this, they must insinuate themselves into the lives of Henry Aus
Shaina Robbins
I found the main character completely uninteresting and kind of unlikable. Why were people falling in love with her all over the place? Why did Jane Austen like her so much? Why in the heck would she have been chosen for the mission in the first place?

Character development was abrupt and emotional reactions rang false to me. There was a lot of telling rather than showing, especially when it came to what characters were thinking and feeling.

I just didn't like this very much.
Kathleen Flynn
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ended up giving this one a straight A at AAR.

Confession time.  When I picked up The Jane Austen Project for review, I really didn’t expect it to be a book I couldn’t put down.  I thought the premise – two time travellers go back to 1815 to meet Jane Austen and secure a previously unpublished manuscript – was interesting (which was why I chose it) but also fraught with potential pitfalls in terms of tone and characterisation. I’m happy to admit that my scepticism was quickly laid to rest and to s
Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
Traveling Back in Time To Seek the Big Unanswered Questions of Jane Austen’s Life!

Imagine being sent on a mission to travel back in time to meet Jane Austen! To meet her in the year 1815 and retrieve – not only many of lost letters that Cassandra destroyed before her death – but a full-length manuscript of The Watsons that Jane Austen herself destroyed before her death!

In a highly risky and rigorous mission, Dr. Rachel Katzman and her colleague, Liam Finucane – after many months of study, practi
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is worth reading for Austen fans. What Jane Austen lover wouldn't want to meet her? Flynn wrote an interesting concept with time travel and romance. Thoroughly enjoyable and engaging.
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable time travel, back to Jane Austin's time. A couple of future people are sent back to find the lost letters of Jane Austin. The comparisons, the reality of life then and the futuristic was awakening to the characters and me. If was easy to fall into the world created by this author. Even more fascinating was the world the travelers came from, returned to and the changes that happened from their interferences and influences. So many changes, from so little time, it made me think abou ...more
Abigail Bok
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It seems almost a disservice to tag this novel with the “Austenesque” or “Jane Austen fan fiction” label; so much of that genre is rife with romance-novel clichés and historical errors. There is some romance in this story, for sure, but it is well embedded in the action and the plot has meatier elements. There is a sci-fi element to the story as well that brings in speculation on more serious issues. For all that, it’s fun to read and propels the reader through a suspenseful storyline. A satisfy ...more
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I picked up The Jane Austen Project I truly did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. While I have read most, not all, of Austen's works, I'm not a huge fan. What I do enjoy is time travel when it is done well - and this book does it incredibly well!

Dr. Rachel Katzman and her actor colleague are sent back in time from the future to find an unpublished Austen novel and, hopefully, to diagnose the illness that led to Austen's premature death. Their mission is not to set off the "butterfly
Jess (Primrose)
Jul 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This one completely surprised me. I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN! July seems to be my Time Travel genre month and I really enjoyed this one. My mind loved all the possibilities of "What If's" that are explored; especially as Rachel (a doctor) attempts to piece together what the mystery illness that took Jane Austen's life so early was. My heart hurt and chest felt tight as I drew towards the end of the book. Flynn really made Jane Austen seem like a person to me; not the stodgy remote author that I know
May 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ένα ταξίδι στο χρόνο με σκοπό να βρεθεί ένα ανέκδοτο μυθιστόρημα της Τζέιν Όστιν. Ευφυές και καλογραμμένο, αν και η πλοκή αργεί να πάρει μπρος και οι χαρακτήρες είναι κάπως προσποιητοί και γενικά δεν πείθουν απόλυτα. Δεν ξέρω κατά πόσο θα ενδιαφέρει αυτούς που δεν έχουν διαβάσει Όστιν (ή δεν τους αρέσει).
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

A summary: doctor, Austen-aficionado, and Jewish atheist Rachel Katzman and former actor, regency scholar, "low-born" Irish-posing as hoity-toity Old British Liam Finucane are selected to go back in time to 1815 and retrieve additional Austen letters as well as the thought-incomplete manuscript of The Watsons.


They go back in time and begin the process of ingratiating themselves in with Henry Austen (Jane's fave bro) with a forged letter of introduction and an invitation to dinner. Aft
3 Stars.

WHAT I liked about this book?
1- It's title and cover.
2- It is about Jane Austen and who doesn't love Jane Austen??
3- It is a combination of time travel and historical romance.

WHAT I didn't like about this book?
1- It attracted me in the beginning , then it became so slow and boring.
2- It will affect readers point of view when they read any book about Jane Austen and her family.
3- The end was a little bit confusing .
4- I didn't feel that there was any chemistry between Rachel and Liam.
Carole P. Roman
Sep 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Rachel Katzman and actor Liam Finucane are transported from the near future back to Regency England to rescue an unpublished Jane Austen manuscript and bring it back to their time. Kathleen A. Flynn writes a spellbinding tale, recreating the sights, smells, and life from the early 19th century for the modern time-travelers, yet hints with powerful snippets of the existence they left behind. The author does not hit the reader over the head with explanations. We know the world has changed. The ...more
Very glad to be finished with this book. I alternated between being bored with it and frustrated by it. I loved the concept but the execution left a lot to be desired.
It’s every Austenite’s dream of discovering a lost manuscript by Jane Austen—nay—to travel back in time and meet the great author! In “The Jane Austen Project” our world has recovered from the apocalypse and is super high tech—from creating food via 3D machines to time travel. When a letter by Austen has been discovered stating she has finished her novel “The Watsons” (and all we’ve ever known is the existing few chapters), two Austen fans, an accomplished writer/actor and a medical doctor, are ...more
This is a truly different time travel story. Initially set in the undefined future there had been a supersized natural disaster which apparently changed our world significantly. There are hints and clues about this future but no bogging down details. Rachel and Liam have been selected to go, via time travel, back to Regency England track down Jane Austen and her letters and her COMPLETE manuscript for the Watsons.

What the author does really well is giving you enough information about how it wor
Mar 25, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jane-austen
Well, I suppose, I should start by admitting that I do not care much for time travel. Or fictional representations of real life people. Or stupid conflict.
And this book contains a lot of stupid conflict.
For example: you live in the future and need to send two people back in time to pose as siblings to woo Jane Austen & fam. So what do you do?
Well, for one, you'd think you would find two people who can, I dunno, pass as siblings. Apparently Rachel and Liam don't look much alike because peopl
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant mix of two of my favorite things--Jane Austen and time travel. Rachel is a thoroughly modern woman who travels back to 1815. I loved her character, so frankly sexual and bemused by the staid mores of Austen's world. Liam is equally as intriguing; we never know his thoughts because like a Captain Wentworth or a Mr. Knightly he is a gentleman. Together they plunge themselves into the past.
Stacey Kade
Oh my gosh, I LOVED this book! It's a must if you're obsessed with Jane Austen (as I am) and particularly if you've ever wondered what meeting her would be like. Plus, it's time travel (but really well done, not cheesy) so you've got the lovely fish out of water angle happening.

Highly, highly recommend it!
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
England im September 1815: Dr. Rachel Katzman (33) und Prof. Liam Finucane (37), zwei Zeitreisende, landen auf einem Feld nahe dem ländlichen Leatherhead in der Grafschaft Surrey. Die Ärztin und der Schauspieler kommen aus einer technologisch fortgeschrittenen Zukunft und befinden sich auf einer heimlichen und heiklen Mission. Die beiden wollen die berühmte Jane Austen treffen und sich mit ihr anfreunden, um an das verschollene Manuskript von „The Watsons“ zu gelangen und Briefe, die die Autorin ...more
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
*4.5 stars ✨

“What would you give up so she could live?” Yeah, only everything! I love Jane Austen and would give anything to have another novel by her. Although, I’m very happy with what I do have from her. She’s a literary genius. I very much enjoyed this novel. Time traveling back to 1815 to meet Jane Austen? Perfect. I only wish the ending had been different, hence the lack of 5 stars, but I definitely recommend this if you’re an Austen fan.
Dec 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf, arc
It's not quite Connie Willis, but it's pretty close! More spiky and unpredictable than I expected.
Jen (The Starry-Eyed Revue)
So, that ended differently than expected. Granted, I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but it wasn't that. I enjoyed the book overall, though I definitely could have used more exposition there at the end. Anyway, I adore all things Jane Austen so getting to see what she was like in real life -- if only hypothetically because of time travel -- was beyond awesome. I loved seeing how hard it would be to go from a future far more advanced than ours (but also maybe not as great) and trying to ...more
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Around the Year i...: The Jane Austen Project, by Kathleen A. Flynn 1 14 Jan 02, 2018 11:24AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 6 May 26, 2017 07:01PM  
  • The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen
  • A Truth Universally Acknowledged: 33 Great Writers on Why We Read Jane Austen
  • Searching for Captain Wentworth
  • Why Jane Austen?
  • The Three Colonels: Jane Austen's Fighting Men (Jane Austen's Fighting Men, #1)
  • Attempting Elizabeth
  • Mercy's Embrace (Elizabeth Elliot's Story - So Lively a Chase #2)
  • Dancing with Mr. Darcy: Stories Inspired by Jane Austen and Chawton House
  • Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas (Jane Austen Mysteries #12)
  • The Real Jane Austen: A Life in Small Things
  • Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature's Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart
  • All Roads Lead to Austen: A Yearlong Journey with Jane
  • Rational Creatures
  • For All the Wrong Reasons
  • The Third Sister: A Continuation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility
  • Among the Janeites: A Journey Through the World of Jane Austen Fandom
  • Dear Jane Austen: A Heroine's Guide to Life and Love
  • Steampunk Darcy
Kathleen A. Flynn grew up in tiny Falls Village, Conn., the daughter of an electrician and a kindergarten teacher. Currently a copy editor at The New York Times and resident of Brooklyn, Flynn has taught English in Hong Kong, washed dishes on Nantucket, and is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America.
“I am not entirely persuaded that selling a book is like selling a pig.” 2 likes
“I suspected he looked down on me as an American, and he seldom got my jokes. He’d be terrible in bed. I put my odds of sleeping with him before the mission had ended at 70 percent.” 1 likes
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