Tracy's Reviews > The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
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really liked it
bookshelves: hf-challenge-2013, mother-dd-bookclub, rhfl-challenge-2013, challenge-2013

After reading several biographies of Jane Austen this year, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this fictional memoir of the author. Syrie James fleshes out the mysterious "seaside gentleman" that has been hinted at in various Austen biographies, but never identified. Though we know there cannot be a happy ending for Jane and Frederick, they do have their "We'll always have Paris" moment a la "Casablanca" after spending several weeks together in London in 1810.

Quotes from a number of Austen works are sprinkled throughout the story and I found them to be nicely done. The domestic scenes within the Austen family were also rendered very well -- their homes and interests were those of real people, not just characters in a story. Jane's craft and process as a writer was a major focus of the novel, equally if not more so than her romantic adventures. This gave her character a greater realism than is often found in historical fictional heroines. Bravo!

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Reading Progress

August 3, 2013 – Shelved
August 3, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
August 13, 2013 – Started Reading
August 13, 2013 –
page 92
30.36% "Jane's enthusiasm for Marmion has inspired me to attempt it. Epic poetry is not my usual fare. Wish me luck!"
August 16, 2013 –
page 184
60.73% "Mr. Morton (aka Mr. Collins): "I have always thought the story of my life would make a fascinating novel: the habits of life and character and enthusiasm of an English clergyman, beloved by his parish, renowned for his sensible views, his sensitivity and expertise in the management of his duties...Perhaps, Miss Austen, ... this could be your next work.""
August 16, 2013 –
page 232
76.57% ""My only designated responsibilities were the keeping of the key to the wine cupboard, and the preparation of a simple breakfast--undemanding duties, for the women in my household were determined that I should devote my time to that pursuit which was so dear to me--the writing of my book.""
August 16, 2013 –
page 247
81.52% "How does someone appear "to be about nine-and-thirty"?? unless you know they are really 40, perhaps? ;-)"
August 17, 2013 – Shelved as: hf-challenge-2013
August 17, 2013 – Shelved as: mother-dd-bookclub
August 17, 2013 – Shelved as: rhfl-challenge-2013
August 17, 2013 – Finished Reading
January 14, 2014 – Shelved as: challenge-2013

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Tracy Miss Austen politely declines, "I am certain I would not be equal to the task of portraying such a complex and interesting character as yourself."

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