This book is described as a group of people who get together once a month to discuss the novels of Jane Austen, and they do but if you’re expecting page upon page of in depth analysis on the work of Austen from these fictional characters then you’ll be disappointed.
Yes, the group do select a different book each month and meet but it is punctuated with a background of further understanding of the characters that make up the six. Jocelyn and Sylvia have been friends since they were children and are now in their 50’s, Allegra is Sylvia’s daughter, Bernadette is an old friend, Prudie met Jocelyn at a screening of Persuasion and Grigg, the only guy, was invited by Jocelyn who met him at a Sci-fi convention.
It’s a strange bunch of characters with some interesting dynamics, but it seems to work, although perhaps on paper, it shouldn’t. There was something quite comforting about the book, the love of Austen that connected these people together, and the few times insight was offered, it was interesting to gain a different perspective on the famous novelist’s work. However this was too little for me, whilst it was interesting to hear more about the characters it felt that some were favoured more by Karen Joy Fowler than others. I know Jocelyn and Sylvia were the main protagonists but I felt we missed out on learning more about people like Bernadette (who seemed to have an intriguing and full life) or Grigg, or even Prudie who spoke French but had never visited the country. And for me this made the book fall a little flat.
I could understand what Karen was trying to do but I felt that she rushed the developing storylines between the characters a bit too fast and made them a little too obvious which took away the mystery and excitement that would have otherwise been there. That being said I appreciated the way the novel highlighted some of Austen’s lesser-known work, and hopefully in doing so it will encourage a whole new generation of book lovers to discover her work, it was clear to see that Karen Joy Fowler has a lot of love for Jane Austen, but I feel her idea wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.
I’d recommend this book to people who enjoy the work of Miss Jane Austen, or those who are looking for something fairly easy going to read.
Star Rating out of 5: 3
It is not everyone who has your passion for dead leaves.
Happy reading fellow bookworms.