England. Chawton village. 1945.
The war is finally over and the people of the small English village are to pick up the pieces and find the courage to move on with their lives. Adeline Grover lost her husband and when another tragedy strikes, she’s struggling to find joy again. Dr. Grey is well respected professionally, but no one knows what it costs him to wake up every morning and act normal. After losing his wife years ago he became a shadow of himself. Adam Berwick, a farmer, lost his two elder brothers at war and now carries for his sick mother, he’s yet to find out a few things about himself and his heritage. They all seem different but have one thing in common; their love for Jane Austen. Her novels and the characters help people to cope with their struggles and bring happiness, friendship, and love into their lives. One day the legacy of Jane Austen, who used to live in Chawton is threatened to be lost. Therefore, Adeline, Dr. Grey, Adam, Frances, Mimi, Andrew, and Evie unite to establish The Jane Austen Society to preserve and protect the author’s heritage and let people from all over enjoy the magnificent and inspiring atmosphere of Chawton, where she lived and created.
But inside him, in the place that only books could touch, there remained both a deep unknowing and the deepest, most trenchant pain.
The novel is a slow-paced, cozy read about people using Jane Austen’s novels to help themselves through challenging times. I appreciated the discussions brought in the book. It’s amazing to watch people being so passionate about something, especially literature. How delightful it is to find others who share your passion. I enjoyed the characters and felt connected to them throughout the novel. The atmosphere of a small English village was realistically described, it made me want to go on vacation. And of course, there were lots of antique books and people who love and treasure books!
However, I felt the ending was very rushed, to say the least. You read the story and all of a sudden there’s an epigraph telling where the characters are a few years later. I wouldn’t mind the book to be longer and get a good settle closure. Overall, I think this novel is a perfect homage to one of my favorite authors.
…part of it was the heroism of Austen herself, in writing through illness and despair, and facing her own early death. If she could do it, Dr. Gray and Adeline each thought, then certainly, in homage if nothing else, they could, too.