Monday, August 21, 2017

The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen Flynn


London, 1815: Two travelers—Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane—arrive in a field in rural England, disheveled and weighed down with hidden money. Turned away at a nearby inn, they are forced to travel by coach all night to London. They are not what they seem, but rather colleagues who have come back in time from a technologically advanced future, posing as wealthy West Indies planters—a doctor and his spinster sister. While Rachel and Liam aren’t the first team from the future to “go back,” their mission is by far the most audacious: meet, befriend, and steal from Jane Austen herself.
Carefully selected and rigorously trained by The Royal Institute for Special Topics in Physics, disaster-relief doctor Rachel and actor-turned-scholar Liam have little in common besides the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in. Circumstances that call for Rachel to stifle her independent nature and let Liam take the lead as they infiltrate Austen’s circle via her favorite brother, Henry.
But diagnosing Jane’s fatal illness and obtaining an unpublished novel hinted at in her letters pose enough of a challenge without the continuous convolutions of living a lie. While her friendship with Jane deepens and her relationship with Liam grows complicated, Rachel fights to reconcile the woman she is with the proper lady nineteenth-century society expects her to be. As their portal to the future prepares to close, Rachel and Liam struggle with their directive to leave history intact and exactly as they found it…however heartbreaking that may prove.

My Thoughts:

     I was really excited to read this as I am a great lover of Pride & Prejudice and Jane Austen.  (Confession: I haven't read all of her novels yet...I am ashamed!) I loved the concept of going back in time to not only find out more about the lovely Miss Austen but to also hopefully, find more of her writings.  
     Rachel is a great character and one I could identify with on a few levels.  One, she is a great admirer of Jane Austen and two, as a modern woman she was both fascinated and appalled by the 1800's and the treatment/status of women during that time.   Rachel struggles many times to be meek, quiet and to obey her "brother" and keep her strong, independent nature hidden.  This would be so frustrating! Liam was, at times, stuffy and obnoxious but as the story progresses you begin to know him and he becomes a lot more lovable.
     My only problem with this story is that I felt that just one chapter at the beginning that was dedicated to some sort of explanation of Rachel and Liam's current time (a.k.a. our future) would have helped tremendously.  The very first lines of the book are right at Rachel's jump through time and there was no description of when in time she was coming from and it was a tad confusing at first.  
     If you are a fan of Jane Austen at all I think that you will find this to be a fun little fantasy look into what her life might have been like and what type of person she might have been. Even if you are not a huge JA fan, I still think reading about somewhat modern day people traveling to the early 1800's would make for an enjoyable read.  4/5 stars

Check out The Jane Austen Project website/blog:

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