Saturday, May 19, 2018

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I am a big fan of Jane Austen. I've read all of her books, some of them several times. I've also read a lot of other peoples' takes on her work, especially "sequels" to Pride and Prejudice. Without fail, they annoyed me. Whenever an author takes on Jane's familiar characters I feel like that author doesn't understand them as well as I do. I had promised myself that I wouldn't read anything else adding to work. Then this book was chosen as our book club selection for May so I found myself reluctantly entering someone else's views on Jane Austen again.

This book pretends to be Jane's actual memoirs. The premise is that these journals were found in a house that once belonged to her brother. You read the book as if you were reading Jane's own diary. As you read, if you are familiar with her works you will recognize many of the characters and scenes as being from Jane's books, as if she had modelled the scenes after people she had met.

As far as someone else putting their own spin on Jane Austen, this is the best one I've read. That's not to say I liked it, but it was better than most of the others. It just didn't feel original to me, because I had already read most of these scenes before in Jane Austen's own books. It was funny to see how the author wove the different characters and scenes into her story, but it all just felt so familiar as I was reading.

On it's own it was a fun story with a nice romance thrown in. However you also might not enjoy it much if you don't know Jane Austen's works and don't understand the characters and scenes Syrie James is referencing. It was a pretty quick read and I didn't hate it, but I feel like Jane Austen's work can stand on its own and doesn't need anyone else's interpretation.

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