Book Review: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner (Four Stars)

Book Review: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner (Four Stars)

“Reading Jane Austen was making him identify with Darcy and the thunderclap power of physical attraction that flies in the face of one’s usual judgment.”

More like 3.5 stars. Great concept for Jane Austen fans: a period (post World War II) retelling of an Austen-type story. Jenner is no Jane Austen, but hers is a credible performance. The male characters are more deeply developed than in the Austen canon, but not convincingly so. What would we expect of a group of Austen aficionados?

“Everyone was making mistakes, and falling for cads, and giving the wrong people the benefit of the doubt. He loved it.”

The denouement is abrupt and unconvincing. Austen fans will love it. Jenner invokes post-war England and Hollywood well, but modern sensibilities mar the tone. Much dialogue is people quoting Austen back and forth, just as you’d expect of a bunch of literary nerds.

“We all live with grief eventually, every last one of us. Austen knew that.”

Quibbles. “… over the noise of the engine as it sputtered to a stop.” Rolls Royce engines neither make noise nor do they sputter to a stop. American Security and Exchange laws do not apply in England, and “inside trading” restrictions were not in effect in the 1940s. Heroin dependency is not amenable to quitting by sheer willpower.

“Part of the comfort they derived from rereading was the satisfaction of knowing there would be closure.”