Hillary Manton Lodge. Jane of Austin: A Novel of Sweet Tea and Sensibility. New York, NY: WaterBrook, 2017.
I’m very excited to announce that this week marks our third anniversary/birthday here at the Books and Biscuits Blog! It’s a bit hard to believe that we’ve been at it this long or that today marks the 163rd review that we’ve posted. In honor of the occasion, I’m posting one of my personal favorite reads from the last few months. Enjoy!
Ms. Lodge recently released Jane of Austin as a contemporary nod to Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. Jane and her sisters live in San Francisco, where they have made a comfortable living as the proprietors of a boutique tea shop. When their landlord dies and his heirs decide to take over the property, the Woodward sisters are forced to find a new location. With sky-high rents throughout the area, the family decides to take advantage of their distant cousin’s offer to move to Austin, Texas. Sandwiched between the needs of her older sister, Celia, and her kid sister, Margot, Jane soon takes on the unintended role of Jane Austen’s famous middle sister character. Jane’s love life balances the possibility of a relationship with either a disabled veteran or a rising musician, while continuing an elusive search for her tea shop’s new location. The three sisters discover love, loss, and heartbreak along their journey, all while searching for a new place to call home.
Readers will be thrilled with this modern-day retelling of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. While contemporary Austin, Texas, may seem to be an impossible stand-in for Regency England, Ms. Lodge writes a compelling tale of love and relationships. Her focus on tea, tech, and breakfast tacos makes for a quirky interpretation of a beloved classic.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading Jane of Austin. While I’m not typically the person who reads modern retellings of Jane Austen’s works, I found this particular novel to be well worth the read. Ms. Lodge brings a flair to her writing style that will quickly draw in readers, including those who may be slightly reluctant to give the concept a try. I was particularly impressed at how the author manages to make the original Sense and Sensibility into a feasible modern-day concept, including fascinating characters, places, and events that appear exceptionally convincing within Austen’s original plotline. Jane’s perspective throughout the story also offers an interesting take on the original, as I have always seen Sense and Sensibility as being written primarily from the view of the eldest sister. As the middle sister, Jane’s view from the center of the family presents a fascinating perspective that readers will greatly appreciate. After really enjoying this novel, I look forward to finding Ms. Lodge’s other books and reading her future releases, too.
Fans of Ms. Lodge’s other works will find Jane of Austin to be well worth reading. I would also recommend it to readers who enjoy reading books written by Katherine Reay, Becky Wade, Kara Isaac, and other Christian authors who include literary components in their contemporary novels.
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