by Natalie Jenner
Narrator: Richard Armitage
Length: 9 hours and 55 minutes
Genres: Historical Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.3x
ust after the Second World War, in the small English village of Chawton, an unusual but like-minded group of people band together to attempt something remarkable.
One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England's finest novelists. Now it's home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen's legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen's home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.
I own the hardcover edition but couldn’t resist listening to Richard Armitage narrate The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. Believers in the power of books and Jane Austen fans alike will delight in the story that unfolds.
Stories and books have always captivated me. Their prose and characters often resonated with me long after I have closed the book. They lift my spirts and provide an escape. And that is exactly what Austen’s books do for a small group of people who come together in this novel.
Set at the end of the second world war, in the village where Austen once lived and wrote her final three novels. A group of uniquely distinct people from gender, to economic differences, and age come together and unite in their love of Austen’s books and preserving her memory.
One of the things I love best about this particular homage to Austen is that it shares why people love her work and the effect it has on each of them. The tale pulls you in sharing unique characters from a female movie star dealing with aging out in screen appeal, to a woman who sacrificed her own happiness to appease her harsh father and that of a young woman stricken with grief.
We also meet the town doctor, a lawyer, a maid and a farmer. Slowly all these characters come together to pay homage to Austen and to protect those they care about. The conflict reveals itself and escalates as this group comes together. We see relationships form and feel a sense of unity with this group. All of it woven into a brilliant tapestry that pulls the listener in.
Jenner’s voice felt authentic. Her characters were flawed, diverse and interesting. The impact Jane’s words and stories had on them is clear in their passionate reveals and actions. I found myself wanted to join their society and befriend them.
Richard Armitage was the perfect voice for this narration. From accents to his ability to capture the characters’ emotions and voice. He has a wide vocal range allowing the female voices to ring true, making him a favorite for solo narrations.
Lovers of books and Jane Austen who want a rich historical fiction with memorable characters will delight in this well-developed plot of The Jane Austen Society.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Laura @ Library of Clean Reads
Just like you said, stories and books captivate me too. I’ve been reading great reviews of this book. And now your review makes me want to read it sooner rather than later. I’m adding it to my TBR list for sure!
This sounds like a really great story! Hugs, RO
Laurel Ann Nattress
I am so glad that you enjoy The Jane Austen Society, Kim. I loved the audiobook read by Armitage. Take care, LA
Fantastic review and I totally agree it was an unforgettable listen.
I am ashamed to say that I didn’t read much of austen.. but there are too many new books to read and so little time
Lover of Romance
I just adore Richard Armitage….so delightful to see you enjoyed this one in the audio format. Definitely need to read more historical fiction though. 🙂
This sounds like a lovely listen. And it helps because we visited Jane Austen’s house at Chawton and had a magical time there – it’s a beautiful place and you can really imagine her living there and walking around the gardens… Thank you, Kimberly!
Tyler H. Jolley
What a great way to honor Jane Austen. I love this premise.
Wonderful review Kimberly. I just found this one on Scrbid available July 1st, so I just added the audiobook to my saved list.
Anne - Books of My Heart
If this was my thing I would definitely be wanting the audio
Oh yes I like books like that!
Yes, you put how I felt about this one so well. 🙂 It was a heartwarmer.
I have been seeing this one around. I never read any of Jane Austen’s work, but as a believer in the power of books I can see myself enjoying this one, Awesome review.
Maureen @ Maureen's Books
Wow! I really want to read this book! It’s not really my genre.. but I’ve been seeing this cover around and it just really makes me curious. I also love Jane Austen.
Maybe I should pick this one up after the one I’m reading. I need something different. I tried a thriller and it just didn’t work for me. I’m so in a slump right now.
Makes me want to listen to this one with care. ( I do have the audio waiting for me). I have heard Richard Armitage does a very good narration. You have me hooked in.