The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
After reading several biographies of Jane Austen this year, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this fictional memoir of the author. Syrie James fleshes out the mysterious "seaside gentleman" that has been hinted at in various Austen biographies, but never identified. Though we know there cannot be a happy ending for Jane and Frederick, they do have their "We'll always have Paris" moment a la "Casablanca" after spending several weeks together in London in 1810.
Quotes from a number of Austen works are sprinkled throughout the story and I found them to be nicely done. The domestic scenes within the Austen family were also rendered very well -- their homes and interests were those of real people, not just characters in a story. Jane's craft and process as a writer was a major focus of the novel, equally if not more so than her romantic adventures. This gave her character a greater realism than is often found in many historical fictional heroines. Bravo!
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