Book Review: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 320 pages

Published: May 26, 2020

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Historical Fiction, Austenesque Fiction 


Just 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.


Have you ever encountered a book or an author that was your immediate “go-to” when life has gotten you down? For me, it is, of course, Jane Austen. From my very first encounter of her, Austen’s words and wit managed to bring me joy and solace in my hours of need. There are not that many authors that can convey such a powerful emotion and Austen have the elite honor of being in that category. When readers have that immense passion for an author they believe is a literary marvel, they throw their energy in preserving their legacy. The Jane Austen Society depicts that passion in this cozy, heartwarming narrative. 

This was just one delightful novel, a wonderfully uplifting read that is perfect to have during a pandemic and I am not just saying that because this book revolves around Jane Austen. She may be the central theme and what makes these group of characters come together, it is more than just about Austen. It is about the power of books, power of reading, having the great capacity to bring people together. I always knew that this power existed but to see it depicted in such a beautiful way. When in a time of chaos, it is so comforting to read about a group of people coming together. 

The characters were both personable and relatable. Although a group of various personalities, you will have no problem forming a connection with them. If you are looking for the “three or four families in a country village”, then this is the book for you. I have a hard time picking which one character one was my favorite because they were all just so delightful. But if I had to choose, I would pick Evie. Her diligent work in spending the night cataloguing the books in the library and her enthusiasm for discovering new items was just an inspiration. It reminded me of my school work in library school. She also gets to spend nights in a library. She is the envy of any bibliophile!

The nonlinear storytelling may deter some people and may have some difficulty getting into the story, however, that should not deter people from giving this book a try. The flow of the language used makes you feel like you are reading an Austen novel, but not solely. Jenner manages to channel Austen’s wit and sense of place in her writing. Her storytelling may not be a complete match to Austen’s style but the way she tells this uplifting story that Janeites will have a hard time not enjoying this book.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was a nice treat to read, especially when you are snuggled up in bed and a cup of tea. In a time where we have to be social distancing, The Jane Austen Society transported me to another time and place, something we all need when the real world is not making sense at the moment. The courage, kindness and perseverance in the wake of grief and loss is just the inspirational narrative we need to read more often. This book isn’t just for Austen fans, however, the passionate fans will find great enjoyment in this book, and as they do with Austen’s novels, they will return to it more and more, to make sure to savour its goodness and serenity for years to come.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 star




Author Natalie Jenner headshot X2 2020


Natalie Jenner is the debut author of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, a fictional telling of the start of the society in the 1940s in the village of Chawton, where Austen wrote or revised her major works. Born in England and raised in Canada, Natalie graduated from the University of Toronto with degrees in English Literature and Law and has worked for decades in the legal industry. She recently founded the independent bookstore Archetype Books in Oakville, Ontario, where she lives with her family and two rescue dogs.



Audiobook cover of The Jane Austen Society


I want to also plug the audiobook, which is narrated by Richard Armitage. He captures the work so beautifully and does an amazing job! If you have the opportunity to listen to the audiobook, you should definitely take it!



 If you love The Jane Austen Society as much as I did, here are some readlikes that will be equally as enjoyable!

Meet The Jane Austen Society


Cup of tea with that Book Please is delighted to be participating in the blog tour of The Jane Austen Society. Learn more about the tour by following along with us:

Join the virtual online book tour of THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY, Natalie Jenner’s highly acclaimed debut novel May 25 through June 30, 2020. Seventy-five popular blogs and websites specializing in historical fiction, historical romance, women’s fiction, and Austenesque fiction will feature interviews and reviews of this post-WWII novel set in Chawton, England.





May 25           Jane Austen’s World

May 25           Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog

May 26           Frolic Media

May 26           A Bookish Affair

May 26           Courtney Reads Romance

May 26           Margie’s Must Reads

May 26           The Reading Frenzy

May 27           Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina

May 27           Gwendalyn’s Books

May 27           Romantically Inclined Reviews

May 28           Getting Your Read On

May 28           Living Read Girl

May 28           The Lit Bitch

May 29           History Lizzie

May 29           Silver Petticoat Reviews

May 30           Cup of Tea with that Book, Please

May 30           Historical Fiction Reader

May 31           Jane Austen in Vermont

June 01          From Pemberley to Milton

June 01          My Jane Austen Book Club

June 01          AustenBlog

June 02          Lu’s Reviews

June 02          The Green Mockingbird

June 03          The Interests of a Jane Austen Girl

June 03          Relz Reviews

June 03          Impressions in Ink

June 04          The Caffeinated Bibliophile

June 04          Life of Literature

June 04          Laura’s Reviews

June 05          Reading Ladies Book Club

June 05          Bookish Rantings

June 06          From the TBR Pile

June 07          Rachel Dodge

June 07          An Historian About Town

June 08          Bringing up Books

June 08          Austenesque Reviews

June 09          Captivated Reading

June 09          Savvy Verse and Witt

June 10          Lady with a Quill

June 10          Drunk Austen

June 11          Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

June 11          Inkwell Inspirations

June 12          Nurse Bookie

June 12          A Bookish Way of Life

June 13          Calico Critic

June 14          Jane Austen’s World

June 15          Stuck in a Book

June 15          Storybook Reviews

June 15          Confessions of a Book Addict

June 16          Literary Quicksand

June 16          Becky on Books

June 17          The Reading Frenzy

June 17          Anita Loves Books

June 18          Chicks, Rogues, & Scandals

June 18          The Write Review

June 19          Diary of Eccentric

June 20          Cracking the Cover

June 21          Short Books & Scribes

June 22          Reading the Past

June 22          Babblings of a Bookworm

June 23          My Vices and Weaknesses

June 23          The Book Diva Reads

June 24          Books, Teacups & Reviews

June 24          Wishful Endings

June 25          Robin Loves Reading

June 25          Bookfoolery

June 26          Lit and Life

June 26          Vesper’s Place

June 27          Foxes and Fairy Tales

June 28          Probably at the Library

June 28          Scuffed Slippers Wormy Books

June 29          The Anglophile Channel

June 29          So Little Time…

June 30          BookNAround

Published by karma2015

I was born and raised in New York. I still live in New York but kind of sick of the city and one day I wish to move to the UK.I have a Masters degree in Library Science and I currently work in a special collections library. I loved books ever since I was a little girl. Through the hard times in my life, my love for books has always gotten me through. Just entering another world different from my own intrigues me. As long as I am entering in another universe, I like to create my own as well. I love to write and hopefully I will be able to complete a novel.

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