Book Review: The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, Vol. II
This post originally appeared on For the Sake of Good Taste
I’m thrilled to be a part of the blog tour with HFVBT for the second of Collins Hemingway’s The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen novels. Today, I’m sharing my thoughts about Vol. II!
Be sure to check out Vol. I’s review and to check out some of the other lovely book bloggers in the schedule at the bottom of this post. And be sure to visit our HFVBT tag for more fantastic historical fiction reads!
I received a copy of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen, Vol. II through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review purposes. As always, this review reflects only my honest opinions on the book.
The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Vol. II
by Collins Hemingway
Publication Date: August 8, 2016
eBook & Paperback; 332 Pages
Jane Austen Lived a Quiet, Single Life-Or Did She?
Tradition holds that Jane Austen lived a proper, contemplative, unmarried life. But what if she wed a man as passionate and intelligent as she-and the marriage remained secret for 200 years?
The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen resolves the biggest mystery of Austen’s life-the “lost years” of her twenties-of which historians know virtually nothing.
• Why the enduring rumors of a lost love or tragic affair?
• Why, afterward, did the vivacious Austen prematurely put on “the cap of middle age” and close off any thoughts of finding love?
• Why, after her death, did her beloved sister destroy her letters and journals?
The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy answers these questions through a riveting love affair based on the history of the times and the details of Austen’s own life.
After reading the first novel in this series, I was excited to continue and picked up the second within moments of finishing. I’ve always loved a good “what if?” when it comes to little-known aspects of history, especially those I’ve been able to study. Jane Austen has been one of my favourite authors since elementary school and I’ve absolutely loved watching her come alive on the page through this series. Hemingway truly provides a unique imagining of Austen as a character, firmly based in the image of Austen as a real figure.
Motherhood within her novels has been a subject I’ve touched upon in my own study, so reading this account of the character of Jane’s own experiences with it was of particular interest to me, personally. Jane’s interactions with her mother and mother-in-law and with her own child and the children around her (particularly her nieces) are absolutely insightful.
Perhaps my favourite aspect of this novel, and, indeed, the series as a whole, from what I’ve read, is the history and references woven through the story. This is truly a work of historical fiction–not just due to it’s being set within a bygone era or that it’s based on Austen, but in that it tangles itself into the historical narrative beautifully, filling the gaps where Austen’s “lost years” have left scholars searching for answers.
The appearance of other critical figures, like Coleridge, improve not only the story, but the reader’s experience. I found myself keeping an eye out for these notable characters like one watches for references in a Disney-Pixar movie or for ghosts in The Haunting of Hill House. These “Easter eggs” added another layer of enjoyment to reading this novel and emphasised the history behind it, alongside rather than despite the fiction.
Slavery and the debates surrounding abolition are a particularly heavy plot point in this volume of the series. In this, Jane’s passion comes alive as if she is a character in one of her own novels–it’s easy to imagine Lizzy Bennet reacting similarly to similar events and experiences.
Overall, this novel was quite an enjoyable read and, while I haven’t got a review of the third volume of The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen queued up, I may have to find the book myself, if only to find out just how the story reaches its end.
Praise for The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen Series
“A skillful portrayal of an early nineteenth-century literary icon takes this historical romance on an imaginative journey of the soul. … The adventure of a true romantic partnership and all the excitement that the nineteenth century had to offer. … [The] novel invites you to linger, to savor, and to enjoy. … Makes for wonderful reading. … A Jane that lives and breathes on the page.”—Claire Foster, Foreword Reviews, 4 stars
“Hemingway captures the energy of the times, while also writing with the irony and sly humor of Austen herself. … A strikingly real Jane Austen fully engaged in the turbulent times. … She is a living, breathing presence. … [He] displays a notable ability to recreate time and place. … A lively, compelling read, [a] sobering but moving conclusion.” —Blueink Starred Review
“An enjoyable novel in an imaginative, well-researched series. … A well-researched work of historical fiction … [with] sweet moments and intriguing historical insights. … An incredibly moving portrait of a woman facing loss and love.” —Kirkus Reviews
Whether his subject is literature, history, or science, Collins Hemingway has a passion for the art of creative investigation. For him, the most compelling fiction deeply explores the heart and soul of its characters, while also engaging them in the complex and often dangerous world in which they have a stake. He wants to explore all that goes into people’s lives and everything that makes them complete though fallible human beings. His fiction is shaped by the language of the heart and an abiding regard for courage in the face of adversity.
As a nonfiction book author, Hemingway has worked alongside some of the world’s thought leaders on topics as diverse as corporate culture and ethics; the Internet and mobile technology; the ins and outs of the retail trade; and the cognitive potential of the brain. Best known for the #1 best-selling book on business and technology, Business @ the Speed of Thought, which he coauthored with Bill Gates, he has earned a reputation for tackling challenging subjects with clarity and insight, writing for the nontechnical but intelligent reader.
Hemingway has published shorter nonfiction on topics including computer technology, medicine, and aviation, and he has written award-winning journalism.
Published books include The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen trilogy, Business @ the Speed of Thought, with Bill Gates, Built for Growth, with Arthur Rubinfeld, What Happy Companies Know, with Dan Baker and Cathy Greenberg, Maximum Brainpower, with Shlomo Breznitz, and The Fifth Wave, with Robert Marcus.
Hemingway lives in Bend, Oregon, with his wife, Wendy. Together they have three adult sons and three granddaughters. He supports the Oregon Community Foundation and other civic organizations engaged in conservation and social services in Central Oregon.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, January 14
Review at Coffee and Ink
Wednesday, January 16
Review & Excerpt at The Book Junkie Reads
Thursday, January 17
Feature at What Is That Book About
Friday, January 18
Review at Rainy Day Reviews
Monday, January 21
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog
Wednesday, January 23
Review & Guest Post at To Read, Or Not to Read
Monday, January 28
Review at For the Sake of Good Taste
Tuesday, January 29
Guest Post at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen
Wednesday, January 30
Review at Library of Clean Reads
Friday, February 1
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective
Saturday, February 2
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Sunday, February 3
Review at Bri’s Book Nook
Monday, February 4
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Tuesday, February 5
Review at Maiden of the Pages
Thursday, February 7
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, February 8
Review at Book Reviews from Canada
Saturday, February 9
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a $25 Amazon Gift Card! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.