The Jane Austen Book Club

The Jane Austen Book Club is a novel that depends on the love of Jane Austen’s fans and promises love and intrigue, but falls short of its goal.

 

Synopsis:

A group of five women and one man meet to discuss Jane Austen’s main works. Meanwhile, relationships end and begin, stories are revealed, and the group is brought together through love of each other and reading.

I once broke up with a boy because he wrote me an awful poem.

— Karen Joy Fowler

Review:

That quote sums up how I feel about this book. I want to break up with this novel and get my time back, because it was very disappointing and mediocre.

To be fair, there are some great moments in the characters’ back stories, with lush detail and intriguing plot. Disappointingly, those back stories are never tied into the rest of the novel. Prudie’s flirtatious high school student? Totally forgotten in the loss of her mother, and never mentioned again. It’s left to us to imagine what actually transpired. Jocelyn’s history is full of heartache, which explains her wariness, but they almost seem like two different characters.

Fowler alluded to some similarities between her cast of characters and the heroines in Jane Austen’s novels. However, those parallels are weakly drawn and it seems to be only a story about a group of friends who just happen to read the novels. They don’t always discuss the books on the pages, and there are so many storylines started that are never revisited. I really would have liked to know more about these interesting people!

The Jane Austen Book Club is full of potential and relies on a prize idea, but finishes without delivering on the promises of love, intrigue, and much of anything actually resembling Austen.

The Jane Austen Book Club
by Karen Joy Fowler
Paperback, 288 pages
Published April 26th 2005 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Summary

The Jane Austen Book Club is full of potential and relies on a prize idea, but finishes without delivering on the promises of love, intrigue, and much of anything actually resembling Austen. This Jane Austen aficionado sadly cannot recommend this particular spinoff.

— Cassie
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