I am not an Austen fan (Did I hear a gasp?) yet I have enjoyed this series. I like the novels because of Reay's writing style, not the topic of the plot. For example, while conversing with another as he fly fishes, Mary says, “I cast for a new topic.” I do like Reay's use of words.
The plot revolves around people at a large manor house near Bath, England. The visitors must portray Austen characters during their stay. Austen fans will love all the references to Austen characters and snippets of dialog found in her novels. Not being an Austen fan, most of that was lost on me.
What I found most interesting in the novel were the issues Mary's friend faced. Isabel was fighting feelings from what her parents said to her as a child. She was so troubled that she disassociated from reality and became her Austen character. That aspect of the novel should give parents much to think about.
Another interesting issue in the novel was honesty among friends. There were several layers of dishonesty that came to a climax during the stay at the manor.
An entertaining part of the novel for me was the company for which Mary worked. I received some insight as to how companies come up with some of those clever toys and gadgets.
I recommend this novel to Austen lovers. Even if you are not an Austen fan, there is still much to like about this novel.
You can read a free preview here.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Katherine Reay is a graduate of Northwestern University with a MS in marketing. She and her family live outside of Chicago where she writes character driven stories focusing on examining the past and how it influences the present.
Thomas Nelson, 320 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.