Book Review: The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James

The following review originally appeared on Book End Babes, a website devoted to a love of reading and to learning about new authors.

I love Jane Austen. After going through honors Lit in high school and as an English major in college, I’ve read almost every one of her novels – excessive semi colons and all.

When The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen came in the mail, I thought this novel might be something else. Tell me what you think from the novel’s description: The minute I saw the letter, I knew it was hers. There was no mistaking it: the salutation, the tiny, precise handwriting, the date, the content itself, all confirmed its ancient status and authorship…

Samantha McDonough cannot believe her eyes–or her luck. Tucked in an uncut page of a two-hundred-year old poetry book is a letter she believes was written by Jane Austen, mentioning with regret a manuscript that “went missing at Greenbriar in Devonshire.” Could there really be an undiscovered Jane Austen novel waiting to be found? Could anyone resist the temptation to go looking for it?

Making her way to the beautiful, centuries-old Greenbriar estate, Samantha finds it no easy task to sell its owner, the handsome yet uncompromising Anthony Whitaker, on her wild idea of searching for a lost Austen work–until she mentions its possible million dollar value.

After discovering the unattributed manuscript, Samantha and Anthony are immediately absorbed in the story of Rebecca Stanhope, daughter of a small town rector, who is about to encounter some bittersweet truths about life and love. As they continue to read the newly discovered tale from the past, a new one unfolds in the present–a story that just might change both of their lives forever.”

Did you think this was going to be one of those love-oriented, modern day Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet stories? Well, I was wrong. Were you?

James does a fantastic job of interweaving two stories into one. I had never read a Jane Austen-based novel before in which the main characters come across an old manuscript and I was pleasantly delighted in the fact that the entire novel was written into the book! I think I enjoyed reading about the Stanhopes more than I enjoyed reading about Samantha and Anthony’s journey surrounding the search to find the manuscript.

The care and love of Austen that James has is obvious to the reader. It’s evidenced in Samantha’s knowledge of Austen’s life as well as the style in which James writes the missing manuscript. She encompasses the same style, tone and sarcasm of Austen.

This is a must-read for all Austen lovers. Downloaded it or pick up a copy today!

Who is your favorite Austen heroine? Share your reasons why with us in the comments below!

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