The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen
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.
James's interpretation of the "story within a story" provides a literary feast for Anglophiles. While visiting England, American librarian and Jane Austen fan Samantha McDonough buys a dusty, ancient book of poetry containing a hidden letter penned by Austen. Addressed to her sister, the letter references Austen's never-before-seen manuscript, The Stanhopes, and suggests the unseen novel to have been mislaid "at Greenbriar in Devonshire." James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen) sends Samantha on a frenzied journey of authentication, research, and footwork as she attempts to track down the missing manuscript. She is introduced to an antique-filled manor, Greenbriar, and its handsome owner Anthony Wickham who, upon Samantha's urging, finds a peculiar "puzzle box" cached in the back of a cabinet. Inside is The Stanhopes, a multimillion dollar treasure and James's novel within a novel. That book is gradually authenticated, but there is another conflict still to resolve: Samantha wants the manuscript published for the masses believing it "will set off a global wave of Janeite frenzy"; Anthony selfishly wants it auctioned for millions to the highest bidder, most likely a private collector. They appear deadlocked until Anthony becomes a student of Austen and her themes, prompting his life-affirming conclusion and ensuring an Austen-worthy ending.