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THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
'A wonderful book, a wonderful read' Karen Joy Fowler, bestselling author of The Jane Austen Book Club
Only a few months after the end of the Second World War, a new battle is beginning in the little village of Chawton. Once the final home of Jane Austen, the Chawton estate is dwindling, and the last piece of Austen's heritage is at risk of being sold to the highest bidder...
Drawn together by their love of her novels, eight very different people - from a local farmer to a glamorous film star - must unite to attempt something remarkable. As new friendships form, and the griefs of the past begin to fade, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society, and to save the beloved novelist's home and legacy. But can her words change all their lives in return?
A heartbreaking and uplifting novel of hope, loss and love. Perfect for fans of Miss Austen by Gill Hornby and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer
'A charming and memorable debut, which reminds us of the power of books to unite and heal'
Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris
In Jenner's delightful debut, a group of people are united by the goal of preserving an iconic literary figure. In post-WWII Chawton, England, farmer Adam Berwick embarks on a quest to honor the legacy of Jane Austen, seeking the help of his doctor, Benjamin Gray, to establish a museum in the cottage where Austen lived. The two men form the Jane Austen Society with former schoolteacher and young widow Adeline Grove. The society's membership grows to include solicitor Andrew Forrester; Frances Knight, whose family owns the cottage and the Great House once belonging to Jane's brother; and young maid Evie Stone, who has catalogued valuable books from the library at the Great House. When Frances's father dies, his will leaves her without a claim to the cottage if a male heir is found, and the society bands together to try to purchase the cottage and preserve the valuable books that Evie has catalogued. Jenner's immersive character development is juxtaposed against her study of Austen's characters, providing clever insight into how the trials of Austen's life were revealed through her books. The narrative, meanwhile, is rich with references to Austen's literature and carried along by the strong bonds formed by the characters based on their shared appreciation for her work. Austen-ites are in for a treat.