Jane of Austin: Sisters, Tea Shops, Texas and Romance in a ‘Sense & Sensibility’ Re-telling

July 19, 2017 15 Comments

“Smart, sassy and sensational, Jane of Austin is a classic in its own right; a book worthy of placing next to its Austen inspired tome.” 

STORY: Change threatens to sweep the Woodward sister’s into its vicious cycle. In the wake of their father’s scandal, the sisters reinvent their life by opening a tea shop. Now, their landlord dies, and his family no longer want them. Forced to leave behind their home and business, the three sisters pack up and make the move from California to Texas, where distant relatives await.

Jane of Austin: Sisters, Tea Shops, Texas and Romance in a ‘Sense & Sensibility’ Re-telling. A review of the 2017 release by Hillary Manton Lodge. © Rissi JC

Jane is the most impetuous of the three; Celia is the voice of reason; and then there’s Margot. A high school senior, Margot has had plenty of change in her life, but she also settles into their new life with little fuss. You see Jane detests the idea of leaving their home (and wonders at the real reason), and Celia just had her heart broken by the man she thought was “the one.” As the sisters navigate their new life, they must learn how to adapt to change, new friends, broken hearts and possibilities.

Jane of Austin, by Hillary Manton Lodge | Book Review

Reading this book is a unique experience. Not only did I have a read along with a fellow book blogger (#BookBesties), but also, the way I read it is unusual. Part of this experience included the audio book. Time and again I’ve said I wouldn’t like audio books, but as reading this is part of a read-along, I wanted a way (if needed) to continue to “read” this book when I had other tasks to accomplish. All in all, the experience is a very good one. (As an aside, the audio is fantastic; the female narrator gives each character a little different “voice,” and Margot in particular is a spot-on interpretation.) If you’re wondering what I think of Jane of Austin, let’s talk about it.

Jane of Austin: Sisters, Tea Shops, Texas and Romance in a ‘Sense & Sensibility’ Re-telling. A review of the novel by Hillary Manton Lodge. #FWArchives #BookReviews #JaneAusten Click To Tweet
Jane of Austin: Sisters, Tea Shops, Texas and Romance in a ‘Sense & Sensibility’ Re-telling. A review of the 2017 release by Hillary Manton Lodge. © Rissi JC

It’s been weeks since reading this book, and still I didn’t sit down to pen a review. Why? It’s one of those books that impacts its reader and stays with us long after the final page. These kind of novels are impossible to accurately put into words. The sisters are well written, and each personality reads a little differently than the other. Needless to say, this book is memorable in all the right ways. Though contemporary, Jane of Austin retells Sense & Sensibility really well. Of course, Hillary does adjust some of the key elements because what’s relevant in Austen’s world is no longer a barrier in ours. All are changes that work in the flow without sacrificing the heart of this story.

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Each of the personalities is present. Jane (Marianne) is as one expects a contemporary Marianne to be; only she does have a tamer emotional “passion,” which I appreciate. Though some parts of her original character do carry over into this story really surprises me, each handles well. Celia is, unfortunately, pushed to the background because of the first-person POV switch off (between Jane and a male character, Callum), but what’s here is very like Elinor. Margot (Margaret) is perhaps the funniest character in the entire novel, though all of the eccentric characters we know from Sense & Sensibility are present.

“I didn’t respond on account of having a severe case of the heart flutters.” – Hillary Manton Lodge

Reading this novel is like a warm, fresh baked cookie (perfect since this book continues Hillary’s signature addition of recipes). It’s full of beautiful quotes, and lovely characters. The bond of sisterhood is genuine with bumps and bruises, and the journey towards love is full of heartbreak and swoony smiles. If there is a flaw I have with the book, it’s that we don’t see enough of the girls with their loves. I understand the “why,” I just wish we’d had more page time with them, and furthermore, that this book didn’t end. A reader can appreciate the simple and quiet moments that bond two characters (saying who would be all about the spoilers!), but again, because these characters are so dynamic, they’re missed when it’s time to say goodbye.  

Smart, sassy and sensational, Jane of Austin is a classic in its own right; a book worthy of placing next to its Austen inspired tome.♥  


(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Hillary Manton Lodge
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Source: Publisher provided – thank you!
Publication Date: 2017
Find the Review elsewhere: Amazon | Goodreads | WordPress
Shop the Book:   Amazon | Bookshop.org | Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Family
Rating: ★★★★½

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book.

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Courtney Clark July 19, 2017 at 3:05 AM

    Oh Rissi, what a lovely review! #BookBesties forever!

    YES to the impact and classy nature of this story! I could have read a few more chapters about these beloved characters, but I actually liked just where it ended, with some things neatly wrapped up and all the other possibilities of the future.

    I've always felt Sense and Sensibility (or at least the 1996 film adaptation I love) was more Elinor's story, her view of events. I think Hillary's limiting of Celia's view in this story was genius — it makes it Jane's (Marianne's) story entirely, still highlighting the sisters' relationships and still giving Celia her happy ending, but forcing a new focus on what is in her mind and heart.

    I could talk about this book all day……. <3

    • Rissi July 22, 2017 at 7:39 PM

      Hey, Courtney! Thanks. As always, I enjoyed reviewing this one because *swoon* it's a really (really) good book. But… ahh! There's added pressure to. :D

      Well said. I don't mind the possibilities Hillary left us with at all! I was just so engrossed that I wish we'd been given a *little* more time. That said, of course the ending does work wonderfully.

      Elinor IS a strong character in this story – or the films. Because of this, I agree, she does seem to get a lot of the story time. Switching this to Marianne's perspective does make things interesting and more as if we're reading this classic story through fresh eyes and much of its intricacies for the first time. :) No matter what, it's a stunning story – and ditto! I could talk about it all day too. So. Good.

  • Anonymous July 19, 2017 at 9:23 AM

    Nice review Rissi. I haven't read this book yet, but it is on my TBR list. :)

    • Rissi July 22, 2017 at 7:40 PM

      Thanks! And I do hope you enjoy this one. It's lovely. :)

  • Heather July 19, 2017 at 12:34 PM

    I run a link up for reviews of books about food. If you would like to link up this review (and possibly win a prize) you can do it at http://www.spiritblog.net/july-2017-foodies-read

    • Rissi July 22, 2017 at 7:41 PM

      Thank you, Heather.

  • Jen Ryland July 20, 2017 at 12:59 AM

    Thanks so much for stopping by my new site – I really appreciate it!
    I'm burning out on retellings but I can never resist … Jane Austen. I think I'd like this one!
    Jen Ryland

    • Rissi July 22, 2017 at 7:43 PM

      My pleasure, Jen! It looks fabulous. :) Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland.

      If you like all things Austen, I think you'd really enjoy this one! Happy reading. :)

  • Miranda Atchley July 20, 2017 at 6:23 PM

    I'm looking forward to reading this book! It sounds like a good one. And the cover is so pretty! :) Great review, Rissi!

    • Rissi July 22, 2017 at 7:43 PM

      Isn't the cover stunning, Miranda!?? It's even prettier in person too!

      Hope you enjoy this one soon (let me know what you think), and thanks for visiting. :)

  • Hanne T July 21, 2017 at 2:42 AM

    I've heard a bunch about this book! I'll definitely look into it; it sounds like a good book! Also the cover is really cute!!

    • Rissi July 22, 2017 at 8:16 PM

      It's amazing, Hanne! And yes, I agree. The cover is fabulous – and even prettier in person. :) Hope you enjoy, and let me know if you read it.

  • Korin July 22, 2017 at 1:39 PM

    I'd seen this book was out and wondered how it would be- I know re-interpretations can sometimes be a disappointment, and not live up to the expectations. Now, I hope I get the chance to read it sometime-it sounds really good!

    • Rissi July 22, 2017 at 8:18 PM

      It is SO good, Korin. If you have the chance to read it, I do hope you enjoy! Let me know if you do, because I'm all for chatting about this ALL THE TIME! :)

      Thanks for dropping by – always glad to chat with you.


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