All her heroines find love in the end - but is there love waiting for Jane?
Jane Austen spends her days writing and matchmaking in the small countryside village of Steventon, until a ball at Godmersham Park propels her into a new world where she yearns for a romance of her own. But whether her heart will settle on a young lawyer, a clever Reverend, a wealthy childhood friend, or a mysterious stranger is anyone's guess.
The novel, created in the style of Jane herself, ponders the question faced by many devoted followers over the years - did she ever find love? Weaving fact with fiction, it re-imagines her life, using her own stories to fill in the gaps left by history and showing that all of us - to a greater or lesser degree - are head over heels for Jane.
©2013 Scott D. Southard (P)2014 Scott D. Southard
Rabid Listener/Reader and Shopper!
Narration - Louisa Gummer - Really Good - This is all with British Accents and a few Americans - really enjoyable to listen. I could listen to narration of Brits all day and all night! But seriously, she does a really good job!
I so enjoyed this story and actually wanted it to be true. Poor ole Jane, she was just a hot mess. She's living in a time when women are to behave so prim and proper and she's anything but. She's extremely bright and witty and her insightful commentary on the behaviors of the local gentry frequently scandalized her mother and other proper ladies of society while garnering chuckles from those smart enough to 'get her'.
This is a smartly written fantasy, it weaves real life facts about Jane Austen with a fun fictitious story that attempts to fill in some of the historical blanks (particularly dealing with Jane's hope for love in her life). She's a hot mess there too. Like a crazy, love sick high schooler at times. I just shook my head (but in a good way) cause, like I said...hot mess. It was a fun take on her life and I completely enjoyed it!!
I received a copy of this audiobook free of charge from audiobookblast in exchange for an unbiased review.
A Jane Austen Daydream by Scott Southard is by far the best Jane Austen "fan fiction" I've ever read or listened to. Reminiscent of the movie Becoming Jane starring Anne Hathaway from several years ago, this book is a loose biographical portrait of a pre-fame Jane Austen. Unlike that movie, Jane's "romance" with a young Irishman is only the first of several suitors and Tom Lafoy never regards Jane as anything more than a friend. Two other potential suitors for Jane - an arrogant pastor and a wealthy childhood friend - ask her to marry to them, neither of whom Jane holds much affection. Then one day while walking in Bath, Jane meets an American writer who is traveling in England with his brother's theater troupe. The conversation between them is immediately very comfortable, natural and spontaneous. It's as if they are kindred spirits.
Scott Southard does a marvelous job of weaving facts from Jane's real life (living in the small countryside village of Steventon) with fiction from her stories that we've grown to love and cherish. For example, three years after Jane's father refuses to give his consent to the American for her hand in marriage, Jane breaks down in front of her sister Cassandra telling her how heartbroken she's been over the years, which is almost identical to the colloquy between Eleanor and Marianne in Sense and Sensibility when she finds out that Edward is engaged. Another example is how Jane's mother is almost identical to Mrs. Bennett in mannerism (very much into gossip and one goal in mind - to marry off her daughters) and temperament (extremely excitable and "over the top"). I laughed out loud when I heard Cassandra tell Jane that she should publish her books as "Anonymous" because her brothers and mother all recognized themselves in her books and what would the neighbors think of such insights into their personal lives? Thankfully, Jane gets her happy ending in A Jane Austen Daydream, unlike her real life where she died a spinster at the age of 42.
I listened to the Audible version of this story narrated by Louisa Gummer who did a great job. Despite clocking in at almost 12 hours, she maintained different and consistent voices for all characters. Her narration definitely contributed to my enjoyment of this book. I received a copy of this audio book for free in exchange for an honest unbiased review.
I finished this listen a couple of days ago and spent some time thinking about how I would tell you why I liked this book so much. Because like it I did! It was written in a classic way, I consider it literary fiction, very much the style of writing in the days of Jane Austen.
The narrator, Louisa Gummer sets the tone of the story in the prologue and chapter 1 of the book. Her voice is mesmerizing with a rich alto quality. Her sentence cadence is perfect, enunciating clearly and using the words to create beauty in and of themselves. Her voice is well-matched to the words Scott D. Southard puts to pen.
I prized the unique beginning of this tale, how the author made me feel. Once we knew who the primary characters were, the curtain rises on stage, the cock crows and Jane and her family exist once again having breakfast while her father, Reverend Austen makes an announcement to his family.
The humorous tone of the story was brought to the fore from the first chapter. Because of the underlying humor of the story, it was additionally entertaining to listen to Ms. Gummer's voice with its expression of humor. She was very much a story teller, actively living the moment with her listeners.
The author took what history knows of Jane Austen’s life and very cleverly and amusingly propels us into Jane’s life, using his imagination in what he thought her life could have been.
History tells us that Jane’s older sister Cassandra was her closet friend and this is well portrayed in the story. The narrator used a sweet, patient voice for Cassandra, a person who didn’t expect much from her life. Another friend of Jane’s was Harriet who loved Jane unconditionally. Ms. Gummer had a very cute voice for her, too, with a slight speech impediment. Harriet had trouble with her w sounds. They sounded like r’s.
I was laughing so hard in some of the dialog from Mrs. Austen. She was quite the busy body of the village. Once you understand what type of person she is, (you do from the first chapter), you cannot help but laugh at how artfully the dialog is handled by Ms. Gummer. Her comedian background and wit really brought this part of the story alive. I’m sure my reading it wouldn’t have done this scene its due.
Readers who enjoy books that use Jane Austen’s characters in their writing will get much more from this book. We get to meet Jane Austen herself as she is writing her books and experience the moment when she finally becomes published. I applaud Scott D. Southard for this marvelous, delightfully written story which I place in literary fiction genre. I cried for Jane. I cried for another of the characters whom I can’t share his name—no spoilers here. I laughed at how the characters were described, acted and how outlandish some reacted to events. I’m sure this will be one of my better reads/listens this year and will stay long with me. A most laudable book with a laudable production. Bravo, bravo, bravo!
I am at that half a century mark in years. I enjoy audiobooks,cats,rats and most days my family,not necessarily in that order!lol
Love and matchmaking very similar to the books Jane Austen wrote is all that goes on in this book.I feel like I have read it before. Louisa Gummar is fine as narrator.
I was given this book for an honest review.
"Gave me a huge smile"
I'm not one to listen twice to an audiobook, but I thoroughly enjoyed this first time around. It left me feeling happy and smiling as I drove the car and listened. Louisa Gummer has a wonder melodious and warm tone that is delightful to listen to for long periods.
I enjoyed the idea that this could very well have been Jane Austen's beginnings before notoriety struck. The only thing that seemed incongruous with this wonderful replica regency-style piece was the author's use of his own name for a significant character, which took me out of the audio experience every time I heard it. Fortunately Louisa's real ability with characters and narration drew me swiftly back in.
I most enjoyed the wit which Jane was given throughout the book, and the constant struggle she had within society to 'fit in' for the sake of her family.
It was such a lovely listen that I often wished I had more time to listen in one go.
I would highly recommend this book as a charming, upbeat and 'make me feel happy' listen.
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