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Publisher's Summary

Perfect for fans of Jane Austen, this engrossing debut novel offers an unusual twist on the legacy of one of the world's most celebrated and beloved authors: Two researchers from the future are sent back in time to meet Jane and recover a suspected unpublished novel.

London, 1815: Two travelers - Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane - arrive in a field in rural England, disheveled and weighed down with hidden money. Turned away at a nearby inn, they are forced to travel by coach all night to London. They are not what they seem but rather colleagues who have come back in time from a technologically advanced future, posing as wealthy West Indies planters - a doctor and his spinster sister. While Rachel and Liam aren't the first team from the future to "go back", their mission is by far the most audacious: meet, befriend, and steal from Jane Austen herself.

Carefully selected and rigorously trained by The Royal Institute for Special Topics in Physics, disaster-relief doctor Rachel and actor-turned-scholar Liam have little in common besides the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in. Circumstances that call for Rachel to stifle her independent nature and let Liam take the lead as they infiltrate Austen's circle via her favorite brother, Henry.

But diagnosing Jane's fatal illness and obtaining an unpublished novel hinted at in her letters pose enough of a challenge without the continuous convolutions of living a lie. While her friendship with Jane deepens and her relationship with Liam grows complicated, Rachel fights to reconcile the woman she is with the proper lady 19th-century society expects her to be. As their portal to the future prepares to close, Rachel and Liam struggle with their directive to leave history intact and exactly as they found it...however heartbreaking that may prove.

©2017 Kathleen A. Flynn (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Fun But Lacking Character Depth

What made the experience of listening to The Jane Austen Project the most enjoyable?

The author clearly did significant research into the period, and did a good job of weaving historical factoids into the story. That gave it a certain richness in places that was quite enjoyable.

What about Saskia Maarleveld’s performance did you like?

She did well giving personality to some characters that were otherwise a bit flat.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I chose this book for an extended car trip (6 hours each way). I wasn't enthralled by the story, but content enough that I was satisfied for the drive. It did it's job, but I don't know if I'll listen to it again.

Any additional comments?

Flynn's writing is solid, but the book never really pushes that far above mediocre. For me, the big thing holding the book back from excellent was lack of character development. The writer was never really able to make me care very much about her creations, and some of their decisions were simply baffling. SPOILER: For example, the main character's decision to have a sexual relationship with a man posing as her brother, despite the fact discovery would ruin everything she's supposed to care about most. It was not only extremely dumb, but also seemingly out of character for someone whose biggest character trait thus far was their devotion to saving Jane and not screwing up her job/the time continuum. There were other things like that which made the characters and their decision making seems shallow. END SPOILER.All that being said, it's still much better than a lot of the Austen-related books pumped out in recent years. It's a good beach read—just don't expect a lot more than that.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good-ish

I've fantasized about time travel, so glimpsing what daily life in 1815 would have been like was a blast. The details of Jane Austen's life, her friends and family, was the best part of the book. And yet it was easy to stop listening to, and I wasn't in a rush to pick it up again. The story of our main characters, the time travelers, just wasn't gripping. My mind wandered, and I'd have to back up. Though it had a fantastic premise, the book was strangely dull.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • H Price
  • Jackson, MIchigan
  • 05-18-17

Will There Be A Sequel?

Any additional comments?

In the feeling of Jodi Taylor's St Mary's series and the All Souls trilogy from Deborah Harkness, Kathleen A Flynn brings us a sweet, rich time travelling tale. Rachel, a humanitarian physician, and Liam, an actor-scholar, travel back to 1815 to save Jane Austen's letters to her sister Cassandra and possibly bring back her manuscript for a lost novel.

The story is a love letter to Austen -- the author's passion for Austen and her times helps bring the era to life. And I'm hoping for a sequel -- will Rachel and Liam return to the 19th century to explore the mystery surrounding the Bronte sisters? I certainly hope so.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Left me feeling flat.

The Austens seemed authentically and humorously portrayed. The author has really done her research on the Austen family and the era. I was a bit leery with the portrayal of Henry Austen, but Jane herself was excellent. However, the protagonist wasn't as vividly drawn. Rachel seemed rather superficial for most of the book. I also couldn't buy into the attraction between her and her "colleague". Liam seemed like a placeholder more than a properly fleshed-out character.

The last chapter left me with mixed feelings about the book, which I was enjoying for the most part, in spite of the main character not being very interesting. The narrator does a great job reading the book.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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expected much more

it was ok read, only. I really liked the time travel and cross- time cultural exchange. however it feels like so much more could have happened. I was hoping for more and I didn't read any reviews for this so the plotline was disappointing.
the narrator seemed to do an ok job going between accents. I've heard better though coming fro diverse background myself.
I did enjoy the writing, some of the dialogue seemed to try to be reminiscent of Austen creating the feel, but it just didn't quite do it, as in take me there.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful Story

Loved the story and the narration. And a must read for all Jane Austen lovers!!!

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    4 out of 5 stars
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What if Jane Austen had lived longer???

Interesting concept and a new take on Jane Austen fan fiction. Two modern day scientists go back in time in an attempt to prevent Jane's untimely death. Parts of it made me think of the movie Becoming Jane starring Anne Hathaway, which I loved. I will definitely listen to this again and loved the narration.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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The Premise is Better than the Execution

This novel caters to the Jane Austen fan, and the initial premise easily draws in the willing reader. However, it's not long before you start questioning why the project managers from the future chose to send this particular team for such an important mission. We never really get an answer to that question, nor are we clued in as to why the retrieval of a lost Austen manuscript is so important to rectifying the timeline of the dystopian world from which the protagonists come. Though it was fun to witness these time travelers interact with the Austen family, at times some family members came off as caricatures, particularly Henry Austen. I feel like the ending got away from the author a little bit, but I don't want to give you too many spoilers. While I enjoyed the romp -- especially the first half of the story -- this isn't a book I will read again any time soon.

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Well worth the read

I really enjoyed this book. I read all genres but particularly like time travel books. This book made me want to go read Jane Austen’s books. It you like time travel it’s a novel approach
AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent Premise & Writing Suffers With Disappointing Narrator

I already had this book in print and Kindle format, so I was excited to hear the audio version. Unfortunately, as much as I enjoyed the writing, reaearch and premise of this time travel back to meet Jane Austen, the audio performance was poor. Lack of range in terms of acting and giving each character a distinctive, different sound made it seen like Ms. Maarleveld was straining her vocal chords simply to speak. The constant grating quality was like listening to nails raking across a chalkboard. Her performance for the two lead characters (male and femake) were almost identical - making it hard to know who was talking. She was not consistent with the accents needed. Most of the time it sounded like she was losing her voice altogether. Not enjoyable listening by any means and I question why she was even retained as the narrator. Quite honestly, I will never purchase another book narrated by this person. She pretty much ruined a great book that I enjoyed in print.