The Jane Austen Book Club, Karen Joy Fowler

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Allegra’s Austen wrote about the impact of financial need on the intimate lives of women. If she’d worked in a bookstore, Allegra would have shelved Austen in the horror section.

I promised I would read this one and I did! My last complete read of 2013! I finished most of Austen this year finally and so I decided to indulge in a more modern novel with characters dwelling on many of the same concepts as I did.

The Jane Austen Book Club is comprised of characters Sylvia, Jocelyn, Bernadette, Prudie, Allegra, and Grigg. Each facing their own trials and tribulations in love and marriage. They pair themselves each with a book for what meeting to host, and with each Austen novel that is explored by the book club, readers become more privy to the private lives of the host.

This is a novel with not a lot that actually happens, but is by far the best novel I have read for Bookstravaganza with in-depth scrutinization of the characters. I loved it for that – it felt like reading little vignettes, each with their own personal charm. While the book lacked drama from the movie version, it still promoted a lot of psychological drama in the heads of the characters. It honestly made me want to write something like it – become entirely indulgent with character description for the simple sake of making them feel real to someone.

This novel also made me feel safe again. After reading so many brutally sad stories about either a terrible string of events, or selfish people without hearts or people who just become awful over time, this was a novel that was finally about people who are neither completely good or bad, just struggling like we all do at those times in our lives. It was a good novel to read before the start of a new year – I want the same sort of optimism embodied in the year 2014, for all of us creatures of love.

Books Read: 22

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