Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wonderful! My Review of Jane of Austin - by Hillary Manton Lodge

I really enjoyed this well-written, engaging story; I did not want to put it down!  I love stories based on Jane Austen's books and this one was a modern-day spin on Sense and Sensibility, with some references to her other books thrown in for good measure.  Jane and Celia Woodward become guardians to their younger sister, Margot, after their mother died when they were teenagers and their father came under investigation for his business practices and he decided to leave the country.  Celia is the more reserved, older sister and she lost her new job soon after the suspicions about her father came to light.  Jane decided to leave college so she and Celia could open a tea shop so they could support themselves and Margot.  Jane is passionate about tea, creating new blends and growing her own plants.  They also bake pastries.  Life goes along pretty well, especially for Celia as she's dating a great guy.  After a few years, their landlord dies and his nephew and his wife inherit the place and decide they're not going to give the girls a break on rent like their uncle.  (This wife also happens to be the sister to Celia's boyfriend.)  The girls can't afford the new rent, so try to find a place in San Francisco, but don't have any luck.  Celia and her boyfriend break up and Celia comes up with the idea to move to Austin, Texas.  They have a relative there who offers them a guest cottage and hope that they can make it there, so they decide to move.

The sisters start to drift apart as Jane feels left out when Celia won't talk about her break-up.  They can't seem to find a place to rent that has what they need and when a handsome musician rescues them on the road, Jane falls hard.  Someone else has their eye on Jane, too, as retired Marine Captain Callum Beckett meets her and is reminded of a long-ago love he had for a high school sweetheart.  Character is revealed as situations play out and not everyone is what they seem.

I loved the cute love story and the humor was in turn sarcastic and dry and made me laugh out loud. Jane and Callum were both wonderful.  She was funny and loyal and passionate about her tea and taking care of her family.  Callum was such an honorable guy, trying to make up for the wrong his brother had done and putting others before himself, even at great cost to himself.  I loved, too, that he wasn't perfect.  He suffered from nightmares from being overseas and had also lost part of his leg during a mission.  He also struggled with not feeling worthy, partly because of the way his dad and brother had treated him and partly because he blamed himself for the outcome of his mission.  There were yummy sounding recipes at the end of each chapter and wonderful quotes at the beginning.  It was interesting learning more about tea and I loved the conversations about food and music.  This was a clean story and mentions faith and prayer, but it didn't talk much about it.  I did wish for more of a spiritual message.  I'd highly recommend this story if you like romance, classics or just a good novel about relationships.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

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