Friday, April 10, 2009

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

Being a longtime fan of Jane Austen's work, I found The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen to be a pleasant and satisfying read. Because not a lot is really known about Jane Austen and because I love stories about lost treasures and documents, the premise of finding Austen's secret memoirs in a trunk immediately drew me in.

I loved how the author created the parallels between Sense and Sensibility and the events in Jane's own life, and the customs and limitations on women during that time infuriated me as I was reading. Jane, her sister, and her mother were left virtually penniless and homeless when Jane's father died, and they had to rely on the goodwill of her brothers.

And of course, the love story between Jane and Mr. Ashford was heartbreaking, which is my one quibble with the book. I like happy endings, and you knew from the very beginning that things were not going to work out. Every time Jane expressed happiness, you knew something was ultimately going to happen to keep them apart. Just when you thought they were finally going to be together forever, Jane sacrificed her own chance at happiness to give Mr. Ashford what she thought was the life he deserved.

Did anyone else feel this way about the doomed love story? How did you feel about women's rights or the lack thereof?


Lenika said...

As an indian woman with some strict and old fashioned relatives, I actually found Jane's life very liberal for a single woman. She and her sister could visit friends in other towns on their own and also have their own salaries without actually working. I found it refreshing that while spinsterhood wasn't something to aspire to, the woman weren't ostracized for being single. Goes to show how old fashioned some Indian values are eh!

Jill said...

Thanks for putting that into perspective. While many countries have come a long way in the area of women's rights, there are still many today that have a long way to go.

ReadingTub said...

I love Jane Austen, and it broke my heart that I could not fit it into the schedule to read last month. It sounds like a perfect read for summer at the pool ... my home away from home!