Book Review: The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner

The Jane Austen SocietyFrom a young age, I have always been fascinated with Jane Austen and her stories. Not knowing the full history of the period in which she lived in at the time, I was at first, drawn to the characters relationships with their families, friends and town  people. Then as I got older, I became more aware of the romantic interests, social aspect and the education and roles of women of that time. That is when I realized how important stories like Austen’s are to society.

Like Austen, my Father was a minister, He’s retired now but the connection on that score and her satirical writing reminds me so much of my own experiences in witnessing all sorts of interesting people growing up in churches and our local communities.

I’ve read all Austen’s published stories multiple times and read many re-telling’s of her books, and have seen all sorts of different types of film adaptations. Not one of those has captured my attention like The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner. The author touches on an interesting area about Austen’s life and in such a way, I felt as if the author had read my mind on a few things I thought about growing up. Especially about Austen’s relationship with her sister Cassandra and why maybe she burned many of Jane’s letters…

Jenner’s story brings together people who are different in occupation, and life circumstances but they share a common love of Jane Austen herself and her work. Their passion and goal are to preserve both Jane Austen’s final home and her legacy. What they find in their search touches on a little what I mentioned above- though that is all I will say about that.

Much like you will find in Austen’s stories, The Jane Austen Society explores human conditions of the heart, love interests, community and enduring friendships.  I felt such an intense connection with the many of the characters in the story, as if they were close friends and family. This story is heartfelt and deeply enduring so much so that I came away with not wanting the story to end and a longing to sit around a fire and have a long conversation with these noble people and the author who told their story.

When you finish reading The Jane Austen Society, be sure to read the Author notes at the end!

I’ve rated this book five stars!

Stephanie Hopkins

Layered Pages

I was given a galley copy through NetGalley by the publishers for an honest review.

Another relevant post I write about The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner HERE

More About The Book: 

The Jane Austen Society
by Natalie Jenner
St. Martin’s Press
General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction
Pub Date 26 May 2020

Description

One hundred and fifty years ago, Chawton was the final home of Jane Austen, one of England’s finest novelists. Now it’s home to a few distant relatives and their diminishing estate. With the last bit of Austen’s legacy threatened, a group of disparate individuals come together to preserve both Jane Austen’s home and her legacy. These people—a laborer, a young widow, the local doctor, and a movie star, among others—could not be more different and yet they are united in their love for the works and words of Austen. As each of them endures their own quiet struggle with loss and trauma, some from the recent war, others from more distant tragedies, they rally together to create the Jane Austen Society.

A powerful and moving novel that explores the tragedies and triumphs of life, both large and small, and the universal humanity in us all, The Jane Austen Society is destined to resonate with readers for years to come.

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(All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

Cover Crush: The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse

The Key to EverythingI love vintage images and this one is really atmosphereic. I like reading period pieces and this one looks good even though it has a sad tone to it in the description. The genre is romance and I normally don’t read those kind-of stories, but I will be keeping my eye on this one. -Stephanie Hopkins

The Key to Everything by Valerie Fraser Luesse

Revell

Romance

Pub Date 02 Jun 2020

Description

Peyton Cabot’s fifteenth year will be a painful and transformative one. His father, the heroic but reluctant head of a moneyed Savannah family, has come home from WWII a troubled vet, drowning his demons in bourbon and distancing himself from his son. A tragic accident shows Peyton the depths of his parents’ devotion to each other but interrupts his own budding romance with the girl of his dreams, Lisa Wallace.

Struggling to cope with a young life upended, Peyton makes a daring decision: He will retrace a journey his father took at fifteen, riding his bicycle all the way to Key West, Florida. Part declaration of independence, part search for self, Peyton’s journey will bring him more than he ever could have imagined–namely, the key to his unknowable father, a reunion with Lisa, and a calling that will shape the rest of his life.

Through poignant prose and characters so real you’ll be sure you know them, Valerie Fraser Luesse transports you to the storied Atlantic coast for a unique coming-of-age story you won’t soon forget.

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Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

MigrationsI’m currently reading two books right now but this story took front and center in the first page. I spent the better part of the evening-yesterday- reading it and it was a struggle to put it down to sleep. I’m half way through and it’s all I can think about. This story has ceased hold of my heart. It’s the story for the ages and a story that I want to shout from the roof tops about how extraordinary and evoking it is. I can’t remember the last time I have been transported and completely immersed in the characters lives. It’s as if the character’s hopes, dreams, longing, plight is your own. This is the story and the writing I have been waiting for! -Stephanie Hopkins
 
Pub Date 04 Aug 2020
Franny Stone has always been a wanderer. By following the ocean’s tides and the birds that soar above, she can forget the losses that have haunted her life. But when the wild she loves begins to disappear, Franny can no longer wander without a destination. She arrives in remote Greenland with one purpose: to find the world’s last flock of Arctic terns and follow them on their final migration. She convinces Ennis Malone, captain of the Saghani, to take her onboard, winning over his eccentric crew with promises that the birds she is tracking will lead them to fish.
 
As the Saghani fights its way south, Franny’s new shipmates begin to realize that she is full of dark secrets: night terrors, an unsent pile of letters, and an obsession with pursuing the terns at any cost. When the story of her past begins to unspool, Ennis and his crew must ask themselves what Franny is really running toward—and running from.

Book Review: Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters by Emily Carpenter

Reviving he hawthorne sistersAbout the Book:

Expected publication: October 20th 2020 by Lake Union Publishing

Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…

Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.

Now, to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?

My Thoughts:

With a dual time line, one of the main themes to the story is about finding out Dove’s life back in the 1930’s and Eve must uncover a mystery in Dove’s past to protect her family. Not everything is what it seems and the more she uncovers, the more the story unfolds and Eve questions if she can trust the people around her.

There is a good flow to the story and the dual time-line worked for me. I was also interested in the theme of uncovering your family’s past. Throughout history and to this day people in all cultures have been interested in where they came from and so forth.

For me, the mystery would have had more depth to it if the Dove’s and Steadfast Coe scenes were fleshed out a bit more than they were. I feel like there was more focus on the revivals more than anything.

I think that Althea, Griff and Eve make a great team and would love to read more stories based around them.

I have to say when reading a story, I want to make a connection to the characters or at least one of them and that didn’t happen for me in this story. Overall it is a good story but I really wasn’t invested in the characters.

I thought it was really neat how the author added the old hymns throughout the book. That was a nice touch and has brought back a lot of fond memories for me.

I have rated this story three stars and I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

Stephanie Hopkins

 

Cover Crush: A Saint from Texas by Edmund White

Cover: I like the simplicity of this book cover and the sketch-like drawing of the image. Cover layouts doesn’t always have be heavy-if you will- or bright with contrast to make a statement.

Premise: Two sisters from humble beginnings and decades of life changing experiences and what they make of it sounds intriguing.

Stephanie Hopkins

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A Saint from TexasA Saint from Texas

by Edmund White

Bloomsbury Publishing

Pub Date 04 Aug 2020

Description

From Edmund White, a bold and sweeping new novel that traces the extraordinary fates of twin sisters, one destined for Parisian nobility and the other for Catholic sainthood.

Yvette and Yvonne Crawford are twin sisters, born on a humble patch of East Texas prairie but bound for far more dramatic and tragic fates. Just as an untold fortune of oil lies beneath their daddy’s land, both girls harbor their own secrets and dreams-ones that will carry them far from Texas and from each other. As the decades unfold, Yvonne will ascend the highest ranks of Parisian society as Yvette gives herself to a lifetime of worship and service in the streets of Jericó, Colombia. And yet, even as they remake themselves in their radically different lives, the twins find that the bonds of family and the past are unbreakable.

Spanning the 1950s to the recent past, Edmund White’s marvelous novel serves up an immensely pleasurable epic of two Texas women as their lives traverse varied worlds: the swaggering opulence of the Dallas nouveau riche, the airless pretension of the Paris gratin, and the strict piety of a Colombian convent. For nearly half a century, Edmund White’s work has revitalized American literature, blithely breaking down boundaries of class and sexuality, and A Saint From Texas is one of his most joyous, gorgeously written, and piercing works to date.

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(Images may be subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work, photos and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)

 

 

Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters by Emily Carpenter

Last week I started reading the (ARC) book below and so far I’m really enjoying the premise. Emily Carpenter is among my favorite Southern Writers. Her characters are electric and this story has the Pastoral Gothic feel of the rural areas of Alabama. Carpenter also portrays that the south holds tight to their traditions. I feel it is weaved through the story marvelously from what I’ve read so far.

I’m taking my time with this story and look forward to writing my review and sharing it with you all. -Stephanie Hopkins

Reviving the Hawthorn SistersLake Union Publishing

Pub Date 20 Oct 2020

Description

The bestselling author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls returns to uncover a faith healer’s elusive and haunted past.

Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…

Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.

Now, to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?

Ephemera & Mixed Media

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! The past two days, I created a few art pieces, made two journal pages and chilled out with shows on the tube. I may have enough ephemera and embellishments to last me several journals at this point but I can’t stop making them!

I used watercolors and watercolor paper for these backgrounds. After the paint dried, I used Tim Holtz Inks to create my image with Clear Stamps. The stamps are from various craft supply companies. There are a few here that I will need to fussy cut but it shouldn’t be a problem. I’m really pleased with how they came out. Do you prepare your Ephemera ahead of time? What are some of the techniques you use? There are so many different ways in creating them.

These two pieces come from a larger Master Board I painted on Saturday using a watercolor paper and acrylic paint I’m keeping the remaining pieces for future projects.

This piece came from a master board I created last week. Some of you might remember that project.

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Additional pieces I made.

Here are two books that I recently acquired that I’m hoping to get to soon. Can’t wait!

Be sure to check out my friend and fellow blogger’s post about Journaling Life: Anatomy of a Journal Entry!  -Stephanie Hopkins

(Images may be subjected to copyright. All book reviews, interviews, guest posts, art work, photos and promotions are originals. In order to use any text or pictures from Layered Pages, please ask for permission from Stephanie.)