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My Jane Austen Summer

A Season in Mansfield Park

by Cindy Jones

My Jane Austen Summer by Cindy Jones X
My Jane Austen Summer by Cindy Jones
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  • Catherine M. (Grand Forks, ND)
    My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park by Cindy Jones
    If you consider yourself a Janite (i.e., Jane Austen aficionado) and love "Mansfield Park," this book may be of interest to you. Through one of her characters—an English teacher, Omar—Cindy Jones readily acknowledges that “Austen’s work doesn’t adapt well or easily” (p. 37). However, Jones resolves this issue through her protagonist’s (Lily’s) conceptual confidante, “My Jane Austen.” Jones notes that we each have our own “My Jane Austen” through which we filter the 18th-19th century author’s work. And, it is through an understanding of and relationship with our own “My Jane Austen” that we will make interpretations about the meaningfulness of this novel. Overall, an interesting read.
  • Wendy E. (Mechanicsville, VA)
    My Jane Austen Summer
    When her mother dies and her boyfriend breaks up with her, Lily Berry retreats into books. After being fired from her job for reading, she seeks solace in England with Literature Live, a novel re-enactment that her local Indie bookseller is involved with. Her dream of living in Mansfield Park as her favorite Austen heroine, Fanny Price, is quickly dashed as she comes to understand the social hierarchy of the actors, academics and volunteers involved with the production. This is certainly a book about using literature as an escape, but Lily is able to realize that regardless of the setting, she is never the protagonist in her own novel/life. As she struggles to understand her self and make sense of her situation, "her" Jane Austen is a shadowy figure in the periphery, offering looks of encouragement and consternation. Lily is a great character - a dash of Bridget Jones, Lizzie Bennet and Fanny Price. This is definitely a fun, engaging read for those who are Austen fanatics and those who are not!
  • Skye (St Louis, MO)
    Mixed Reaction
    I just recently started reading Jane Austen and Jane Austen-related books and was excited to get this one. The main plot line seemed interesting, but I found there were too many departures to side/background stories that were not value-added to convince me to really like the book. Would I recommend it? Probably would, but only as a light, quick read for easy entertainment.
  • Rita H. (Centennial, CO)
    My Jane Austen Summer
    One feels a bit sorry for Lily who never seems to get it right in the romance department. Her love affair with Jane Austen is also slightly askew. But, she has great hopes for her summer in England with a cast re-living Mansfield Park. This book is a relaxing read and perfect for the beach or a snow day. I would recommend it to the reader who wants an escape book or a sweet story.
  • Stephanie W. (Hudson, OH)
    If you have to ask...
    At one point in this novel, the protagonist, Lily, turns to a friend and asks, "Am I needy?" He responds that "if you have to ask..." Well this book made me feel like I was that friend, uncomfortable in answering a question that is obvious to everyone else. Lily has plenty of reasons to be needy. She has just lost her mother, her boyfriend and her confidence in her father. She believes that living in a Jane Austen Novel and imagining Jane as her mentor, friend and confidant will help her come to grips with her life. It should have been a fun read, but I just got tired of dealing with her. The book has a plot full of exciting happenings and kept me reading despite my disdain for our heroine. But if you are a Jane Austen fan, I think there are better books for your book club to find.
  • Elizabeth P. (Lower Burrell, PA)
    Have to be a Jane Austen Fan
    Three losses in her life....the loss of her mother, the loss of her job, and the loss of her boyfriend. What else could happen, hopefully something good? And something good did happen....Lily was going to London for the summer to participate in Literature Live. How would she afford it? She wasn't sure, but she had to attend and would think of some creative way to make the money she needed for the plane fare.

    When Lily arrived at Newton Priors, she had no place to stay since she wasn't in the elite group so she seized one of the actress's rooms that hadn't shown up....what a mistake that was to have to share the room with Bets. Bets turned out to be one of the stars, unreliable, and also a thief.

    Bets's unreliability helped Lily get on the stage for one brief moment, but then Lily was relegated to be the tea-theater host. Lily also found someone to replace her old boyfriend, but there were contingencies and pain attached to him...just like all aspects of her life had always been.

    Lily was glad she had "Jane Austen" around to help her solve some of the problems. She did wonder about Jane, though - "Jane Austen had secrets.........And she never told me. I would have told her something that important. I told her everything. Perhaps we weren't as close as I thought. Perhaps the person in my peripheral vision wasn't Jane Austen at all." Page 289

    The book was not bad….the ending was memorable, but the book didn't have much action. Lily’s flashbacks and memories of her mother were very touching, and her enthusiasm about Jane Austen was contagious, but I guess you really have to be a true Jane Austen fan to pick up on all the little nuances and the excitement. Rating 3/5.
  • Joanne V. (Towanda, PA)
    I loved all of Jane Austen's books, but.....
    I was so disappointed in this book, since I very much looked forward to reading it. I am not sure why, but Lily was extremely annoying and I could have cared less about her and her foray into living "Mansfield Park" and the other characters just equally annoying. I think anyone who loves Jane Austen's novels wouldn't think much of this one.

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