My Jane Austen Summer: Book summary and reviews of My Jane Austen Summer by Cindy Jones

My Jane Austen Summer

A Season in Mansfield Park

by Cindy Jones

My Jane Austen Summer
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  • Published in USA  Mar 2011
    352 pages
    Genre: Novels

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About this book

Book Summary

A delightful novel about a contemporary woman's foray into the past during one magical summer spent re-enacting Jane Austen's Mansfield Park

Lily is a dreamer. In fact, her dreams of Jane Austen have gotten a little out of control. Not only has she just been let go of her job for reading Northanger Abbey when she should be doing work, she's taken to having an imaginary friend give her advice - Jane herself. This is all because Lily's been having some tough times. Her boyfriend has just abandoned her for another woman, for one thing.

So when she gets the amazing opportunity to travel to London to re-enact Austen's Mansfield Park she leaps at the chance. But though it seems like Lily will be escaping her troubles, the truth is she’ll begin facing - and dealing with - them... with a little help from Jane, of course!

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"While Jones does a credible job of creating a heroine in transition, Lily's process of self-realization isn't nearly as involving as the subplots, which is quite unfortunate, considering how much time is devoted to sussing out her issues." - Publishers Weekly

"A disappointing attempt at bringing a clever plot to life." - Library Journal

"An unfocused debut which dances uneasily around its central conflict." - Kirkus Reviews

"When one has read the six great Austen novels, and been through the juvenilia and the letters, and then reread and then reread the six again, one's only recourse is the company of others equally bereft. Cindy Jones's My Jane Austen Summer fills the gap with a nourishing Austen-soaked setting, a wonderfully surprising plot, and Lily, a delightfully peculiar heroine. By being so socially awkward, Lily won my heart. By loving Fanny Price best of all Austen heroines, she also wins my awe and admiration." - Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club

"A beautifully written novel full of surprises, with an unexpected heroine you'll not soon forget. Cindy Jones's deeply honest tale of a woman in search of herself carries you away on a literary adventure of the mind and heart, proving her maxim: books are indeed good for you." - Syrie James, author of The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

"A delightful story that takes us for a romp through the English countryside and into the wonderful world of Jane Austen. You can't help but root for Lily Berry, a refreshingly real heroine as she searches for herself in a novel and finds something quite unexpected." - Shilpi Somaya Gowda, author of Secret Daughter

The information about My Jane Austen Summer shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

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Kandi D. (Beaverton, OR)

Escape to the English countryside with Jane Austen!
This is a delicious novel for Jane Austen fans who just can’t get enough Jane. Lilly has plenty of reasons to run away from her miserable life in Texas. What better way to escape her troubles than to spend the summer in the English countryside reenacting her beloved Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. As she participates in the literary festival and becomes involved with the other organizers and actors Lilly, with the guidance of her invisible mentor Jane Austen herself, learns that she does have the strength to move forward with her life. I love a story where the protagonist grows as a person and I love Jane Austen. Highly recommended!

Darlene C. (Woodstock, il)

"My Cindy Jones"
Although I was somewhat worried I would be lost in this book as I have not read Mansfield Park, I was delighted to find that it didn’t matter. The synopsis of Mansfield Park at the beginning told me what I needed to know – I’m sure those who have read that book will find even more depth to this novel.
The plot follows a young woman, Lily, whose life is a mess. She has become so immersed in Jane Austen’s writings and Jane Austen, the person, that she seems to be living more in fantasy than reality – not a good way to live one’s life. “My Jane Austen” (as Lily refers to her) is always in her peripheral vision, guiding and commenting on Lily’s life. But this is not some supernatural story – it is only Lily’s way of coping. When things hit bottom in her real life in Texas, she escapes ( so she believes) into the world of Newton Priors, an English manor setting filled with literary types and actors who re-create Jane Austen novels for the tourists. For Lily, this seemingly ideal fulfillment of her fantasy of “living in a novel” instead becomes the stage for a slow process of self enlightenment and growth.
One of the main plot devices was both whimsical and ironic. Lily speaks often of how the characters in Jane Austen’s books never learn from their mistakes – you can read them over and over and they continue to do the same things in each reading. This is also true of Lily’s life – she makes the same mistakes over and over – until she actually starts “living in a novel”. Repeating the same scenes, both literary and in real life, all summer help her begin discovering herself.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book although at times I found Lily to be a bit too obtuse about herself. Some of the secondary characters lacked depth but were sufficient to carry the plot line.
This book has many layers and would lead to a wonderful book club discussion. In the novel there are many interpretations of Jane Austen, the person. Book club readers will find lively discussion in their varied interpretations of Lily. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys literature and multi-level novels.

Valerie B. (Westfield, IN)

My Jane Austen Summer by Cindy Jones
Amidst several personal crises, Lily Berry leaps at the chance to leave her life and live one of an idyllic Regency girl from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park during an annual British lit fest.

This element alone grabbed my attention from the start as I became enamored with Lily's quest to outrun her problems. Her journey into England and literature becomes one of self-discovery and change as she deals with the loss of her mother and many other significant life alterations. There's even a "Thornbirds-esque" plot twist that makes her character even more likeable!

I found myself rooting for her success from the start--all along wishing that her theory of escaping from life into a book were really that easy. It's amazing that this is Cindy Jones' first foray into novels as I don't find many authors who capture my attention from page 1 with their freshman attempt. My only "criticism" is that I wish the book would have had the same blatant "happy ending" that you know is coming at the end of an Austen book.

This, however, is perhaps Jones' moral to Lily's story: life is not literature. Yet, there is still that green light of hope shining away at the end of Lily's dock.

Kimberli M. (Jessup, MD)

A Good Read
I really enjoyed this book. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors. It was interesting how Jones interwove details of Mansfield Park into a modern story. The characters are well thought out and entertaining. I would recommend this book to others.

Liz M. (Morristown, NJ)

My Jane Austen Summer
This is a great book for lovers of Jane Austen. It combines a modern day woman's dilemma's with heroines situations from the novels, Mansfield Park in particular. This would be a fun book club read or a great beach read.

Barbara S. (Glen Ellyn, Illinois)

My Jane Austen Summer - A Season in Mansfield Park
Cindy Jones in her novel, My Jane Austen Summer – A Season in Mansfield Park- has written a very creative, but complex story of Lily, a great admirer of Jane Austen. Such an intense admirer, Cindy Jones has made Jane Austen Lily’s best friend referring to her as “My Jane Austen”, Lily’s imaginary friend, and Lily’s favorite book of Jane Austen’s is Mansfield Park. After reading all of Jane Austen’s novels, Lily takes an opportunity to go to England to participate in the presentation of a Literary Festival featuring Jane Austen’s book Mansfield Park.

In Author Insights, Extra and More....at the end of the novel, author Cindy Jones recommends that the reader should read or re-read all of Jane Austen’s six novels. This is potent advice.

My Jane Austen Summer – A Season in Mansfield Park is a compelling book, containing many interesting facts about Jane Austen and her literature.

...17 more reader reviews

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Cindy Jones was born in Ohio and grew up in small mid-western towns, reading for escape. She dreamed of living in a novel and wrote her first book in fifth grade. She is the winner of the Writer's League of Texas Manuscript Contest. Cindy has a BA from Mary Washington College and an MBA from the University of Houston. She lives with her family in Dallas where she has discovered that, through writing, it is entirely possible to live in a novel for a good part of each day.

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