Born from the pen of Syrie James, The lost memoirs of Jane Austen takes us in the famous Regency era author everyday life. Under the false pretext of a discovery of some documents, later revealed to be the secret diary of Austen, in her brother’s house, we learn of a part of her life that is not known to the public. The story that is told there is about a real Jane who lives emotions, and her love story, in a very deep way, just like the heroines of her novels, and like them she falls in love. Fictitious events take place in a real context; in fact, the writer has been very good to put the events of the love story of the protagonist within the known events of her life.
The author wants readers to believe that these events really happened in the writer’s life and that they inspired her works (especially Pride and prejudice and Sense and sensibility). In this regard, I particularly loved the encounter of the two main characters at Pembroke. Many call this the presumption of the book, but I like to see how carefully the author has managed to get to her goal, and even if it anticipates to the reader what will be the biggest turning point of the opera, I do not mind.
I read many austenesque books, but this is the first with the author as the main character; I really did not expect her to be painted so well, and that some sentences seemed to me her own.
Mr. Ashford is the sum of the heroes of Austen’s, he is presented as a true gentleman with solid principles. He very often seems Mr. Darcy, but mostly he resembles Edward Ferrars, especially as regards matters of honor. Even knowing that the author is dead as an “old maid”, the scenes between them were so full of affection and tenderness that I hoped until the end that there could be a happy ending for them. This book can be defined as the book with “a beautiful shattered illusion” and I sometimes like to imagine that all this really happened, and that Jane Austen has been marked by her love affair with Ashford so she managed to write works full of sentiments but that do not go beyond the courtship and marriage.
Even the secondary characters are very well characterized, some similar to Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins, who gave perhaps the highest peaks of comedy in the book.
The reading was really fluent, the author’s style is very simple and sometimes seems to emulate that of Jane Austen’s one, also the translation is well done. The story, then, is so beautiful that I really did hope that even if it did not had a happy ending, Austen falled in love seriously and wanted to give her characters the happy ending she could not enjoy. Although, for the condition of the woman of the time, I suspect that if Jane had married, probably she would not be able to write those masterpieces that gave her immortality.
Named by the Los Angeles Magazine “The queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings“, Syrie James is the acclaimed author of nine novels that have been translated into 18 languages.
She’s been honoured with various awards such as the Best Book of the Year by The review romance.
She lives in Los Angeles and is a member of the Writers Guild of America.