If there’s one thing the wealth of Jane Austen fans want the rest of the world to know; it’s the fact that Syrie James must be the reincarnation of the prolific Austen, seeing as that her stories, writing style and absolute knowledge of Austen’s works and life, remains unparalleled.
A story within a story, this incredible novel begins with Samantha McDonough. This appealing character has currently taken a break from her librarian position back home to travel with her doctor ‘love’ across the pond so he can attend a medical conference. While her mate is busy, Samantha finds herself exploring her old stomping grounds of Oxford and thinking about what could have been different in her life if she’d decided to finish her dissertation. It is here where she stumbles across a two-hundred-year-old book of poetry, takes it back to her quaint little B&B, and comes across a hidden letter within its bindings. Her heart immediately goes into overdrive. Samantha is a huge fan of Jane Austen and she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the letter was written in Austen’s hand and speaks of a manuscript that went missing a long time ago – a manuscript that today’s world would kill to read.
Suffice to say, through a small whirlwind of events, Samantha finds herself traveling to the location that was mentioned in Jane’s letter – Greenbriar Estate. There, she meets up with the owner – Anthony Whitaker – (handsome, charming, yet more than a little miffed about his current monetary situation now that he’s saddled with this pricey estate). Even though he’s uninterested in Samantha’s quest, when she tells him that a missing Jane Austen manuscript could mean serious cash, he immediately changes from night to day and joins the search for Jane’s lost words.
When the discovery is made Anthony and Samantha sit back and read what Austen wrote so long ago, and another world is opened up to the reader that has them falling in love with a brand new tale. Rebecca Stanhope is the heroine and is distraught when her father, the rector, is accused of stealing funds and is made to step down from his post. Who takes over? A young, rich man who is cold, impolite, more than a bit condescending at times and, yes, beyond handsome. (Remind you of anyone?)
As the missing manuscript plays out, readers not only become riveted by the powerful modern-day story between a woman who wants to share a masterpiece with the masses versus a man who wants to gather the wealth; but they also become intrigued in an ‘Austen’ world where a hero and heroine fight their own battle of wills.
Although there are Jane lovers around the world, millions of romance aficionados will go absolutely crazy over this title, and it is because of the captivating work of Syrie James. Yet again, she has delivered a tale of beauty, intelligence, romance and reality all in one stunning book. This is a novel that deserves a standing ovation, and if Jane Austen were still with us – she would be the first one to applaud!
Until Next Time, Everybody,