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Just Jane by Nancy Moser
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247546,499 (3.85)7
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    The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James (writemeg)
    writemeg: Another wonderful novel based on the life of Austen -- this time with a wonderful, believable love interest.
  2. 00
    Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler (writemeg)

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Nancy Moser paints a bittersweet yet hopeful portrait of Jane Austen, in her search of self. An enjoyable blend of historical fact and fiction. ( )
  JSilverwood | Aug 27, 2016 |
Jane Austen of course is legend to us today. Although I have heard some historical discrepancies from one or two things in this novel of her life, I really see this as a depiction that is the most true to how I see Jane's life. [author: Nancy Moser] did a wonderful job bringing the light of Jane to a realistic picture for me and I could imagine every scene of her story. At first I was reading on a depressed note, thinking of the Jane movies I have seen recently just knowing that it will end with her death. At the end of the novel I was quite pleased with the way that Nancy arranged things. I believe this is the way that things should be. Jane should be missed surely, but not pitied. She would not want that I think. But I do believe she claps for joy each time someone else on our earth discovers the words that she has left to share with us all. ( )
  cherryblossommj | Dec 13, 2009 |
Just Jane, what is there to say about this Nancy Moser Novel? Well I shall start by saying I loved it. I have always been a fan of Jane Austen, how can one not? The work speaks to everyone, and well I will say I am with millions of women I love Fitzwilliam Darcy, even before he was on film by Colin Firth. But as much as I love her works I will admit I didn’t know much about Jane Austen as herself. Perhaps that is how she would have wanted it, as according to the portrayal by Moser; she was a woman who preferred to keep to herself. But you can not help but be sucked in when you read Just Jane.

It is a fictional account of Jane’s life, but it stays as true to fact as possible (I have since been researching it’s in my nature) and is written fantastically. We follow Jane through her life, her chances to marry that she declined, and her family’s ups and downs we are there through it all. We see the good Jane and the bad Jane. She was a fantastic Aunt, but a very critical person. She enjoyed going to balls, and yet she couldn’t stand most of the people either, a walking talking contradiction my kind of person!

If you know anything about Jane Austen anything at all, you will love this book. Nancy Moser does a fantastic job of telling the story of the woman who wanted to be alone and yet didn’t. Who gave her life to her work. Her life was her work. And we will see bits of Jane in all of our favorite characters and some of her family too. And of course you will see just when her work was truly appreciated, while she was acclaimed well enough when the works came out it was not until the 1900’s when she truly became appreciate for what we know her as today. ( )
  jeffersonsambrosia | Jun 5, 2009 |
Jane Austen. A name most readers and movie viewers are familiar with. Who is not associated with her works? Very few I would imagine. If you have only watched the movies – Emma, Pride and Prejudice and Mansfield Park amongst others, I strongly encourage you to obtain Austen’s original novels. Her writing is rich, intricate and incorporates a far broader vocabulary than most modern titles. As such, author Nancy Moser has taken on a task that would cause a lesser author to tremble, producing a “bio-novel”, a biographical novel of Jane Austen’s life.

Austen is arguably one of the most renowned female authors, her books are continuously in print and several film adaptations have been made; to flesh out her life through a novelization is a dangerous task. When an author is so beloved passions are certain to run high, and it will be impossible to please everyone. Each lover of Jane’s work will hold an imagined sketch of her character in his/her heart. Moser must certainly count her blessings for the letters that remain from Austen’s prolific correspondence with family and friends, as well as the biographies that have been written which provided Moser with a basic framework upon which to build.

Written in the first person, Jane begins telling us her story as an adult. This choice of narrative provides a deeply personal feel to the story. Readers who have been been reluctant to read formal biographies of Jane Austen by imagining dry, impersonal recitations of dates and details have nothing to fear here. Very little is described of her childhood (which would have made for fascinating reading), allowing the focus to dwell upon the details of her adult years.

Austen is already in the habit of writing for her own delight and that of her family as a young woman though her work will not be published until much later in her life. The reader is introduced to the large Austen clan fairly promptly, much like some of Jane’s own works where many of the characters are related in some way. Thankfully a cast of characters, their spouses and number of children, is provided at the beginning of the book in the case of confusion. I utilized this ready resource on several occasions to sort out all of the relations while I was coming to know the family characters. A similar epilogue is provided, detailing the historically accurate fates of other characters that we have become familiar with over the course of the novel.

As I began reading of Jane’s years as a young woman I felt that I was entering familiar waters. Though Moser has not aimed to emulate Austen’s distinct writing voice there is a shade of her style to be found in the text. Moser chooses to use some of the now obsolete spellings that Jane was familiar with, as well as words no longer commonly in use that Austen deftly employed in her own work. Moser manages to keep this historical writing style firmly in place throughout the book. I do wonder though, if the word “wannabe” was in use during the nineteenth century. This one word is the only instance I can point to and wonder if it is out of time, I commend Moser on maintaining this level of consistency.

Further enhancing the authenticity of this bio-novel, Moser incorporates excerpts from Jane’s novels and personal correspondence throughout Just Jane. They appear as she is editing her work, reading letters of great import from relatives and quoting humorously the words of her own characters. The importance of her writing is made clear as she totes it with her on her many journeys across the countryside. Her family’s relocation from Steventon to Bath however, throws her into a long period where she no longer writes.

This period is the most difficult section of the book to read. Jane becomes bitingly cynical, judgmental and centered upon herself. With few letters existing from this time period (Jane’s sister Cassandra burned her most revealing letters) Moser is left to fill in the blanks as to how Jane must have felt during this period when she refused to write. Jane struggles with the lack of control she feels in her own life and does not deal with the changes she is forced to make gracefully. Her reactions, not at all idealized, present a very human and imperfect response to her trials.

Though Moser has included notes at the end of the book to provide readers with some sense of what is historically recorded and what she has inferred, it does remain unclear which emotions are verifiable by Jane’s own letters (whether from this period or not), and which are only fictional. As Jane was an author who dealt largely with the emotional currents of women, her own emotional state and opinions is of great interest to her readers, so some further elaboration would be a great help. One example is Jane’s disdain of large families and childbearing, was this her true opinion as expressed in any of her letters, or was it created? As the seventh of eight children, large numbers of nieces and nephews and being born into a family of faith I was very surprised to see this attitude arise repeatedly. I would love to learn more about the authenticity of this, and other opinions presented by Jane’s character. This uncertainty may drive readers to seek out Austen’s published letters to read more from her own hand.

The extended time of emotional trial comes to a conclusion upon Jane’s relocation to Chawton Cottage in Hampshire, not far from her native Steventon, along with her mother, sister and family friend. This re-settling seems to spark the creative flame; she once again begins writing, and comes in time to be published at long last. I believe that many readers would enjoy a more detailed analysis of this period of Jane’s life, more emphasis on the years leading to, and following her publication than on the times of emotional turmoil she experienced. In this telling of her life’s story, Jane comes into a stronger sense of who she is, and finds contentment in being Just Jane.

Printed by the Christian book publisher Bethany House, and written by a woman of faith, I was eager to see how Jane’s faith was portrayed. I was familiar with her status as the daughter of a pastor, but was entirely unfamiliar with how her faith played out in her life – God rarely makes an appearance in her own novels. Moser incorporates Jane’s belief in God throughout the story most naturally. Jane questions God, pleads with Him and at times must be content to rest in Him. Her faith-filled musings and references to God’s power are not at all stilted or obviously inserted; they blend beautifully into the text and never appear overtly “preachy” or moralizing. Due to the natural incorporation of Jane’s faith this title will be enjoyable for all Austen lovers regardless of their spiritual beliefs.

Just Jane is character-driven; the life of a single 19th-century woman of strong moral character does not make for an action-packed page-turner. It is most enjoyable when read slowly – savouring the development of relationships and emotional drama. A cup of tea, an open fireplace, or bathtub seem to be ideal locations to indulge in reading this title. As an Austen lover I felt that I was sitting down with a friend to learn more about her, to ask her questions – receiving both expected and surprising answers. Simply put - no devotee of Austen’s work will be able to resist this fresh, historically based foray into her life. ( )
  jenniferbogart | Sep 1, 2008 |
Just Jane
Nancy Moser
Bethany House Publishers

Any fans of Jane Austin's writings will be thrilled with this novel about Jane's life. Nancy Moser does a wonderful job in showing us the life of Jane Austin in Just Jane. Moser introduces us to Jane at age 20 when she falls in love for the first time to Tom Lefory. This book is based on actual family letters and historical writings. This is Jane's coming of age story.

Jane spends her days reading, writing, and talking to her sister Cassandra, whom she is very close to. As readers we travel with Jane through family trials, hardships, broken hearts and deaths. But we also experience the joy and final success when she was finally recognized as an author. Unfortunately most of her notoriety was not until after her death at age 41.

This book was a comfortable friend, one I was sad to see end. I found Jane's life as entertaining, if not more so, than any characters in her book. ( )
  lrlwreath | Sep 23, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0764203568, Paperback)

Christy Award-winning author transports readers inside this witty and moving account of the life and times of the literary world's most beloved writer, Jane Austen.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:59:51 -0400)

Jane Austen lives simply in the English countryside with her beloved family, entertaining them with her stories and seeking romance. She never ventures far from her own corner of the world and struggles to find her place in it. Growing up in a clergyman's home gives Jane opportunities to observe human nature at its best--and worst.… (more)

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