13 February 2013

The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen; Syrie James

The Missing Manuscript of Jane AustenThe Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen by Syrie James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Some types of predictable books annoy me. The types that don't are usually mysteries: for example, you know that Miss Marple or Annie Darling will solve the murder, that they'll employ the same old tactics, etc.. This falls into the "doesn't annoy" category for an entirely different reason - if you've read any Austen, you know that there's a pattern (of sorts) to her writing and a book that deviates from that just isn't Austen.

Here we have two Austen stories. The first, the titular "Missing Manuscript" is The Stanhopes, supposedly written in 1801/2 and lost during a visit by the Austens to Greenbriar. The second is the modern day finding of said manuscript. Yes, it's a little like Byatt's Possession, but done in a very nice Austenesque pastiche. The couples that are supposed to be together end up together, the villains get theirs, All Is Right in the end. As for the Manuscript, the author gets around it not being quite as good as Real Austen by making this a very early effort, written at least 10 years before Sense and Sensibility is published, and thus her talents haven't been polished yet.

ARC provided by publisher.

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