How could the
never-married Jane Austen write so perceptively about courtship and
love? is a question often pondered. In this book Syrie James imagines
that Austen did in fact know firsthand of what she wrote. The premise
is that a trunk discovered in a home once owned by Austen's brother
contained memoirs that the beloved author wrote several years after the
events described. In this particular volume, Austen relates how she
met, won, and then gave up the love of her life.
charming, kind, intelligent, and wealthy Frederick Ashford supposedly
came into Austen's life, she was 33, well past the age when Anne
had resigned herself to spinsterhood, and she had put her writing away
for years. Before Frederick ever declares his love, he has discovered
Jane's secret desire (to be a published author) and inspires her to
pick up her pen.
many spinoffs of Jane Austen's work and life, this is one of the best.
It is both fact and fiction. It places Austen where she actually lived
and among real relatives and friends. The fiction part is the invented
romance. In a witty style that admirably imitates Austen's own, James
very cleverly inserts pieces of the novels into the life she imagines
for Austen. Ashford has a dilemma like Edward Ferrars's (Sense and Sensibility), an
estate as grand as Mr. Darcy's (Pride
and Prejudice), and the bearing of Mr. Knightly (Emma).
Where The Lost Memoirs diverges from an Austen novel is the conclusion: Jane does not live happily ever after with her Frederick. James devises a plausible reason for the lovers' parting, giving readers a bittersweet ending that still wallows in romance.
Home My reviews My friends' reviews