My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park

( 14 )

Overview

Lily has squeezed herself into undersized relationships all her life, hoping one might grow as large as those found in the Jane Austen novels she loves. But lately her world is running out of places for her to fit. So when her bookish friend invites her to spend the summer at a Jane Austen literary festival in England, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself.

There, among the rich, promising world of Mansfield Park reenactments, Lily finds people whose longing to live in a ...

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Overview

Lily has squeezed herself into undersized relationships all her life, hoping one might grow as large as those found in the Jane Austen novels she loves. But lately her world is running out of places for her to fit. So when her bookish friend invites her to spend the summer at a Jane Austen literary festival in England, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself.

There, among the rich, promising world of Mansfield Park reenactments, Lily finds people whose longing to live in a novel equals her own. But real-life problems have a way of following you wherever you go, and Lily's accompany her to England. Unless she can change her ways, she could face the fate of so many of Miss Austen's characters, destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.

My Jane Austen Summer explores how we fall in love, how we come to know ourselves better, and how it might be possible to change and be happier in the real world.

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Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Brant
“Austen lovers everywhere will delight in Lily’s summer adventure and wish Cindy Jones had cast them in a role, too, so they could play a part in this whimsical literary treat.”
Lynn Shepherd
“An invitation to get lost in Austen all over again. Janeites will have great fun watching how Cindy Jones cleverly interweaves a very modern romance with the characters, themes, and scenes of Austen’s masterpiece”
Shilpi Somaya Gowda
“A delightful story that takes us for a romp through the English countryside and into the wonderful world of Jane Austen. You can’t help but root for Lily Berry, a refreshingly real heroine as she searches for herself in a novel and finds something quite unexpected.”
Stephanie Barron
“An indulgent escape for anybody who has ever wished they could live in an Austen novel...poignant, funny, and as sharply observant of human foibles as the great Jane herself.”
She Knows
“Whether you are a Jane Austen super fan or a hopeless romantic, Cindy Jones’ debut novel will sweep you off your feet.”
Deseret News
“My Jane Austen Summer” is packed with rich plot, detailed characters and elaborate settings…a literary feast for Austen fans.”
dolcedolce.com
“Austen lovers and romantics won’t have had this much fun since Bridget Jones’s Diary.”
Marie Claire
“Jones’ Austenish charm dances through each chapter, causing you fall in love with Lily right from the first few pages while empathizing with the ever complicated issues of her life.”
Bookreporter.com
“This is an amazing debut for Cindy Jones...My Jane Austen Summer is worth every word on the page; I suggest you pick up a copy because you will love it.”
Library Journal
Lily Berry lost her mother, her boyfriend, and her job, all in the past few months. In an attempt to change the downward spiral of her life, Lily decides to abandon her troubles in Texas while she plays out her fantasy of "living in a book" in England. Vera, owner of Lily's local bookstore, has offered her the chance to participate in a live production of Lily's favorite novel, Jane Austen's Mansfield Park. Too bad Lily doesn't know about the troubles Vera and her husband are dealing with in producing the festival and, even worse, that there is no part for her. VERDICT It's difficult to understand how the multiple, wide-ranging story lines are meant to mesh, and readers are left confused as to what's important. Lily's childish attitude that everyone is out to get her and no one wants her to be happy and her alternating between innocent ignorance and überorganized, determined spunkiness add to this debut novel's unfocused feeling. A disappointing attempt at bringing a clever plot to life.—Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH
Kirkus Reviews - Kikus Reviews
A young Texan on the run from bad relationships, familial and otherwise, spends a summer inMansfieldParkwith Jane.

Lily Berry's mother has just passed away from cancer, leaving her two daughters memento necklaces crafted from her only jewelry. Lily has immersed herself in Jane Austen's novels, trying to parse her confusing romantic entanglements, most recently with Martin, who's dumped her for excessive neediness. Shortly after his wife's funeral, a new girlfriend named Sue takes over Lily's father's life, and clears her childhood home of any vestige of her mother's existence. Mr. Berry exhibits shocking coldness when questioned by Lily and her sister Karen about his plans to marry Sue within weeks of his wife's death. In despair, having recently been fired for reading Jane on the job, Lily, accompanied by an imaginary guardian angel she's named My Jane Austen, boards a plane bound for a British festival, Literature Live, dedicated to combining Austen scholarship with Austen role-playing by fans known as Janeites. Lily pretends to be a professional thespian to act out Austen-inspired skits, and feigns expertise in business in order to convince the conference organizers she can help save the economically threatened stately home housing Literature Live. Aside from spats over skits, fomented by a tyrannical director, Magda, Jones' chief preoccupation is parallel love triangles. Magda is having an affair with her supervisor until his wife and three screaming toddlers inconveniently show up. Lily is falling for Willis, a deacon preparing for ordination as an Anglican priest. Once the two overcome their reticence, a rival emerges: the daughter of wealthy sponsors of Literature Live. There's the triangle at the center ofMansfieldPark, the summer's keynote novel. But most compelling and least developed is the triangle at the heart of Lily's inherited anomie: She discovers that their father may have led a double life with Sue and that the Berry sisters are not his only children.

An unfocused debut which dances uneasily around its central conflict.

Kirkus Reviews
A young Texan on the run from bad relationships, familial and otherwise, spends a summer inMansfieldParkwith Jane.

Lily Berry's mother has just passed away from cancer, leaving her two daughters memento necklaces crafted from her only jewelry. Lily has immersed herself in Jane Austen's novels, trying to parse her confusing romantic entanglements, most recently with Martin, who's dumped her for excessive neediness. Shortly after his wife's funeral, a new girlfriend named Sue takes over Lily's father's life, and clears her childhood home of any vestige of her mother's existence. Mr. Berry exhibits shocking coldness when questioned by Lily and her sister Karen about his plans to marry Sue within weeks of his wife's death. In despair, having recently been fired for reading Jane on the job, Lily, accompanied by an imaginary guardian angel she's named My Jane Austen, boards a plane bound for a British festival, Literature Live, dedicated to combining Austen scholarship with Austen role-playing by fans known as Janeites. Lily pretends to be a professional thespian to act out Austen-inspired skits, and feigns expertise in business in order to convince the conference organizers she can help save the economically threatened stately home housing Literature Live. Aside from spats over skits, fomented by a tyrannical director, Magda, Jones' chief preoccupation is parallel love triangles. Magda is having an affair with her supervisor until his wife and three screaming toddlers inconveniently show up. Lily is falling for Willis, a deacon preparing for ordination as an Anglican priest. Once the two overcome their reticence, a rival emerges: the daughter of wealthy sponsors of Literature Live. There's the triangle at the center ofMansfieldPark, the summer's keynote novel. But most compelling and least developed is the triangle at the heart of Lily's inherited anomie: She discovers that their father may have led a double life with Sue and that the Berry sisters are not his only children.

An unfocused debut which dances uneasily around its central conflict.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062003973
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/29/2011
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 788,795
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Cindy Jones was born in Ohio and grew up in small midwestern towns, reading for escape. She is a winner of the Writers' League of Texas Manuscript Contest, and she lives with her family in Dallas.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 14 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2012

    Good and bad

    An interesting idea but the main character was sort of annoying

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 12, 2011

    Great summer read!

    No analysis or synopsis of the book in this review. Haven't read
    many Jane Austen books, which didn't prevent me from thoroughly enjoying Mrs. Jones debut novel. Couldn't help but cringe at Lily's questionable choices, yet continued to hope she'd find love during her stay at Mansfield Park. Enjoy Mrs. Jones writing style and look forward to her next book.

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  • Posted May 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not you average Austen inspired novel

    I was completely intrigued by the title of this book: My Jane Austen Summer: A Season in Mansfield Park. I love Jane Austen and this sounded like the book for me. This isn't your typical Jane Austen inspired fiction though. I have to say it wasn't quite what I expected either. Not that that's a bad thing. The main character in this novel is Lily Berry. She has recently lost her job, boyfriend and her mother. All of these events in her life turn her world upside down. She becomes a bit stalkerish towards her boyfriend. Her friends and family try to convince her to get help for her erratic behavior. Lily keeps up the premise that all is well when she decides to sell everything she owns to go to England for the summer to participate in a festival that reenacts Jane Austen novels. Lily's character was very frustrating in the beginning. She had a lot of issues going on. She acted out a lot and her friends and family urged her to get help. I was in total agreement with them. However I was sympathetic to the reasons behind her reactions. Lily also has a love for all things Jane. Lily feels connected to Jane in a way I think all Jane Austen lovers or Janites can relate. Jane Austen novels have a way of connecting with people of all ages. We all have our own favorite novel by Jane. Our own favorite heroes and heroines from these novels. I don't think the Jane Austen experience is the same for everybody either. She means something different to each of us. Lily views Jane this way. Jane Austen is real to her, actually she's more real to Lily than to most. Jane Austen is a ghost like figure in Lily's life. She's always there approving and disapproving of Lily's actions. She flutters around, sits in corners while making lists. I love the lists. Jane is as much a character as Lily is. In fact I would venture to say Jane is Lily's conscious and she needs one.
    Lily desperately wants her life to be like a novel. So much so that it's not good for her. Her trip to England promises to be a new beginning for her far away from her troubles. Lily leaps from the frying pan into the fire. Her time in England is not what she expected it to be. She is forced to deal with some of the issues she left back home and new ones that pop up. This book's theme seems to be 'you can't run away from your problems'. Although Lily's character kind of bugged me in the beginning, I enjoyed watching her character change and develop over the course of this book. There were no easy fixes and Lily had a lot of things to learn. I liked that this book didn't focus on romance but on the life journey we all take. This was an enjoyable read. This is not your average Austen inspired novel but it's worth reading.
    I can't really blame her for wanting to slip away into a novel. I've often thought it would be great to visit Mr. Darcy at Pemberly at times.

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  • Posted March 14, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Charming

    In Texas in a few months, Lily Berry lost her job due to Austen and her boyfriend also due to Austen. On top of that her mom passes; leaving behind for her two daughters necklaces made from her jewelry. Lily and her sister Karen feel they also lost her father who has a new girlfriend Sue; who he plans to marry and consequently is unavailable to help either of his shell shocked daughters.

    Despondent she turns to Jane Austen for solace as the local bookstore owner Vera offers her a chance to participate in a reenactment of Mansfield Park by Janeite enthusiasts. However, Vera fails to inform excited Lily that their effort is failing and she has no role. Lily is attracted to Anglican Deacon Willis. Meanwhile Magda the director gives the Texan a hard time while she also has an affair with her superior until his wife and toddlers arrive. However, a different triangle with kids shakes the Berry siblings.

    The premise of a sort of Venn diagram using interrelated relational triangles instead of circles is set up nicely due to the different personalities especially flaws the key characters bring to the mix. Since none of the relationships takes deep control throughout, readers will have difficulty determining what matters as Lily never anchors the story line. Still Janeites will enjoy spending "A Season at Mansfield Park" with the Berry sisters.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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