The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen

( 10 )

Overview

The minute I saw the letter, I knew it was hers. There was no mistaking it: the salutation, the tiny, precise handwriting, the date, the content itself, all confirmed its ancient status and authorship…

Samantha McDonough cannot believe her eyes—or her luck. Tucked in an uncut page of a two-hundred-year old poetry book is a letter she believes was written by Jane Austen, mentioning with regret a manuscript that "went missing at Greenbriar in ...

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The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen

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Overview

The minute I saw the letter, I knew it was hers. There was no mistaking it: the salutation, the tiny, precise handwriting, the date, the content itself, all confirmed its ancient status and authorship…

Samantha McDonough cannot believe her eyes—or her luck. Tucked in an uncut page of a two-hundred-year old poetry book is a letter she believes was written by Jane Austen, mentioning with regret a manuscript that "went missing at Greenbriar in Devonshire." Could there really be an undiscovered Jane Austen novel waiting to be found? Could anyone resist the temptation to go looking for it?

Making her way to the beautiful, centuries-old Greenbriar estate, Samantha finds it no easy task to sell its owner, the handsome yet uncompromising Anthony Whitaker, on her wild idea of searching for a lost Austen work—until she mentions its possible million dollar value.

After discovering the unattributed manuscript, Samantha and Anthony are immediately absorbed in the story of Rebecca Stanhope, daughter of a small town rector, who is about to encounter some bittersweet truths about life and love. As they continue to read the newly discovered tale from the past, a new one unfolds in the present—a story that just might change both of their lives forever.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
James's interpretation of the "story within a story" provides a literary feast for Anglophiles. While visiting England, American librarian and Jane Austen fan Samantha McDonough buys a dusty, ancient book of poetry containing a hidden letter penned by Austen. Addressed to her sister, the letter references Austen's never-before-seen manuscript, The Stanhopes, and suggests the unseen novel to have been mislaid "at Greenbriar in Devonshire." James (The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen) sends Samantha on a frenzied journey of authentication, research, and footwork as she attempts to track down the missing manuscript. She is introduced to an antique-filled manor, Greenbriar, and its handsome owner Anthony Wickham who, upon Samantha's urging, finds a peculiar "puzzle box" cached in the back of a cabinet. Inside is The Stanhopes, a multimillion dollar treasure and James's novel within a novel. That book is gradually authenticated, but there is another conflict still to resolve: Samantha wants the manuscript published for the masses believing it "will set off a global wave of Janeite frenzy"; Anthony selfishly wants it auctioned for millions to the highest bidder, most likely a private collector. They appear deadlocked until Anthony becomes a student of Austen and her themes, prompting his life-affirming conclusion and ensuring an Austen-worthy ending.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
An American librarian discovers a never-published Jane Austen manuscript. Samantha has accompanied her cardiologist boyfriend, Stephen, to London. While he attends a medical conference, she explores the environs of Oxford University, where she had pursued a doctorate in English literature before abandoning her studies to care for her dying mother. While browsing in a musty bookstore, Sam comes across a volume of poetry which contains an unfinished letter that her practiced eye (she's now a rare-books librarian) identifies as having been written by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra. The letter mentions an early manuscript, circa 1802, which the then-unknown future authoress had mislaid at a Devonshire country house called Greenbriar. Anthony, a venture capitalist and the latest heir to Greenbriar, is happy to help locate the manuscript, particularly if its auction proceeds can save Greenbriar from creditors and fund his own startup. The manuscript, entitled The Stanhopes, is found in a secret compartment, and Sam and Anthony sit down to read the novel in its entirety, along with the reader. The Stanhopes is a very passable Jane Austen facsimile, with believable period locutions, much shorter sentences and more melodrama. (It would, after all, have been Jane's first novel.) The plot details the fortunes of a village pastor, the Rev. Stanhope, whose wealthy patron casts him out of his parish, home and livelihood on a charge of gambling away church funds. When Stanhope is supplanted by the patron's own nephew, the reverend's clever, beautiful and musically gifted daughter, Rebecca, correctly smells a rat. Nevertheless, until his innocence can be proven, father and daughter must embark on an itinerary of exile during which they are reduced to relying on the at-times-dubious charity of close or distant relatives. This richly imagined Jane Austen "road novel" is such a page turner that the frame story, with its obvious but far less dramatic parallels to Rebecca and Stanhope's plight, seems superfluous. A standout addition to the crowded archive of Austen homages.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425253366
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 12/31/2012
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 481,309
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Syrie James

Syrie James is the author of five critically acclaimed novels, including the bestseller The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte, Nocturne, Dracula My Love, and Forbidden. Her books have been translated into eighteen foreign languages.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

4 Star

(2)

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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 1, 2013

    Loved it!!

    I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I loved The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen. I am a huge Jane Austen fan so I was just hoping that this would be an enjoyable book. What I did not expect was a captivating story that I had trouble putting down!

    Samantha is revisiting England while her boyfriend is in medical conferences all day. As an American librarian who once attended Oxford it is no wonder she went shopping in a bookstore where she came across an old book of poetry. As she looks at her purchase she finds a letter that had been placed inside a long time ago. After reading the partial letter she starts to believe it was written by Jane Austen herself.

    Following the clues in the letter she goes to a house called Grennbriar where she believes Jane may have lost a book she had written. After finally convincing Anthony, the new owner of the house, they start their search and they do discover more proof that the Austen family did in fact visit the house on several occasions. That discovery helps them to continue until they do find an old manuscript called The Stanhopes.

    Samantha and Anthony start to read the book together in order figure out if it is a real Jane Austen novel. Samantha is of course excited about the discovery and wants to make sure it becomes available to everyone. Anthony though wants it to be real so that he can sell it to make money.

    The Stanhopes manuscript really did sound like something Jane would have written and it was such an engaging story. I loved how the author let us ‘hear’ the story and how well it added to the plot between Samantha and Anthony. I recommend this book to any Jane Austen fan who is looking for a wonderful and lovely story to read!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2013

    Definately one of her better books. It wa charming and I couldn

    Definately one of her better books. It wa charming and I couldn't put it down. I can easily see Jane Austen in the missing manusript. With every character, could easily identify someone in Jane Austen's novels.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2013

    Highly recommend

    As a younger person I never was interested in the Jane Austen books. However, as an adult I find them refreshing. This was a very good read. Highly recommend it. Since reading this I've purchased the Jane Austen dvd's of her books.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 3, 2014

    Loved, loved, loved this book!!! Who wouldn't want to be Samanth

    Loved, loved, loved this book!!! Who wouldn't want to be Samantha finding a mysterious document that may be Jane Austen's and then finding out it is followed up by a hunt and a great read of an unpublished Austen novel. GEE! It makes this Austenite extremely happy to be able to enjoy novels such as this one. I cannot wait to read Syrie James other Austen themed novel, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen. 




    Recommended For: Lovers of Jane Austen and anyone looking for a literary mystery with some romance thrown in.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 23, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I did enjoy this very much. I can't say it's one of my absolute

    I did enjoy this very much. I can't say it's one of my absolute favorites, but I will definitely go back and reread it again in the future.




    James does a pretty decent job of going into Austen's voice. There is definitely the Austen feel of the story within the story. Her transition between today's world and Austen's era is good, and easy to keep up with. She keeps them separated out enough that the reader doesn't feel overwhelmed. The majority of the story is set in the story within the story. I take that to mean James might be more comfortable with the style Austen wrote rather than what she wrote for the modern time. 




    I will definitely look at reading James's other work

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 10, 2014

    This is one of the best books I've ever read. I didn't want it t

    This is one of the best books I've ever read. I didn't want it to end and could hardly wait to turn the page at the same tim
    I love this book and author!

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  • Posted March 8, 2013

    Good Read

    The premise of this story was good but very similar to the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig, without the style. I found the writing dry and kept hoping for the witty Jane Austen to take command of the "lost manuscript". The background story was a little too predictable and the characters staid. I think followers of Jane Austen fan fiction would be pleased with the story but it is not likely to please those with a wider reading style.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted August 12, 2013

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    Posted March 22, 2013

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    Posted February 20, 2013

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