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A Walk with Jane Austen: A Journey into Adventure, Love, and Faith

Overview

Step into a Life of Grace
At thirty-three, dealing with a difficult job and a creeping depression, Lori Smith embarked on a life-changing journey following the life and lore of Jane Austen through England.
With humor and spirit, Lori leads readers through landscapes Jane knew and loved–from Bath and Lyme, to London and the Hampshire countryside–and through emotional landscapes in which grace and hope take the place of stagnation and despair. ...
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A Walk with Jane Austen: A Journey into Adventure, Love, and Faith

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Overview

Step into a Life of Grace
At thirty-three, dealing with a difficult job and a creeping depression, Lori Smith embarked on a life-changing journey following the life and lore of Jane Austen through England.
With humor and spirit, Lori leads readers through landscapes Jane knew and loved–from Bath and Lyme, to London and the Hampshire countryside–and through emotional landscapes in which grace and hope take the place of stagnation and despair. Along the way, Lori explores the small things, both meanness and goodness in relationships, to discover what Austen herself knew: the worth of an ordinary life.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A young woman goes looking for Austen in all the places Austen once lived and many of the places she wrote about. The Austen she finds is a woman of family, and of quiet but sustaining faith. Austen shares these things and many others with author Lori Smith whose book gives the reader the great pleasure of time spent with both. A lovely, intimate read.”
Karen Joy Fowler, best-selling author of The Jane Austen Book Club

“Sensitively written and carefully paced this memoir takes the reader on a tour of the author’s experiences while journeying around England in the footsteps of Jane Austen. Lori Smith moves seamlessly from romantic daydreams, through a close questioning of her relationship with God, to battles with her mental and physical health. The book reads as an intimate and honest memoir and has enough to satisfy the non-Christian (like myself) if they choose to look beyond the somewhat unexpected (in a mainstream book at least) pairing of Jane Austen and Christianity. Above all else, this is a book about searching–for love, meaning, peace with oneself, health, a good night’s sleep, and a decent cup of coffee that wasn’t made with that freeze-dried-instant-powder–and these are experiences that anyone of any faith can relate to.... A welcoming read. Lyrical and questioning...perfectly pitched.”
Emma Campbell Webster, actress, author of Lost in Austen, and founder of lostinaustenblogspot.com

“With wit, charm, and rare honesty–of which I have to believe Jane Austen would have thoroughly approved–Lori Smith weaves her personal life experiences throughout her journey into the life that was Jane’s. Infused with faith, romance, loss, and a search for self, A Walk With Jane Austen makes for that rare book that keeps popping into one’s thoughts and beckoning one back.”
Tamara Leigh, author of Perfecting Kate and Splitting Harriet

“With deep and sometimes heartwrenching honesty, Lori Smith weaves her story and Jane’s together into a wholly unique narrative. In the midst of a craze for treating Austen’s novels as little more than glorified bodice-rippers, Lori brings to bear her perspective as a single Christian woman who can identify in many ways with Austen’s own beliefs and experiences, exploring truths and ideas that others gloss over. The resulting book stands out like a beacon.”
Gina R. Dalfonzo, editor of The Point weblog (http://thepoint.breakpoint.org) and writer for BreakPoint Radio

Publishers Weekly

In this engaging, deeply personal and well-researched travelogue, Smith (a PWcontributor) journeys to England to soak in the places of Jane Austen's life and writings. The book is sure to ride the wave of Austen-philia that has recently swept through Hollywood and a new generation of Americans, but this is an unusual look at Jane Austen. Readers will learn plenty of biographical details-about Austen's small and intimate circle of family and friends, her candid letters to her sister, her possible loves and losses, her never-married status, her religious feelings, and her untimely death at the age of 41. But it is the author's passionate connection to "Jane"-the affinity she feels and her imaginings of Austen's inner life-that bring Austen to life in ways no conventional biographer could. Smith's voice swings authentically between the raw, aching vulnerability of a single Christian woman battling a debilitating and mysterious chronic illness and the surges of faith she finds in the grace of a loving God. And yes, she even meets a potential Darcy at the start of her journey. This deliciously uncertain romantic tension holds the book together as Smith weaves her own thoughts, historical research, and fitting references to Austen's novels into a satisfying whole. (Oct. 16)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400073702
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 10/16/2007
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 996,101
  • Product dimensions: 5.51 (w) x 8.22 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

Lori Smith is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Washington Post Book World, Publishers Weekly, Washingtonian and Today’s Christian Woman. She is author of The Single Truth and creator of the popular literary blog Jane Austen Quote of the Day.
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2007

    A Walk with Lori Smith

    A Walk with Jane Austen is part memoir of author Lori Smith¿s trip to places where Austen lived or visited and places featured in screen adaptations of Austen¿s novels, and part Austen biography. But much of it is about Smith herself, her quest for true love, and how she is like or unlike Austen and Austen¿s fictional characters. Your opinion of the book will largely depend on how much reading about Smith interests you, because it¿s really A Walk with Lori Smith. Smith¿s trip to Austenland started with a one-week course at Oxford, where she met Jack, an American graduate student. In spite of the decidedly mixed signals that he gave her, within a few days she believed that she was in love. Reading her ruminations about their ¿relationship,¿ which thread through the book, I was simultaneously impressed by her openness and embarrassed for her. There is more than I cared to know about Smith¿s appearance and what she wore on a given day, and there are musings like, ¿I wonder, does anything bad happen if you wait to pee longer than you should?¿ I wonder, what would Jane think? Smith seemed surprised by the famous collection in the British Library, and some travel sections in the book lack depth, but her examination of Austen¿s faith and religious background is fascinating. So, semi-recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2007

    Fabulous Read

    Journals and memoirs destined for the popular market are among the hardest non-fiction books to write. How much should one put in or leave out without 'boring' one's audience? How much of the 'Self' does one want to reveal to strangers? In A Walk With Jane Austen Lori Smith strikes a delicate balance between her personal journey of love and faith in the modern world, and her decision to break free of her old life and embark on a new one while tracing Jane Austen's foot steps. She deftly weaves her personal narrative in with Jane's story. Lori's writing style is lovely and clear, and her combination of artlessness and worldly knowledge are endearing. I imagine these are qualities that Jane also possessed. I savored this book, which is not meant to be a history about Jane but a personal account of Lori's journey. In fact, Lori drops in gems of historical information about Jane, which flavors the book and enriches it with Jane lore. Compared to the truly empty Jane fiction that populates book store shelves these days - stories of Mr. Darcy before and after he meets Elizabeth, and of Jane sleuths, and the like - Lori's personal account rings as clear as a lovely glass bell. I will definitely read this book again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2010

    An Intriguing Glimpse of Two Similar Tales

    Freelance writer Lori Smith guides readers throughout the rolling hills of England as she follows the path of esteemed writer Jane Austen. As she travels to and from the significant places of Jane's life, Smith not only gives the audience insight on Austen, but also paints the story of her life as well. Being as she is thirty-three and still single, Lori is desperate to find love; thus she believes walking the same road as her rold model will enhance her chances of this. A strong believer of Christianity, Lori looks to God for his grace and goodness as obstacles confront her throughout her journey, but also seems to base some of her morals off of Jane Austen and her glorious books. I enjoyed being informed about the marvels of Jane Austen; her family life, love life, and career as an author as well as getting to personally know Lori Smith. Despite this, I found it slightly depressing to learn of Lori's chronic sickness and struggle to find love, as much as I feel bad for her, it also somewhat put a damper on the story. Otherwise it is a wonderfully written nonfiction read I recommend especially for Jane Austen fans-it admittedly makes me want to pick up one of Austen's books myself-and those who struggle with finding love. All you singles out there, pick up this book and prepare to be satisfied.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2009

    Religious theme

    I received this book as a gift but after glossing it found it had too heavy a religious theme, which makes little sense it one knows Jane Austen. My local B&N store would not even give me a store credit for something more suitable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2008

    Walking with Lori and Jane

    I love Jane Austen and so of course, I love anyone who also loves Jane Austen. I enjoyed the honesty with which Lori Smith recounted her struggles to find meaning in her relationships using Jane Austen's stories as a 'How to Find Love and Keep it' guide. As a Christian, I also empathized with Lori's struggle with her faith and the religious establishment. And as someone who fights low energy and depression I related to her 'down' days. In other words, I thought Lori Smith has written a great book that so many of us can relate to on several levels.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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