The Jane Austen Project: A Novel

The Jane Austen Project: A Novel

by Kathleen A. Flynn


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Perfect for fans of Jane Austen, this engrossing debut novel offers an unusual twist on the legacy of one of the world's most celebrated and beloved authors: two researchers from the future are sent back in time to meet Jane and recover a suspected unpublished novel.

London, 1815: Two travelers—Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane—arrive in a field in rural England, disheveled and weighed down with hidden money. Turned away at a nearby inn, they are forced to travel by coach all night to London. They are not what they seem, but rather colleagues who have come back in time from a technologically advanced future, posing as wealthy West Indies planters—a doctor and his spinster sister. While Rachel and Liam aren’t the first team from the future to “go back,” their mission is by far the most audacious: meet, befriend, and steal from Jane Austen herself.

Carefully selected and rigorously trained by The Royal Institute for Special Topics in Physics, disaster-relief doctor Rachel and actor-turned-scholar Liam have little in common besides the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in. Circumstances that call for Rachel to stifle her independent nature and let Liam take the lead as they infiltrate Austen’s circle via her favorite brother, Henry.

But diagnosing Jane’s fatal illness and obtaining an unpublished novel hinted at in her letters pose enough of a challenge without the continuous convolutions of living a lie. While her friendship with Jane deepens and her relationship with Liam grows complicated, Rachel fights to reconcile the woman she is with the proper lady nineteenth-century society expects her to be. As their portal to the future prepares to close, Rachel and Liam struggle with their directive to leave history intact and exactly as they found it…however heartbreaking that may prove.



Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062651259
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/02/2017
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 146,002
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

Kathleen A. Flynn is an editor at the New York Times, where she works at “The Upshot.” She holds a B.A. from Barnard College and an M.A. from the University of North Carolina. She has taught English in Hong Kong, washed dishes on Nantucket, and is a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their shy fox terrier, Olive.

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The Jane Austen Project 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Millie_Hennessy More than 1 year ago
The Jane Austen Project is the perfect mix of sci-fi, Austen tribute and historical fiction. It’s unique in that I’ve never come across an Austen sci-fi (if there are others out there, point me in their direction!) – I’ve read modern adaptations and paranormal ones, but nothing that comes close to this! In a future where meat is non-existent after some sort of disaster referred to as The Collapse, most things are 3-d printed, and time travel is a fairly common occurrence, there’s a group of people who are desperate to get Austen’s letters to her sister Cassandra (most of which were actually burned after Austen’s death) and her last, unfinished manuscript, The Watsons. At first I was highly confused as to why this mission was a priority – don’t get me wrong, I love Austen and would love to read anything and everything by her, yet this seemed a bit frivolous. However, towards the end of the book and after some wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey happenings, it makes sense. Actually, maybe it makes sense before then and I just missed it. All the characters are well done. Liam and Rachel have been extensively trained in order to successfully blend in during 1815, yet, understandably there are some tough times. No amount of acting classes and training scenarios can compare you for spontaneous human interaction. They are both doing their best to complete their mission while also internally fan-girling (or guy-ing) at being surrounded by Austen and her family. There’s also the added layer of their personalities being subtly similar to those of Lizzy and Darcy. Jane Austen herself is just what I’d imagine she’d be like, from my limited readings about her life. Her brother Henry was my favorite of the Austen clan, however. He’s a gentleman, but unlike those in Austen’s novels, we get to see his more, realistic…er, manly side. Basically, he’s horny and flirty, ok? I was loving it! He falls somewhere in between the practiced manners of Bingley (or maybe even Tilney because of his sense of humor) and the saucy, flirtatiousness of Wickham and Willoughby. Speaking of flirtatiousness, this book had more steamy scenes than I expected. In fact, I didn’t expect any steamy scenes! Henry isn’t the only one trying to heat things up. I was pleasantly surprised to find a few sexy times thrown in. You guys might be familiar with how I always harp on about Austen not letting her characters kiss. Little did I know how satisfying scenes that go beyond that would be! Scandalous! The plot had me guessing what would happen up until the actual last page of the book. I was practically jumping out of my skin because the ending was going to decide whether I was going to give the book five stars or toss it out the window while swearing. Granted, I still would have recommended the book, had the ending gone differently, but it really would have dampened my satisfaction with the story up until that point. If you like Austen adaptations, historical fiction and time travel then I highly recommend The Jane Austen Project! It gives off low key Austenland vibes (except way more intense because the characters are living the real damn deal) with a hint of Dark Matter (multiple realities) and I’m now declaring historical sci-fi to be my new favorite totally made up genre. I sincerely hope Flynn puts out another book soon (and I hope it’s in the same universe – I have ideas!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this thoroughly . I was sorry to have it end and am hoping that there will be a sequel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would have given this book five stars except it literally does not have an ending. After reading 307 pages of very creative prose the book ended so abruptly I actually thought pages were missing. I'm not sure a sequel would even help at this point.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was captivating! I havent enjoyed a really good read like this in a very long time. I couldnt put it down. Excellent!!
SMWard More than 1 year ago
This book gave me all the feels!! I was very sorry to see this novel come to an end. It was exciting, entertaining, surprisingly sexy, and very creative. I have been a Jane Austen fan my whole life, but it’s been many years since I read one of her books (or watched a movie adaptation). It was lovely to be re-immersed in her life. The novel plunges the reader into the sights, sounds, and smells of England in the early 1800s, and it’s even more interesting that we get to view this world from the eyes of foreigner who only has her research to guide her. While the idea of two time travelers from the future (beyond 2017) going back to London in 1815 is a big concept, the author pulls it off convincingly. The story successfully meshes elements from different genres: historical fiction, romance, and science fiction. I loved getting both details of the imagined future as well as the past of the Austens. The time travelers also had to be aware of the fact that their actions in the past might create a change in the future (their present), a scary possibility which looms over their choices. The entire book felt like an “event”, extremely imaginative and well thought-out. It was fun getting a modern point of view of the customs and morals of the early 1800s. Rachel, our main character, is a smart and realistic narrator who gives careful thought to her actions, yet makes human mistakes. I found her very relatable, and all of the secondary characters were fascinating and well-drawn. Overall, I was thrilled with this book!
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
Haven’t we all wished that we could go back in time, and where would you pick, family, historical event, famous. Guess it would be hard to choose, although some might find it very easy. In this book we are going back to Jane Austen, and her time in England, the year 1815. We take a lot for granted, and can you imagine being thrown so far back in time, well our main characters are really in for a rude awakening. Had to chuckle as Liam embraced his new identity and went about choosing a wonderful new wardrobe. Of course Rachel is also has to get more clothing, but she isn’t as excited as her brother, they couldn’t bring a lot, only what they have on their back. Now how would you feel if you were able to meet someone that had died so many years before you were born? These two are on a mission to find and take an unpublished manuscript. How they go about completing this, and the extent they are will to go to, will both frighten and make you chuckle. Are there going to be ramifications to changing history? We are about to find out, but while we are in England enjoy your view of what the time was like, and it didn’t take me long to know I wouldn’t like so much of what they had to endure. This is a book that is going to make you think and wonder, and all the while turning pages to find the answers and see if they will even be able to return to their lives in present time. I received this book through Edelweiss and the Publisher Harper Perennial, and was not required to give a positive review.