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Monday, August 30, 2021

Guest Review: Jane by the Sea by Carolyn V Murray, from Beth!

Beth joins us today for a review of Carolyn V. Murray's Jane by the Sea; take it away, Beth! 


Very little is known about the young man that Jane Austen met during a seaside holiday in 1800. Her sister was later to say that she believed this young man was falling in love with Jane and was someone she felt was truly worthy of her sister. What transpired that summer? Perhaps it happened this way...

Jane begins her search for love with giddy optimism, but her first encounter proves devastating. The young Irishman who captured her heart is convinced by his family that marrying a penniless clergyman’s daughter would be a terrible mistake. Jane resolves never again to succumb to false hope, romantic delusions, and pathetic heartbreak.

Lieutenant Frederick Barnes is on medical leave from the Royal Navy. By the time he crosses paths with Jane, she has lost her faith in love and is determined to protect her heart at all costs.

But the Lieutenant is captivated and equally determined to break through her defenses. Jane must battle between what she knows and what she feels. What will happen to her heart if she is wrong again?

My Review

Having recently read Miss Austen, and previously read other works of fiction that touch on Jane Austen's supposed one (or two) moments of love, I found this to be the sweetest take on that quasi-known part of the author's personal history. Most of this book is supposition, by Carolyn V. Murray's admission, but she pulls from Austen's own published works (both in scenes and characters, and in direct lines from the novels), which makes this something of a love-letter to Jane Austen. 

I was a bit startled at Jane's writing scenes to express frustration by punishing her fictional characters- both the level of violence and the act of it felt immature, and not something I'd expect from a woman whose perception of human nature feels like it would come with self-awareness. But it was entertaining, and I don't honestly know if Jane wrote bloodthirsty scenes as a child (it's possibly reference to that survived in letters). 

Jane's own second-chance romance mirrors Persuasion so much that it's hard to not be charmed by Lieutenant Barnes. Even knowing what happens (from my previous reading), I had hope for a better ending for Austen. And I get the impression that Carolyn V Murray did, too.

So if you lean into the fiction part of historical fiction, and you're a fan of Jane Austen (the woman and/or her works), I highly recommend this sweet, entertaining story.

About the author of this post: I'm Beth: a bookwyrm, history geek, hobby baker, Austen fan, and collector of pastimes. Henry Tilney and Elizabeth Bennet are my Austen fictional crushes, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about me. I can be found blogging at https://bethwyrm.blogspot.com/ and creating general nonsense at: https://www.instagram.com/goddessbeth/https://www.tiktok.com/@artemishi, and https://twitter.com/ArtemisHi.
Find more posts from Beth here

Jane Austen, Austen in August, blog event, Jane Austen fan fiction, JAFF, The Book Rat, BookRatMisty
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1 comment:

  1. It's been a while since I read this one, but I did love what the author did with Jane's story. Glad to get your thoughts on it, Beth!


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