The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn

The Jane Austen Project

England, 1815: Two travelers—Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane—arrive in a field, disheveled and weighed down with hidden money. They are not what they seem, but colleagues from a technologically advanced future, posing as a doctor and his spinster sister. While Rachel and Liam aren’t the first team of time travelers, their mission is the most audacious yet: meet, befriend,...

Title:The Jane Austen Project
Author:
Rating:
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Kindle Edition
Number of Pages:384 pages

The Jane Austen Project Reviews

  • Cindy Burnett
    Jan 21, 2017

    5+ stars

    WOW is truly all I can say about this book. I loved every aspect of The Jane Austen Project. I am a huge Jane Austen fan and have read and reread each of her books too many times to count. I am not a fan of books that take Austen’s stories and redo them – making them about zombies, continuing the characters’ lives, etc., and I have mixed feelings about books that drop people into her stories. Thankfully, The Jane Austen Project does none of these things. Instead Kathleen Flynn creates an

    5+ stars

    WOW is truly all I can say about this book. I loved every aspect of The Jane Austen Project. I am a huge Jane Austen fan and have read and reread each of her books too many times to count. I am not a fan of books that take Austen’s stories and redo them – making them about zombies, continuing the characters’ lives, etc., and I have mixed feelings about books that drop people into her stories. Thankfully, The Jane Austen Project does none of these things. Instead Kathleen Flynn creates an entirely new story that sends two time travelers, Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane, back to Jane Austen’s time to meet her, locate a manuscript that she never published and bring it back to their futuristic time period. Trained and prepared by The Royal Institute for Special Topics in Physics, the pair successfully travel back to 1815 and begin the process of trying to fulfill the mission’s goals. As they attempt to insert themselves into 19th century life, Rachel and Liam quickly learn that while preparation for a project such as this is helpful, there are many aspects of everyday life in another era that cannot be anticipated. Moreover, as Rachel befriends Jane and her relatives, she finds it increasingly difficult to complete her mission without betraying her relationship with Jane.

    There were so many things I loved about this book. The research and creativity that went into this story are truly mind boggling. The time traveling portion of the book is very well-done and thoughtfully depicted. Rachel and Liam hail from a technologically advanced future where time travel has been successfully attempted. The details relating to their preparation and training were fabulous. I also loved Flynn’s imagined futuristic society including the reemergence of Great Britain as the super power and felt she included enough information on this era to understand what it was like without detracting from the main story taking place in 1815-1816.

    I reveled in the level of detail Flynn included about England in 1815 and learned so many fascinating items about that time period: customs, rules, and even what it smelled like. I truly felt like I could visualize so much of what she described. I am sure I will need to reread the book to absorb every last tidbit. The ending was superb; I cannot say very much without spoiling it, but Flynn outdid herself with the original, ingenious, and thought-provoking end to the novel.

    I have not read a book I enjoyed as much as this one in a long, long time. For Jane Austen fans, it is a must read and will be highly entertaining for any reader. Thanks to Harper Perennial for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    Feb 28, 2017

    There was a moment in the beginning of the book when a sentence made me stop reading and smile because I recognized a name and the sentence made me realize that the author has read my favorite book; Possession by A.S. Byatt. I will even quote the sentence: A statue of the poet Randolph Henry Ash, which had long stood in a traffic circle in Hampstead, had disappeared overnight, along with all records of its creation. The poet Randolph Henry Ash is one of the main characters in Possession and I th

    There was a moment in the beginning of the book when a sentence made me stop reading and smile because I recognized a name and the sentence made me realize that the author has read my favorite book; Possession by A.S. Byatt. I will even quote the sentence: A statue of the poet Randolph Henry Ash, which had long stood in a traffic circle in Hampstead, had disappeared overnight, along with all records of its creation. The poet Randolph Henry Ash is one of the main characters in Possession and I thought this makes sense, someone has traveled back in time changed history so now we have no recollection of Randolph Henry Ash. The reason I thought so is that I think Randolph Henry Ash is one of the best poets ever, and he has never ever lived!

    Anyway, I got a bit sidetracked by my love for Possession. Back to The Jane Austen Project. This book is fabulous, one thing that I truly loved with it was it really dealt with the consequences of traveling back in time, The changes it brings to the future. This is something that Rachel, the book's narrator ponders over during the books progress. How their presence will change history. Even smalls thing can have big consequences as the ending will show.

    Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane mission is to steal a manuscript from Jane Austen. But, befriending Jane has is consequences. Especially Rachel finds it hard to just play a role and try to find a moment to steal the manuscript. Rachel starts to like Jane, and as a doctor, she also starts to think about saving Janes life, but that would truly have consequences...

  • Abby
    Mar 22, 2017

    Dr. Rachel Katzman has her mission: travel back in time to 1815 London to save an unpublished Jane Austen manuscript from the dustbin of history. If possible, she'd also get a diagnosis for the mystery illness that, in less than two years, would lead to the author's premature death. Rachel and her colleague, Liam, pose as brother and sister who have just moved to England from a sugar plantation in Jamaica. Their first task is to ingratiate themselves with Henry Austen, Jane's favorite brother, a

    Dr. Rachel Katzman has her mission: travel back in time to 1815 London to save an unpublished Jane Austen manuscript from the dustbin of history. If possible, she'd also get a diagnosis for the mystery illness that, in less than two years, would lead to the author's premature death. Rachel and her colleague, Liam, pose as brother and sister who have just moved to England from a sugar plantation in Jamaica. Their first task is to ingratiate themselves with Henry Austen, Jane's favorite brother, and secure an invitation to the countryside, where Jane lives with her mother and sister. They're at constant risk for both discovery and altering the future through their actions. But it becomes difficult not to want to help the people who have become their friends-- to save Henry's bank, to save Jane's life, to save a chimney sweep boy servant they meet along the way. They don't know what kind of world they'll be returning to... if they return at all.

    I was in the mood for a time travel book, and I love Jane Austen, so this book captured my imagination pretty quickly. Rachel and Liam are not from our time, but somewhere in the future where England has reemerged as the dominant world power. I didn't really get a sense of that world. However, the recreation of 1815 was done well, and I enjoyed getting a more "real" look at life at this time (Austen was sheltered, and there were things ladies just didn't talk about, much less write about). I'm iffy about the relationship between Rachel and Liam but liked how their story ended. There were a couple of things that felt wrong to me but not enough to be a distraction

    . I feel like the author left the door open for a companion novel about the Bronte sisters. I would totally read that.

    I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss.

  • MTK
    May 27, 2017

    Ένα ταξίδι στο χρόνο με σκοπό να βρεθεί ένα ανέκδοτο μυθιστόρημα της Τζέιν Όστιν. Ευφυές και καλογραμμένο, αν και η πλοκή αργεί να πάρει μπρος και οι χαρακτήρες είναι κάπως προσποιητοί και γενικά δεν πείθουν απόλυτα. Δεν ξέρω κατά πόσο θα ενδιαφέρει αυτούς που δεν έχουν διαβάσει Όστιν (ή δεν τους αρέσει).

  • Caz
    Apr 25, 2017

    Confession time.  When I picked up

    for review, I really didn’t expect it to be a book I couldn’t put down.  I thought the premise – two time travellers go back to 1815 to meet Jane Austen and secure a previously unpublished manuscript – was interesting (which was why I chose it) but also fraught with potential pitfalls in terms of tone and characterisation. I’m happy to admit that my scepticism was quickly laid to rest and to s

    Confession time.  When I picked up

    for review, I really didn’t expect it to be a book I couldn’t put down.  I thought the premise – two time travellers go back to 1815 to meet Jane Austen and secure a previously unpublished manuscript – was interesting (which was why I chose it) but also fraught with potential pitfalls in terms of tone and characterisation. I’m happy to admit that my scepticism was quickly laid to rest and to say that this is a thoroughly entertaining, compelling and unusual story that hooked me in from the first page and kept me glued to it throughout.

    Doctor and Austen devotee Rachel Katzman and Professor Liam Finucane, an actor turned academic, were carefully selected and rigorously trained by The Royal Institute for Special Topics in Physics for one particular mission – to go back in time to 1815, meet Jane Austen and locate the manuscript for

    a novel previously thought unfinished but which a newly discovered letter indicates was actually completed and subsequently destroyed by the author.  Rachel and Liam are charged with bringing back

    and also more of Jane’s letters to her sister, Cassandra, documents which later proved incredibly valuable in piecing together details of the author’s life, and of which only a few survive.  If Rachel can also figure out what caused Jane’s premature death at the age of forty-one, well, that would be a bonus.

    The pair arrives, bedraggled and disoriented in a field in Leatherhead, Surrey with a small fortune in forged money hidden under their clothes and a cover story that they are Doctor William Ravenswood and his spinster sister, Mary, recently returned from Jamaica where they have sold off the family coffee plantation.  Unable to secure rooms at the local inn owing to their having no luggage and looking somewhat suspicious besides, they instead hire a post chaise and head to London where they take up residence in a fashionable town house and formulate their plan to get to know Jane Austen’s brother, Henry, who is, at that time, a successful banker.

    Posing as acquaintances of a distant Austen relative, they wrangle an introduction to Henry who is everything they expect from what they know of him: good-looking, charming and gregarious, it’s easy to see why Jane referred to him as her favourite brother.  Over the next few weeks, they become part of Henry’s intimate circle and eventually, as planned, are introduced to his sisters and other family members when they visit London.  Cassandra Austen is brusque and most definitely suspicious of her brother’s new acquaintances while Jane is quiet and circumspect, clearly not a woman who allows people to get to know her easily and who doesn’t rush headlong into friendships.  The portrayal of Jane Austen is one of those potential pitfalls I mentioned at the beginning, but I’m pleased to say that this is a very credible portrait of her in which she comes across exactly as I’m sure many of us imagine her to have been – intelligent, witty, considered and insightful.

    Once the shock of finally meeting her idol has begun to wear off, and what had begun as a slightly uneasy relationship develops into a genuine friendship, Rachel is faced with a dilemma she hadn’t before envisaged. Back in her own time, and in the early days of the mission, having to search Jane’s home for the manuscript and letters was just a job, and the idea of making a great literary discovery was thrilling. But several months down the line, Rachel is faced with the prospect of stealing from someone who has become a close friend, which is a different matter entirely.

    The other major concern on my initial list of potential pitfalls was to do with the characterisation of Rachel. Would she be too obviously modern for 1815, continually asserting her rights and chafing against all the things she wasn’t allowed to do? The answer – fortunately – is no; Ms. Flynn gets it right, having Rachel know full well that there are things she simply cannot do. She doesn’t like it, but accepts it’s necessary to conform in order to maintain her persona. In her own time, she’s a doctor, but in this period, all she can be is William Ravenswood’s spinster sister, carefully coaching Liam to play the part of a doctor while she watches from the sidelines, sewing shirts and wondering how intelligent women of the time didn’t end up going round the bend. Admittedly, she slips up from time to time, but is mostly able to explain it away because of her Mary’s non-traditional upbringing in Jamaica.

    Time travel fiction is always going to have to address one big problem – how do people go back in time without somehow affecting their future? Here, Liam and Rachel are given specific instructions NOT to do anything which could have ramifications for their own time, but, as they soon come to realise, that was impossible from the moment they arrived, and they have probably altered things without even meaning to. And as they get to know Henry and Jane as real people rather than as historical figures they’ve only read about, they find it impossible not to want to help them in some way; by preventing Jane’s early death and the ruin of Henry’s business. It’s tempting – but dangerous. There comes a point where they both have to wonder if perhaps the tiniest thing they’ve done during their lengthy stay might have changed their own world/time out of all recognition and even to question if they want to risk returning to it or stay in one that has, over the months, become more real to them than they could ever have thought possible.

    There’s a lot to enjoy in

    , not least of which is the sweet, sexy romance that develops between Liam and Rachel in which Rachel – in the manner of all Austen’s heroines – comes to examine her own thoughts and feelings and to draw some new and unexpected conclusions about herself. Ms. Flynn carefully crafts a realistic portrait of life as led by the middle class during the Regency period, and there’s a terrific sense of time and place throughout. Having two fish-out-of-water protagonists act as the reader’s window into that world works extremely well to bring home the emphasis placed on the importance of correct behaviour and propriety, the position of women in nineteenth century society and the great inequalities and hardship that existed between the different social strata.

    is a creative and entertaining novel that addresses some interesting ideas while at the same time telling a cracking good story. My only criticism really is that the ending is a bit abrupt and inconclusive. While I understand the book is not categorised as a romance, I won’t deny that I’d have liked things to have been more obviously settled at the end, which maybe – just – sort of – points towards a HEA somewhere along the line (if you squint). But that aside, this is an impressive début novel, a terrific read and a book I’d definitely recommend to anyone who enjoys something a bit out of the ordinary, whether they’re an Austen fan or not.

  • Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
    May 31, 2017

    Imagine being sent on a mission to travel back in time to meet Jane Austen! To meet her in the year 1815 and retrieve – not only many of lost letters that Cassandra destroyed before her death – but a full-length manuscript of The Watsons that Jane Austen herself destroyed before her death!

    In a highly risky and rigorous mission, Dr. Rachel Katzman and her colleague, Liam Finucane – after many months of study, practi

    Imagine being sent on a mission to travel back in time to meet Jane Austen! To meet her in the year 1815 and retrieve – not only many of lost letters that Cassandra destroyed before her death – but a full-length manuscript of The Watsons that Jane Austen herself destroyed before her death!

    In a highly risky and rigorous mission, Dr. Rachel Katzman and her colleague, Liam Finucane – after many months of study, practice, and preparation – are about to embark on a one year exhibition to 1815. In order to have any chance of success on their mission, they must ingratiate themselves with the Austen family and become welcomed friends in their homes. Posing as a brother and sister who just recently relocated to England after selling their sugar plantation in Jamaica, Rachel and Liam seek an introduction to Henry Austen, who, if they play they card rights will introduce them to Jane Austen.

    Even after a mishap or two, Rachel and Liam find themselves exactly where they wished to be – close friends with Henry and Jane Austen. But this doesn’t mean their success is guaranteed. For one thing, several members of the Austen family aren’t entirely welcoming or warm towards them. In addition, even though they are friends with Jane Austen, extracting private documents from her room isn’t easy work. And lastly, one of the main directives for time travel is to not change history in a significant way. This rule becomes very challenging for our time travelers to follow, and both start to panic when they feel that some of the small ripples of change they made in the lives of others might inadvertently be changing history.

    Oh wow – Jane Austen, time travel, a precarious secret mission, a completed but then destroyed manuscript of The Watsons?!? This story had me spellbound from the first page. The premise is brilliant – our time travelers are searching for the answers to questions we have always asked – Why wasn’t The Watsons completed? What is in those letters Cassandra destroyed? But what really kept me turning pages was how skillfully and thoughtfully it was all executed. It is very evident that Kathleen Flynn did an enormous amount of research for this tale. She knew all the minute details of the Austens’s lives around this time (such as when someone fell ill or traveled), and adeptly illustrated the big and small ways 1815 would look and feel different to someone from the future (such as how women would never act with authority). And I thought her portrayals of the Austen family and their dynamics towards each other felt utterly spot on.

    Aside from it being a very riveting story that left me wondering how it would all end, what I enjoyed most about this tale was our two main characters and their interactions with each other. Rachel is adventurous, intelligent, and kind of anti-monogamy/marriage. Liam is a little aloof, sensitive, and currently engaged to another woman. At first both are just working towards completing the mission and making an important discovery, but the complexities of their situation – the emotional isolation, the close quarters – begins to develop their relationship in a new direction… What will that mean when they return to the future? (Providing they do make it back to the future…)

    While I adored so much of this time travel tale, my one small quibble is that the ending felt a little bit rushed. There were many questions that were answered and explained in a short period of time, but with one aspect of the conclusion I felt there was too little said (my romantic heart always wants more!). Regardless of my small quibble, I found The Jane Austen Project to be an enthralling and well-crafted adventure full of mystery, history, authenticity, and romance! A great choice for readers who long for the chance to travel back in time and meet Jane Austen! I sincerely hope we see more from Ms. Flynn soon!

    Note: With some uses of adult language and adult situations, I’d recommend this book for Mature Audiences.

    Austenesque Reviews

  • Emer
    May 03, 2017

    A Jane Austen themed time travelling book...

    It just sounded too bizarre to not be read!!!

    And I loved it.

    Well almost. I reeeeeeeeeally liked it at the very least.

    I'm a big fan of

    . When I first read

    as a teenager I knew I'd found my author. That one author whose books I could always count on to entertain me, to move me and to steal my heart & mind. I raced through all her titles loving each one more fervently that the last. That is until I was about to start

    . And I stopped. I couldn't bring myself to start reading it. This would be the last time that I ever was to read a completed

    novel for the first time! And I thought that occasion needs to be savoured... I'll freely admit this is nuts. And even more nuts when you realise that it's pretty much two decades later and I still haven't read

    !!! Why am I still waiting?? (Answers on a postcard please!!!!!)

    I also hate reading retellings of

    's books. I could not care less about how some random author thinks that Elizabeth or Darcy or whomever lived after the books. No author will ever compare to Austen so just stop trying with these sad, pale little imitations!! Go have your own ideas and invent new characters and stop using (and frequently abusing!!) Austen's!!!!

    So why read this book??

    What makes this one different?

    Well for a start it's not a retelling of

    or any of Jane's other novels.

    THANK GOD!!!

    Instead it's an imagining of a particular time in Jane's own life but mashed up with a nice dollop of science fiction writing. But the kind of science fiction writing that feels maybe like it could be believable. It's not all aliens and spaceships. It's the more subtle and psychological kind.

    The premise for the book is that two "researchers" from sometime in our future are sent back in time to September 1815 because there is reason to believe that the unfinished work we all know as

    was in fact completed by that year. The mission of the researchers is to befriend Henry Austen, Jane's favourite brother, and to subsequently find themselves in a position to meet the author herself. Thereafter the aim is to locate the completed manuscript and also locate any additional letters written between Jane and her sister Cassandra..... without messing up things in the past and therefore altering the timeline as we know it....

    SURE HOW COULD IT GO WRONG??????

    I don't know about you but this sounds so batshit crazy that I was immediately on board!!!! The parts of the book set in the 19th century were absolutely perfect for me. This truly felt like a thoroughly well researched historical novel and it is clear that the author is a keen student of all things Austen and 19th century England. The author,

    is said to be a life member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and I think her fervour for Jane is evident for all to read with just the right amount of references to Austen's novels and a wide base of knowledge about Austen's personal life that made the imagined character of Jane feel authentic.

    The situations the futuristic main characters found themselves in seemed very well thought out; the atmosphere and settings of the 1815/16 story were beautifully drawn and as a reader I really believed that these researchers were living in the past. What was particularly enjoyable to me was the juxtaposition of finding these more contemporary-feeling main characters in this historical setting.

    The book was related from the point of view of one of the researchers, Rachel, a single woman in her 30s and I loved the contrast of her views on women regarding independence/career/sex etc. versus how she had to act in 1815 so as not to arouse suspicion. She was a brilliant character and I loved seeing her confidence mixed with this ever creeping doubt about the mission; she increasingly struggled with the concept of not interfering with the past so as not to alter the future and made this quite a psychological book in many aspects as it frequently felt like a thought experiment for time travel. Her relationship with her fellow researcher Liam was immediately appealing. It was not a traditional romantic story but more one of practicality and "needs must" and I just loved how complicated it was.

    My slight negatives about this book are more anchored in the futuristic settings and the explanations behind the time travel. They needed a little more panache... I wanted something that was a touch more gritty. Colder even, and significantly more twisty in set up and plot. I thought the ending played things a little too safe but it did give great pause for thought about the changes we can bring about by the simplest of our actions.

    But as the bulk of this novel takes place during

    's life that was the key section of this story and it was nigh on perfect. Therefore, my rating for this novel is a very positive

  • Mackey St
    Jun 01, 2017

    When I picked up

    I truly did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. While I have read most, not all, of Austen's works, I'm not a huge fan. What I do enjoy is time travel when it is done well - and this book does it incredibly well!

    Dr. Rachel Katzman and her actor colleague are sent back in time from the future to find an unpublished Austen novel and, hopefully, to diagnose the illness that led to Austen's premature death. Their mission is not to set off the "butterfly

    When I picked up

    I truly did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did. While I have read most, not all, of Austen's works, I'm not a huge fan. What I do enjoy is time travel when it is done well - and this book does it incredibly well!

    Dr. Rachel Katzman and her actor colleague are sent back in time from the future to find an unpublished Austen novel and, hopefully, to diagnose the illness that led to Austen's premature death. Their mission is not to set off the "butterfly effect" of affecting history that will change the future. Of course we all know that is impossible.

    Katzman does, in fact, meet and ingratiate herself to Austen and her family and, well, the rest would be spoilers. ;)

    As a historian I loved the fact that this era of England and its countryside is told with very much accuracy. It was a time of change, with one foot still mired in filth and poverty and the other heading toward the Industrial Revolution that changed this part of England forever. A lot of well-done research went into the book and I appreciated it. It was also well written - the language the of the time was not too overdone. By the end of the book I wasn't ready to leave these characters or the time period which is the sign of a good novel.

    If you are an Austen fan then most certainly you would love this book. If you like time-travel I think you would as well. For everyone else, it's a gamble but still I would recommend it. Like me, you may be pleasantly surprised. OH - and for the romance lovers... there is a very nice one here as well. :)

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