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Just Jane: A Novel of Jane Austen's Life

Nancy Moser

1,247 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 1618432915 / ISBN 13: 9781618432919
Published by Livingstone Books, 2012
New Condition: New Soft cover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Just Jane: A Novel of Jane Austen's Life

Publisher: Livingstone Books

Publication Date: 2012

Binding: Paperback

Book Condition:New

About this title


In this moving and authentic portrayal, Christy Award-winning author Nancy Moser transports readers back to the life and times of one of the literary world's beloved heroines, Jane Austen. Growing up in a clergyman's home gives Jane opportunities to observe human nature at its best—and worst. Vivid and delightful characters pour from her pen—Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Emma Woodhouse, Fanny Price, John Willoughby. . . . Jane dreams of publishing her stories and sharing them with the world, but how can she? She's just Jane from Steventon. Will anyone ever read her novels?

From the Publisher:

From the Author . . .

Dear Reader:

Thirty years after her death, Jane Austen's nephew, James Edward, wrote a biography of his aunt. There were few people left who'd known her personally. Surely this nephew would offer some profound insight as to the real Jane.

Sadly, James Edward got it wrong. For instance he said, "Of events her life was singularly barren: few changes and no great crisis ever broke the smooth current of its course. Even her fame may be said to have been posthumous: it did not attain to any vigorous life till she had ceased to exist. Her talents did not introduce her to the notice of other writers, or connect her with the literary world, or in any degree pierce through the obscurity of her domestic retirement." Although the last part of his assessment offers some truth, the first line angers me. Barren? Without change and crisis? I try to find excuses for this nephew. I try to remember his memories are that of a young boy and his words may be couched with the prejudices of a nineteenth century male.

For I found Jane's life to be quite full and eventful. Evident among her days are every dose of emotion. And I find there to be crisis enough for any one life (I dare James Edward to compete, incident for incident!) Her nephew's disconcerting opinion aside, amidst my readings I discovered a Jane Austen whom I would have liked to call friend. She was witty, wise, discerning, creative, and loyal. She was also stubborn, judgmental, insecure, and needy. She was . . . a lot like us.

I find that fact to be one of the most enlightening things that comes out of writing bio-novels about women in history. No matter when they lived, or where they lived, the core of who they were and what they desired from life parallels our own issues and quest to find purpose and meaning. Jane's life-long search to find a place to belong, a place to feel secure and confident in her self, is our search.

That is one reason why her novels have endured for two hundred years. Jane Austen wrote about people. In her stories, the world does not intrude with catastrophe or universal tragedy. The crises her characters experience develop from their everyday lives, from their families, and from their small society--that though small, still wields a mighty influence. There are rules and morals, and right and wrong amid God's constant presence. Conversely, there are people who break the rules, bend the morals, and choose wrongly. And as they do so, and as they suffer the consequences or the victory of their actions, we empathize with them, and celebrate with a sense of camaraderie. We are among friends. Jane's stories are our stories, and ours, hers (minus our sad lack of barouches, bonnets, and balls.)

Regarding Jane's voice. I did not attempt to match the unique "voice" of Jane's writing, only to hint at it. No one can write like Jane Austen. Besides, one's speaking voice is different from one's written voice, and since Just Jane involves Jane telling us her story . . . I hope my attempt did not annoy. I am certain those more scholarly than myself may find fault, but to them I simply state that I held Jane and her life story in the highest regard and did my best. Beyond that, I stand back to allow them to comment as they may.

My largest wish is that Jane somehow knew the impact her stories have had on millions of people around the world. There are Jane Austen societies in the United States, Europe, Japan, Australia, Argentina . . . Jane, a woman who never ventured outside her own corner of England, would be astonished. And humbled. Yet most likely, she would still prefer to spend her days within her beloved Chawton Cottage. Her true home. Her true place to be just Jane.

May you find your true place to be just . . . you. And may you, like Jane, journey forward to find your unique purpose.


Nancy Moser

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