A Walk with Jane Austen by Lori Smith
Review by Emily from Whimsy Books and Whimsy Daisy
A Walk with Jane Austen is a quiet ride through Jane Austen’s world. This book is not what I expected it to be. It is less about Jane Austen and more about author Lori Smith. It is a soft memoir. Smith’s talented writing weaves countless connections between the life of Jane Austen and her own.
Lori Smith finds herself growing older and unmarried, a position she never expected to find herself in. She tours England to visit the remaining sites of Austen’s world. During this trip, Smith discovers who she is, why we face challenges, and how faith can get us through.
From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. In this engaging, deeply personal and well-researched travelogue, Smith (a PW contributor) 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.