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Jane Austen Lives Again - Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight

Jane followed the others out to the waiting cars, and hung back, unsure in which car she’d be invited to take a seat. Lady Milton stepped out first, arm-in-arm with Zoot, and Jane watched as he opened the door of his splendid automobile and Flora’s long legs slid sensuously into the place next to the driver’s seat. Emily, Beth and Cora clambered excitedly into the back seat, which left Mae standing on her own, pulling a sulky face. She looked for a moment as if she’d turn and get into Will’s car at his suggestion, but Jane noticed the look of disdain from Mae as their eyes met in a moment of realisation. Mae was soon heard complaining that she wasn’t travelling on her own with the paid help, and shouted at the others to budge up. No amount of Lady Milton’s insistence that she travel in Will’s car had any effect, whilst Jane stood by, feeling completely mortified by the episode, the sound of grumbling voices exclaiming over crushed dresses and squashed limbs as the engine purred into action and drove away.
‘I’m so sorry about that, it looks like it’s just you and me, baby doll,’ said Will.
‘I’m no baby, and far from being doll-like,’ said Jane crossly, thinking that she might just turn round and walk back to the house. ‘I never heard such a ridiculous phrase. I suppose it’s this new slang I’ve heard much about; whatever does it mean?’
‘It’s a term of endearment, but one I shall never use again within your hearing, Miss Austen,’ Will answered in a cool and detached manner. ‘Forgive me, but I imagined you would find it amusing or at the very least, that you had a sense of humour.’
Jane noticed the impish light in his eyes had gone and felt sorry she’d been so waspish. She felt suitably chastened, and couldn’t think why she’d snapped at him so quickly even if it was the silliest expression she’d ever heard. She didn’t want to admit that she’d suffered so many assorted feelings of unease and helplessness, coupled with a mixture of indignation and furious pride at Mae’s uncalled for reaction, or that she felt extremely nervous being around him. And what was worse, she knew she must look hugely flustered.
‘Your carriage awaits,’ said Will in a formal tone, his expression closed and serious as he opened the back door with a flourish.
‘Would you mind terribly if I sat in the front seat?’ Jane asked. The thought of catching those eyes of his in the mirror was too disconcerting. At least if she sat next to him she could look straight ahead at the road.
‘Not at all, Miss, allow me.’
He held the door for her and took her hand as she stepped forward. It was a gentlemanly gesture, but totally unnecessary, and though she allowed his fingers to grip hers as he handed her in, she pulled her hand away as soon as she could. Smoothing her dress down with her fingers she could not rub away the warmth of his touch or his fragrance, a spicy scent of sandalwood and ginger, which lingered on the air. Worse still, the hood of the car was closed, and when he climbed in and sat beside her, she realised the space was more confined than she’d imagined. He was tall, and though slim, he was a well-built man with a large frame and broad shoulders. He seemed to fill the car and there was the smallest gap between them. As he adjusted the wheel she watched his long fingers flex then tense on the stitched leather and felt the merest touch of his long leg brush against hers. Jane flinched and edged as closely to the door as possible, feeling overwhelmingly claustrophobic, reaching for the window handle even though she didn’t know exactly how it operated. Will immediately leaned across her to help, and though apologetic, she was so close to his cheek she thought she could have kissed it. It was all over in a moment, and with cheeks to match the scarlet leather seats, Jane looked purposefully out through the window, gulping in breaths of the sea air as Will started the engine and pulled away.
‘Thank you for trying to persuade Alice to come,’ he said at last, breaking the awkward silence. ‘I tried too, but she insisted she was feeling unwell.’
Jane was glad the conversation was taking a turn. ‘I think the afternoon took its toll, understandably.’
‘Yes, I should have known it would be too much. I shouldn’t have expected so much or put her in that position in the first place. I feel awfully selfish.’
‘Alice wants you to be able to keep up your friendship with Frankie,’ Jane said warmly, ‘and above all, she wished everyone to enjoy the party. Anyway, perhaps it will do some good. Frankie might realise what he’s missing.’
‘I’d love you to be right, Miss Austen, but there are no feelings left on either side now. It was all over a long time ago, I’m afraid.’
Jane said nothing. As far as she could see the two people in question were still very much aware of each other, pointedly ignoring one another the entire time, possibly with feelings decidedly unchanged. If that didn’t tell her something about their true feelings then she decided she’d lost her touch. Human nature, its follies and inconsistencies did not alter, and she’d made a study of many personalities in her short life. From what she’d seen Alice and Frankie couldn’t even look one another in the eye for more than a few seconds. If there’d been no feelings left at all she was convinced they’d have spent all afternoon happily chatting over old times and looking the other squarely in the eyes.
‘What did you think of Julius Weatherfield?’ asked Will. ‘Seems a good sort to me. He plainly likes Mae, and she him.’
‘I think it’s a little early to say, but if charm and good looks are anything to go by I would say, on first impression, that he has all the requisites to captivate the heart of any young girl, and especially one who seems quite a vulnerable personality.’
‘You don’t sound too sure about him.’
‘I’d rather take my time to form an opinion about anyone, Mr Milton. During my lifetime I have discovered it’s wise to be cautious in these matters.’
Will chuckled. ‘For one so young I’m not sure you can have had that much experience, surely. You sound like Flora who is twice your age. Perhaps you’ve had your heart broken once or twice … is that it?’
Jane looked down at the hands nervously clasped in her lap. She must sound quite ludicrous, she realised. ‘I’d just rather spend a little time getting to know someone.’
‘And have you formed an opinion on me yet, Miss Austen, or is it too early to tell?’
‘I haven’t exactly a clear picture of your character, but then, I hardly know you. We have shared but three short conversations on trivial matters, and I am no wiser about your opinions on the important subjects of life than on the very first day I met you. So far I have learned you are capable of lying and duping the innocent, though in other respects you appear to be a loyal friend and a caring sibling.’
‘So my charm and good looks have not yet lured you into captivation on an entirely different level?’
‘Mr Milton, it may be your ambition in life to enthral as many ladies as you can, but not all women are enchanted by handsome looks and a few good manners alone. Most require something else, intellectual stimulation, brilliant conversation, or an interest in shared pursuits. It is not enough to fall in love with someone based simply on their physical attributes. And to return to our earlier discussion on your sister I would say it is clear there is an attraction between her and Mr Weatherfield, but if Mae were my sister I’d just keep an eye on things for a while.’
‘Yes, you’re right, and I will. It’s easy to see how attracted Mae is to him. Poor George Bartlett, he’s going to find he has a little competition this evening. He’s head over heels in love with Mae, and while she tolerates his attentions it’s always been clear there’s no spark on her side. It’s a great pity, George is a good man and he’s also wealthy. His estate at Sherford Park is well worth marrying for, though I’ve heard Mr Weatherfield has his own place at Salcombe Magna.’
‘Well, Mae has youth, beauty, and is keen to be loved. I’m sure they won’t be the only gentlemen vying for her affections. Older brothers have their work cut out when it comes to looking after their sisters.’
‘You speak as if from experience. And now I am sure I have guessed correctly. Did you give your brothers much trouble at home? You’ve left a string of broken hearts behind you, I am sure.’
Jane didn’t answer. She knew he was teasing her, and suspected he was enjoying having a little fun at her expense. But she didn’t mind. He could not possibly have guessed, but the truth was she had broken a few hearts in her time, and had known what it was to fall in love several times, flirtatiously, fleetingly, but also with a long and lasting passion.

They were soon arrived at Moorford, an idyllic village with the church and Georgian rectory at its heart, a triangular green before it and a scattering of thatched cottages around the edge. Jane was reminded of her former home at Steventon as she walked up to the central front door with windows blazing with light on either side. Apart from the sound of jazz music drifting across the lawns she could have imagined herself running inside to greet her beloved father. The door was open and on entering the hall, Jane still felt the space seemed familiar with its pair of demi-lune tables adorned with blue and white porcelain, a central lantern strung up on a long chain, gilt candelabra, and a grandfather clock ticking loudly in the corner. A maid appeared to usher them into the drawing room on the left, and when they walked in a loud cheer went up.
The room was noisy with chatter and music. King Zoot’s ‘boys’ had duly arrived and were set up on one side enthralling their audience with a quick-paced set. Everyone else looked as if they’d already been made very comfortable, and they were all sipping cocktails as they lounged on squashy sofas and wing chairs from a bygone age.
Frankie Wallis and a man who could be no one else but his brother, sauntered over with a tray of champagne glasses filled with golden bubbles.
‘Will and Miss Austen, so pleased you could come,’ said Frankie. ‘Let me introduce Eddie who is my big brother, and a dab hand at mixing dangerous drinks. We have a champagne cocktail tonight which is guaranteed to get you in the party mood.’
‘Eddie was always a dab hand,’ said Will with a smirk. ‘He learned everything he knows at theological college, Miss Austen.’
Eddie grinned, and handed Jane a glass. ‘Of course I did. What else was there worth studying after bible class?’
The resemblance between him and Frankie was striking though he was not so fashionably dressed. He had a kind face, and whilst his hair was not quite as fair as Frankie’s, his eyes were the same intensity of green.
Will leaned over to whisper in Jane’s hair as the brothers moved on to replenish glasses elsewhere. ‘He’s probably more your type, Miss Austen. Good looks and intelligence combined, and what’s more, he has a wealthy brother who would keep the wolf from the door, or at least supplement a clergyman’s poor stipend.’
‘Mr Milton, I am not here to find a husband, nor am I interested in marriage. Eddie Wallis seems a very pleasant young man, but he is neither my type nor to my taste, and I would be grateful if you’d cease trying to engage my heart in any way, shape or form.’
‘Miss Austen, I shall endeavour to do as you say, though I fear you protest too much. It is clear there is a strong attraction.’
‘I have known my fair share of clergymen in my time … indeed, my father was one, and two of my brothers took orders. But, having said that, I would never be inclined to marry one. I am here to fulfil my obligations to your family, and to earn my living. An independent life is the one I seek. I like my own company, and do not need a man.’
‘And your mother was a suffragette, I suppose.’
Jane had lately read about women’s suffrage and admired the work of the movement. Will was being truly insufferable.
‘Mr Milton, I wholly endorse the work of women who are putting their lives at risk to achieve what is only fair and right. Do you not believe women should be entitled to the vote?’
‘Of course, I didn’t mean to sound flippant, I …’
Jane cut him off in mid-sentence. ‘Thank you kindly for escorting me here, Mr Milton, but I will pay my respects to your family now, if you please.’
Will watched her walk away with some amusement. He couldn’t put his finger on why he enjoyed teasing her so much, but he supposed it was because she was such an open person, and not too clever at hiding her feelings. He had her well and truly rattled, he was sure.
Jane was glad that she’d finally put Will in his place. There was a lot to be said for having the experience and wit that comes with age, but coupled with the energy of a much younger person. Having met the type before, she couldn’t help thinking about a former love, Tom Lefroy, the first scoundrel who’d broken her heart. He’d been very pleased with himself too, and had flirted outrageously with her. Her sister had warned her, but she’d chosen not to listen, and when he broke all his promises to her she was left feeling hurt. Of course she’d written much of the bitterness away and thrown herself into writing novels where she alleviated her feelings, but she’d been wary of men for a long time after that.
Lady Milton was sitting next to a smartly dressed young man in his mid-thirties with a kind face. Jane guessed immediately he must be Captain Bartlett from the way his gaze was fixed on Mae’s lovely face at every opportunity, even though he tried to look attentive to his companion’s conversation. Mae, in turn, had her attention set in rapt wonder upon Mr Weatherfield’s face, evidently enthralled with his effusive chat. Jane watched the way they couldn’t take their eyes from the other as they sat closely together on a chintz-covered sofa. Mae was running her fingers through her golden curls and he was leaning into her, as if he needed to get closer to hear her responses. There was a great attraction between them, Jane could plainly see. Behind them Emily stood talking to another man, of a similar age to the captain. She was laughing at something he was saying, and holding on to his arm in an affectionate way. They seemed to be sharing a joke, and with him mocking her in a brotherly way, she was tapping him playfully on the arm.
‘That’s Jonathan Keeling,’ said Beth, coming to stand next to Jane and following her direct gaze. ‘I’ll introduce you when he comes over. He and Emily have always been close. I think he sees her like the little sister he lost. It’s a tragic tale, Eleanor died of tuberculosis when she was just twelve years old. He has a married brother who lives in Exeter, but we’ve always been like a family to him, and Emily is his protégée.’
Jane saw Jonathan smile indulgently at Emily, just a second before Frankie joined the pair with fresh drinks. Emily eased her arm out of Jonathan’s and practically turned her back on him, chattering with a fresh animation and flicking back her hair in the habitual way she had. Jonathan looked unconcerned and turned his attention to another young lady Jane hadn’t noticed before who was standing with an older, rather sensibly dressed lady who looked completely out of place.
‘That’s Miss Beales, and her niece Jessie,’ added Beth. ‘They run the milliner’s in the village, and live above the shop. Mr Keeling is always so kind to them. They don’t have much in the way of treats, but he makes sure they have everything they need and a few luxuries into the bargain.’
‘I am beginning to like Mr Keeling very much,’ said Jane. ‘It’s a pity Emily doesn’t like him as much as he obviously likes her.’
‘Oh, I don’t think he’s fond of her like that,’ said Beth, ‘and in any case, I think we can see just where she’s setting her sights.’
Emily was brushing something off Frankie’s sleeve, and Jane observed a look of concern flash across Beth’s face. She was just wondering what to say, when yet another gentleman, coming into the room, gained their attention. When he saw Beth his face lit up, and she seemed equally happy to see him.
‘Miss Austen, please allow me to introduce Lieutenant Dauncey,’ Beth said as soon as he joined them. ‘He’s new to the area, but is doing his best with the captain to protect our shores.’
‘How do you do, Miss Austen,’ said the lieutenant, smiling into her eyes. ‘I’m sure you’ll agree that to be a newcomer in such a friendly place as Stoke Pomeroy has its compensations. I’ve never met with such delightful neighbours here at Moorford or in our own village.’
‘I’ve been made to feel very welcome, Lieutenant Dauncey,’ Jane agreed, ‘but am yet to really find my bearings. I’m looking forward to exploring the area.’
‘Have you been down to the beach yet? We’re thinking of having a picnic there tomorrow if you’d care to join us.’
‘Well, I’m not really sure of our plans, and what Lady Milton might have in mind.’
‘Do say you’ll come, Miss Austen,’ urged Beth. ‘We’ll all be going, even Mae, and I know Flora won’t mind one bit. She’ll expect you to chaperone us, I’m sure.’
Jane was a little shocked to hear Beth address her mother by her Christian name, but then it wasn’t the first time she’d heard it used by the Milton offspring, and she wondered if it was Flora Milton’s preference. She had an idea Lady Milton wouldn’t be too keen for people to realise she was old enough to have grown-up children, and it would be typical of someone so keen to give the impression of youthfulness to have them address her by name.
‘In that case, I’d be delighted,’ Jane said. ‘It’s a long time since I spent a day by the seaside. I always enjoy watching the sea.’
‘I was fortunate to grow up by the coast,’ said Lieutenant Dauncey, ‘between St Just and Sennen in Cornwall.’
‘I love Cornwall, don’t you, Miss Austen?’ said Beth. ‘It always seems to be a place redolent with drama. Devon has its undulating valleys, but the rugged Cornish coastline is something else.’
‘I have never travelled so far west,’ answered Jane truthfully, ‘though I’ve heard the scenery is unlike any other. I believe the area you speak of is famous for tin mining, Lieutenant Dauncey.’
‘Yes, indeed, Miss Austen. I was brought up in a house built entirely on the profits from that industry, a vast estate. You may have heard of Rosamorna, it is well documented as the inspiration for many a dark romance novel.’
‘Sadly not, though I’m sure with such a delightful name, it must be a beautiful place. Do you manage to go home often?’
‘I wish I could say so, but I’ve not been back for many years, Miss Austen.’
‘Lieutenant Dauncey’s life history is a sorry saga, his awful story could be in a novel of its own,’ added Beth.
‘It is a bit of a tale,’ he continued and stopped to take a slug of his drink. ‘I was lucky enough to be adopted by the Dauncey family who’d mined the area for two hundred years. My adored mother, unable to have any more children, chose me after a visit to the local orphanage to be a young brother and companion for the heir of Rosamorna.’
‘Goodness, that does sound like the beginning of a promising plot for a fairy tale,’ said Jane.
‘One might think so, but you don’t know the whole story, Miss Austen,’ said Beth. ‘The lieutenant’s beloved father and mother tragically died in a motoring accident in the south of France.’
‘I’m sure lots of people know what it is to lose a beloved parent,’ said Lieutenant Dauncey.
‘Yes, but you were unfortunate enough to lose both at once, and with the most awful after effects,’ Beth went on passionately. ‘May I tell Miss Austen the particulars?’
Lieutenant Dauncey looked hesitant for a moment, as if he might say no to Beth’s request, but she was determined to say her piece.
‘Not only did he lose his parents which was quite dreadful enough, but his step-brother, the very one he’d been a companion to all his life, found fault with the wishes included in the will. As a result, he found himself homeless and penniless shortly after the funeral.’
‘How perfectly dreadful, Lieutenant Dauncey, but did you not attempt to contest the will?’ asked Jane, knowing how such matters easily ruptured family relationships.
He twisted the glass in his hands and looked down at the floor. ‘It was made very clear to me that I was no longer welcome in my own home, and not yet having come into my money I was powerless against the lawyers who were immediately placed against me. The will that was presented was an old one, and with no mention of my existence there was nothing I could do.’
‘And did your brother do nothing to help you?’ asked Jane.
The young man shook his head. ‘Not a thing, I’m afraid. I always knew I wasn’t to inherit property, but I did think there might be a little money to see me on my way in life.’
‘Fergus Dauncey sounds like a ghastly beast, and if I ever met him I’d give him a piece of my mind,’ declared Beth. ‘No one could have suffered and borne it all as you have.’
‘Well, dearest Beth, I came into this world with nothing, and at least I have found my own way, which is perhaps for the best.’ Lieutenant Dauncey shifted slightly, looking rather uncomfortable for a moment. ‘Still, let us not dwell on such gloomy thoughts. With such a night as this, could life be any better? I hope you’ll excuse us, Miss Austen, but I’ve been dying to ask Beth for a dance.’
Beth looked pleased and excited as Jane watched them walk hand-in-hand over to the end of the room where the carpet had been rolled up and removed to make a dance floor. There was a romance in the making she thought, and Lieutenant Dauncey seemed like a nice enough fellow even if his relations sounded perfectly horrid. He was very good-looking and charming, which was always helpful, but she wondered if Lady Milton considered him as a suitable marriage partner. She was sure her ambitions for her daughters were set much higher, involving copious amounts of money, which could be ciphered into Manberley’s coffers.
Beth and her handsome soldier were first on the dance floor. Jane knew it wouldn’t be long before some of the others would be up and dancing, though she was quite unprepared for the strange sight of waving arms and legs, and the frenetic movement in all directions when it started. Jane stood and stared; she’d never seen anything like it. This must be the Charleston they’d all been talking about. Deciding at that precise moment that to hide in a corner or another room would be an excellent idea, she’d never wished so much that she could just vanish and disappear in a puff of smoke. Emily and Frankie were the most enthusiastic of all the couples, certainly the most adept, and for all the oddity of the dancing, Jane liked watching them for their obvious joy and verve. They were enjoying themselves so much, competing with the other to make the most outrageous moves.
As she observed them all Jane saw Jonathan kindly ask Jessie, who’d been sitting on her own, up to dance. Clearly timid and shy, she hesitantly smiled and took his hand. Eddie partnered Lady Milton, whilst Captain Bartlett danced rather awkwardly with Miss Beales who seemed completely out of her depth, but was eager to please.
‘Captain Bartlett, I’m very honoured to dance with you,’ Nora Beales began, her hands twisting awkwardly on her knees, ‘it’s so very kind of you to take pity on me. Isn’t it a lovely party? I feel quite as if I’ve been transported to Scheherezade’s magic garden! Everywhere looks so pretty and sparkling with the candles lit, and have you seen the paper lanterns lit up on the terrace? It brings to mind that lovely painting by John Singer Sargent. Oh, what’s it called? You know, it’s in the Tate gallery … it mentions all the flowers … something like Lily Rose, and Carnations. Well, I don’t think that’s quite the right title, I’ve forgotten now, but it looks just like that now the sun is setting. All that’s missing is two little girls in white dresses.’
Captain Bartlett tried hard to pay his full attention. He was used to Miss Beales wittering away with endless questions whilst not requiring an answer to any of them. Every now and then he smiled at her, which seemed reward enough, and he turned to look once more upon Mae’s beautiful face. He couldn’t help sighing. Though he’d always suspected he only had a slim chance to gain her heart, he decided he really must look about to fall in love elsewhere. He was sure Mae was falling in love with Julius Weatherfield, and though it might only be an infatuation disguised, he knew when he was beaten. George looked around with an eye to see if anyone else would strike him as a suitable partner in the dance as well as in life. But as much as he tried, he could not help his eyes returning to the face he loved best.
The only other person who seemed to be sitting the dance out was Cora. Jane felt rather sorry for her; it was easy to see how she longed to dance. The room was filling up now with people she didn’t recognise, all streaming in through the doors to pack themselves onto the dance floor. Cora hugged her knees, and her chin drooped, but as Jane watched, she suddenly saw her face light up. Will was there to take her hand, and lead her off to whirl her round. It was lovely to watch them both, Cora followed every movement as well as she could, and when she was unsure of the steps Jane could see Will patiently showing her what to do. He was a very good dancer Jane had to admit, though she would never have told him so.
On the far side, there was a glimpse of another room through open folding doors where an overspill of people were chattering and laughing. When she was sure no one was watching she moved through the crushing crowds into what seemed to be another sitting room with book-lined shelves. Beyond were French doors leading out onto a terrace, with wonderful views over the valley and steps leading down to a sunken garden. Roses bloomed over an arbour fixed at points along the terrace, and the scent on the evening air made Jane feel she’d been transported to some foreign clime she’d once read about. There was no one else in sight and leaning on the balustrade she watched the sun lowering in the sky sending blue shadows over the black and white tiles, setting the pots of white lilies aflame. A few Chinese lanterns bobbed in the warm breeze above her head, blushing pink as if lit by glow-worms. It was incredible to think she’d found such a peaceful haven, and though she knew she couldn’t stay there all night, at least it gave her a little respite from all the frenzied activity inside. The music floated out on the scented air, and she could imagine them all kicking up their heels, until there was a pause and tumultuous applause broke out, and a loud voice announced a foxtrot to slow down the pace so they could get their breath back. Jane couldn’t imagine what that dance could be, and couldn’t help picture a sly fox with a waving bushy tail trotting his way down a henhouse full of plump birds. She laughed out loud for it really was a ridiculous picture.
‘Is it a good joke?’ said a voice behind her.
Spinning round she came face to face with Will, the last person she expected to see.

Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six 
Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine 
 Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven

This is a thoroughly delightful read. Jane Austen re-awakens in the 1920s, 110 years after her death, and faces the new industrial world with her usual aplomb. Trains and motorised cars, along with shorter skirts, must be accepted. In reduced circumstances, she has to work as a governess. Noting the changes in environment, manners and appearance, but never succumbing to depression or undue anxiety, Miss Austen deals with the same daily social tasks and complications that her characters did. She has young women to encourage and chasten into suitable romances – while not remaining immune herself. The author has convincingly captured Jane Austen’s tone and personality. The 1920s come to life in the way that they affected a rural, once rich, family. The characters are true to Austen’s own novels and I am sure, were she defrosted into life for real, she would be amused and pleased to read this novel. Historical Novel Society
Travelling to Devonshire aboard a steam train, Jane Austen remarks to her companion and physician: ‘Dr Lyford, if I can survive embalming, the subsequent resurrection and the effects of transdifferentiation, I will live to tell the tale …’
So begins Jane Odiwe’s ‘fairy story for grown-ups’, in which Austen is brought back from the dead - scientifically, rather than miraculously - and transported to the west of England in 1925. Penniless (her royalties don’t go far in the Jazz Age) and - naturally - alone, she takes the traditional route for single women of no fortune and becomes governess to a clutch of sparky girls in a romantically crumbling castle by the sea.
She finds the bohemian Milton family quite enchanting, and is sure that she can bring some old-fashioned order to their somewhat chaotic existence - but to her initial dismay finds herself falling for the dark-eyed, curly-haired, and handsome son of the house. What follows is pure romance, but with the twists of humour and intrigue that Odiwe’s readers have come to expect. This is such an enjoyable tale - Odiwe handles the 1920s setting with the same assurance that she has brought to her Regency-set novels, and her rendering of a 20th century Jane is a delight. Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine

With Jane Austen being alive in the 1920’s and earning her keep as a governess, Jane Austen Lives Again sometimes felt like Downton Abbey meets Mary Poppins/Sound of Music (which are some of my favorite things!)It was a wonderful blend of history, fiction, and fairy tale! Absorbing, ingenious, and immensely satisfying – you definitely don’t want to miss Jane Austen Lives Again!

Meredith Esparza - Austenesque Reviews

Imagine a world where Jane Austen and her favorite characters exist in a Downton Abbey atmosphere—Impossible, you say, and yet, apart from the passage of years, they are all gentlemen and gentlemen’s daughters, as Elizabeth Bennet so succinctly puts it. In Jane Odiwe’s latest novel, Jane Austen Lives Again, our favorite author does not die at 42 in Winchester, but is kept, somehow in stasis, until Dr. Lyford can not only cure her last lingering illness, but revive her again in the prime of her life. The scientific details are not spelled out, and honestly, it doesn’t matter, as Ms. Odiwe’s book will captivate you from the first. Finally we are able to see Jane “live again” sans vampires and magic, and enjoy her introduction to modern life in the 1920’s. 
Laura Boyle Jane Austen Centre Online Review

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