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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Walk With Jane Austen by Lori Smith


Happy New Year to my readers! Hope you have had lovely holidays and have been able to relax in the company of our favourite writer…

Did you receive any exciting Jane Austen-related gifts?

I got this delightful read as a present for Christmas and thought I’d share my experience of reading it with you.

“A Walk With Jane Austen” is a memoir and a travelogue written by Lori Smith, an American writer who may be better known for her recent book “The Jane Austen Guide to Life”. You might have also visited her popular blog, Jane Austen Quotes.

Written six years ago, “A Walk” is still relevant to any fan of Jane Austen. The author has many parallels with Jane Austen; both are women, authors, single and Christian. In the book, the author travels to places where Jane Austen lived and visited, reflecting on how she herself relates to Jane Austen at various levels and what she can learn from her. As she travels around England, Smith compares her own experiences of faith, spirituality, family and relationships with those of Jane Austen.

Smith believes to be a similar Christian to Jane Austen, with a firm, pious faith, which is of a personal nature rather than fixed to the evangelical movement. Interestingly, Lori Smith, like Jane Austen, has grown up in an environment influenced by the evangelicals, which both authors criticise to some degree. However, the focus on Christianity in this work is perhaps a little too heavy for me personally.

“A Walk With Jane Austen” is a thoughtful, introspective memoir. The book is bound together with apt quotes from Jane Austen – a nice touch by someone who has worked hard to put those together in her blog. The assumed love story keeps one captivated till the very end, but Smith’s style may perhaps seem a little naive and desperate in places. “A Walk” being a travelogue, I would have liked to have my curiosity satisfied with a little more description of each place that Smith visited during her tour, instead of the lengthy self-reflections that dominate the book. However, “A Walk” was a pleasant enough read to snuggle up with during the cosy Christmas nights.