Reader Thoughts on ‘Marriage,’ Austen’s Journey of the Soul Posted on December 17, 2015 by Collins Hemingway ’Tis better to give than receive, but in this holiday season I would like to take a moment to thank readers for what I have received—their very generous thoughts and comments on my novel, The Marriage of Miss Jane Austen. What touched me most was the number of times “beautiful” and “delight/ful” came up: “A delightful book, beautifully researched with historical tidbits.” “This beautifully constructed book transports the reader. … The exchange of letters was exquisitely beautiful.” “The escapades of the couple made me laugh and the beautiful letters brought a depth of character to Jane and Ashton while also bringing them together.” “This book is beautifully written. It was so engaging that I didn’t want it to end. … This is one of the best love stories I have read in a long time.” “How delightful to read a novel so creatively written which explores what many JA fans have wondered—did she ever fall in love?” “The book is a delight—readers are transported to another time and place with amazing detail and accuracy.” “I have just finished reading this delightful book. … It is not too far from Austen’s life story—with a twist that intrigues. …[T]he ending is quite lovely. … The best ending of its sort I have read.” Beyond being glad that any reader enjoys a novel, an author feels a special joy when readers appreciate things that he worked hardest to achieve. Professional reviewers all cited the language: “The irony and sly humor of Jane Austen herself, complete with the stylistic language of the Regency period” (Blueink starred review). “A talent for witty banter and wry observations that would make Elizabeth Bennet proud” (Kirkus). “Wry, observant, laconic—much like Jane Austen herself, without ever dipping into pastiche or mimicry” (Jane Austen’s Regency World). And a regular reader: “The language, timing and historical accuracy were all perfect. I found myself reading the last of this book rather than preparing for a party I was to give that evening.” Ultimately, novels rise and fall on characterization, and these comments engender pride: “The characters jump off the page with their captivating personalities.” “This author has fleshed out a Jane Austen who remains true to what I felt she might be like reading her novels in my teens. He makes her come alive—her quick wit, intelligence, eagerness to learn new things, and thoughtful reflections. … How dear to me that she becomes a woman of strong passion!” Kirkus found my Austen “true to life, an intelligent and determined young woman.” Others referred to “a very human Jane” and “a believable version of her character, truly a worthy addition to the Jane Austen legacy.” My favorite was a four-star review from Foreword CLARION Reviews, which described the novel as “an imaginative journey of the soul.” More than a historical romance or a period piece, I wanted to create a flesh-and-blood reality for a sensitive woman caught up in a turbulent time in a relationship with a man very much her equal. Volume I is the start of a journey that will test her character and her soul. Many thanks again to all who have read the book and especially to those who have taken the time to comment. Happy holidays, everyone!