A WalkWith Jane Austen is a lovely book, full of unexpected insights and revelations. Lori Smith's revealing and personal account is a pure joy to read. As a single, independent and talented woman she is in want of a man, but will not compromise her principles or her quest to experience romantic love in order to simply be with one. Sound familiar? This is one of the many parallels of Lori's life to Jane's. However, the one distinct difference between the two women is that Jane lived a geographically circumscribed and rather "eventless" life, whereas Lori is a seasoned world traveler who has embarked on a risky but life-altering journey.
In Part One of this very personal three part account, Lori travels to Oxford. Sitting in a church, she muses about Jane Austen's faith. As I read Lori's words, it occurs to me how universally loved Jane has become. Studying the world map sitting on my blog, Jane's fans live in China, Korea, Italy, South Africa, Chili, Mexico, Canada, Iceland, New Zealand, Bahrain, and of course, all the former British Colonies. How is it that Jane is able to attract a close following from so many countries and faiths? As Lori points out, while Jane is religious and operates from a moral foundation, she was spiritually reserved. "'She was 'more inclined to think and act than to talk' about her faith." Lori is so right, and I wonder if Jane's reserved approach to faith in her novels is one of the reasons she is so universally approachable and loved. In addition to our admiration of Jane's enormous writing talent, her novels about families, friends, and love gone awry and set right again resonate with people from a variety of backgrounds and religions.
At Oxford Lori meets several guys from D.C., one of whom is named Jack. At first impression she likes his easy going humor and affability. And although Jack confesses that he had just begun to see another woman and wasn't expecting to meet someone else, Lori cautiously and inexorably begins to fall for him. Her analysis of life as a single woman and quest for a man to share her life echo those of many single women. This includes Jane, who also preferred to spend her life single rather than settle on a mate just for the sake of getting married. Part One of the book ends with Lori spending a wonderful evening with Jack and friends, one that is filled with conversation and laughter.
Part Two of the journey begins with Lori thinking the whole world beautiful. But I'll reserve a more detailed analysis of this section for another time. Ever the optimist, I had hoped to review this book chapter by chapter, however my current schedule simply will not allow it. Look for my next synopsis of this wonderful book over the weekend.
Visit Lori's website here: Jane Austen Quote of the Day
Visit Lori's other website here: Following Austen
Pre order the book here: A Walk With Jane Austen, Lori Smith