The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn is Perfect for fans of Jane Austen, this engrossing debut novel offers an unusual twist on the legacy of one of the world's most celebrated and beloved authors: two researchers from the future are sent bak in time to meet Jane and recover a suspected unpublished novel.
In a nutshell, The Jane Austen Project is a time travel adventure story wrapped in a literary style as if Jane Austen or her contemporaries wrote about this unusual and intriguing encounter.
Author Flynn takes her time with the world of 1815 England from the eyes of its back-in-time traveler. Staying in character or true to character, the flavor of the period rings with authenticity to make any desire to go back in history one that may elicit excitement, but also give pause for the things we take for granted--gender roles, rules of society, technology, illness, injury, and mortality, etc.
Flynn, on the other hand, doesn't delay the start of the adventure with its first line: What kind of maniac travels in time? by its heroine who isn't afraid to use her heart and brain to solve the problems of the day, navigate the unpredictable path of her feelings for two men, but also to challenge the assumptions and expectations about the mission against her own code. Here we see (through the heroine's eyes) her interaction with various women in their stations of life, including Jane Austen. Her modern disposition and privilege contrasted, but at times, empathized with their 1815 identities.
By the end, I'm glad that Flynn didn't gloss over the effects of researchers going back in time. There are consequences and every interaction casts another ripple through reality, which should always be the big problem to solve or acknowledge about in any time travel story. As a result, I'm not disappointed with the (surprise) ending. I'm quite pleased actually that Flynn with her careful considerations stayed true to "every action has a reaction" theory to the end.
The dark worlds, well-written and wonderfully detailed, will grab the reader and take her on a winding and satisfying ride. Jaff drops in the creepiness in steady doses to push the urgency and pacing of the plot.
Although we are guaranteed a third installment, Jaff is never lazy with this unique tale making sure to challenge her complex characters to the bitter end. She closes on a high note that will keep our anticipation for book three on simmer.