May 082010

Not Very Austenesque But Still a Pleasant Read

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

Andrea Beller, a thirty-seven year old museum curator from America, is having a very challenging and distressing year. Between her parents passing away, divorcing her unfaithful husband, and discovering that the people who raised her were not her birth parents Andrea begins to suffer from anxiety and depression. Andrea’s world soon goes into even more upheaval when she falls in love-at-first-sight with the famous British actor, Edmund Hallows while watching an old movie.

Andrea sojourns to London, England to unearth any information she can find about this Jewish actor who has now been dead for ten years. Her obsession with Edmund Hollows leads her to do things like visit his childhood home and spend the day near his gravestone. It isn’t long before Andrea begins to question her sanity and fear that she will never behave normally again. Even though Andrea is a solitary person that keeps mostly to herself, she does manage to make a few acquaintances while she is in London. Andrea encounters a pair psychics who assist her in learning about her birth parents, she is cared for by a handsome Indian psychiatrist when she becomes dangerously ill, and she befriends a former English teacher who frequents the cemetery where she visits.

So what does this novella have to do with Jane Austen? Perhaps not as much as the title suggests. Our protagonist, Andrea, finds what she believes to be Jane Austen’s thimble while touring Chawton House and keeps it thinking it might work as some sort of charm for her. The other mention of Jane Austen is when Andrea and the English teacher discuss how Jane Austen marrying Lord Byron would be a marriage made in hell. (I enjoyed that discussion!)

I found Jane Austen’s Thimble to be a singular and sincere novella. I enjoyed Ms. Luban’s clear and straightforward style of writing. In addition, I loved how she effectively employed the use of flashbacks to provide the reader with background information of past events. I greatly enjoyed the heroine and found her to be a well-drawn and endearing character; I liked her child-like innocence and candidness with everyone. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend Jane Austen’s Thimble to readers looking for an Austenesque novel, as there might not be enough Austen in it to pacify them. However, I do recommend this novella for readers interested in reading an enlightening tale about a daughter of two Holocaust survivors and her search for family, truth, and love.

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  One Response to “Jane Austen’s Thimble – Marianne Luban”


    This sounds like my kind of story–I love the thimble idea and the desire for it to be a charm.

    I’m intrigued–thanks for the review…now I need to go and find a copy.

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