Aug 012012

The Lessons Jane Austen Can Teach

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher



  • I was intrigued by the combination of a biography and self-help guide
  • Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose and Vic Sanborn of Jane Austen’s World both appear on the back cover giving this book their high praise and commendation.


  • The Elegance: With fourteen charming illustrations and a simple, aesthetically pleasing hardcover, this novel has a very elegant presentation. In addition, I loved how the prose seamlessly flowed from biography to citations of Jane Austen’s novels, from character analyses to modern applications. It was all very graceful!
  • The Tone: Sometimes when authors are penning biography or scholarly studies their tone can become a little bit too didactic or formal. I am so pleased that I found Lori Smith’s tone to be very approachable and relaxed. It felt like she was having a casual conversation, filled with thoughtful observations and clever connections.
  • The Blend: Even though the word “guide” is in the title, this book has an abundance of biographical information. In fact, one could argue that is just as much a biography as it is a guide. I loved how Ms. Smith’s prose progressed through the major events of Jane Austen’s life and used them as examples of sensible advice and life lessons. Traveling through the story of Jane Austen’s life, women can learn and benefit from her experiences with relationships, love, career, and hardships.
  • The Knowledgeable Content: So many references so aptly applied! It is clearly evident that Lori Smith scoured Jane Austen’s novels, letters, and several biographies written about her to deliver a most informative and thorough guide. I especially loved finding an occasional story, letter, or tidbit that I’ve never heard of before.


  • The Slight Disparity: I couldn’t help but notice that there were many references, quotes, and examples cited from Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Emma, and Persuasion; but not nearly as many for Mansfield Park and Northanger Abbey. I would have loved to have seen a little bit more of Catherine, Henry, Fanny, and Edmund.


Astute, charming, and elegant – The Jane Austen Guide to Life is perfect for readers who wish they could have a lengthy and candid conversation with their dear Aunt Jane! While some biographies and guides can be a little dense, formal, and preachy, The Jane Austen Guide to Life is everything that is “light, and bright, and sparkling!” I highly recommend!


What about you dear readers? 

Isabella Thorpe?  Mrs. Clay? Kitty Bennet?

Which Jane Austen character desperately NEEDS a copy of The Jane Austen Guide to Life?   



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  5 Responses to “The Jane Austen Guide to Life – Lori Smith”


    Kitty Bennet needs a copy.


    I love that you use the word “elegant” as a header and several times in your review. That is what is appealing to me about Austen’s time and what is so often missing from ours. “Charming” works for me, too. I’m looking forward to reading this book and thanks for the giveaway.


    Your review is wonderful. Now I want to win the book more than ever. I am curious about what is in the reference section. I’ll bet there are all types of little goodies. I’m glad the book is written in a friendly style. The word “guide” made me tremble for a moment.

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