Jan 152013

Uncovering the Suppositious Secrets of Jane Austen’s Life!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

Jane Austen must have had some secrets. With information about her life being “famously scarce”1and a large majority of her correspondence being destroyed and censored, one can understandably make the conjecture that there are some things the Austen family did not want the world to know about dear Jane. But the unanswered question remains: what did they not want the world to know? Love affairs? Painful hardships? Illness? What are the secrets of Jane Austen’s life?

Critically acclaimed and best-selling author, Syrie James has once again fictitiously uncovered the hidden mysteries of Jane Austen’s life. In her outstanding 2007 release,The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, Ms. James pens a memoir that illustrates the “secret” love affair between Jane Austen and an unknown man she meets by the seaside. In her latest release, The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, she brings to light a seventh novel written by Jane Austen in 1802. A manuscript that no one except Cassandra knew about. A manuscript that was lamentably lost from Jane Austen’s possession and never rewritten or discovered…until now.

Another impressive and ingenious release from Syrie James! I love how adeptly and thoughtfully Syrie James blends together actual events and circumstances in Jane Austen’s life with her own clever imaginings. Ms. James creates a story so authentic and credible that this reader often forgets she is reading a work of fiction! On more than one occasion I found myself desperately hoping this novel was reality and that this story would come true! (Who knows, maybe it will…)

While the first part of the novel involves the mystery, speculation, and discovery of the missing manuscript, the second part, where the characters sit down and read every blessed word of the manuscript, is when the author’s talent really shines. The Stanhopes is an absorbing, reflective, and remarkable work of fiction that masterfully captures the essence and style of a Jane Austen novel. Using Jane Austen’s satirical “Plan of a Novel” as guide and inspiration, Ms. James’s creation is one filled with realistic and lovable characters, keen observations of human nature, and a few tender and turbulent romances. I think my favorite aspect of The Stanhopes was spotting the parallels between Jane Austen’s life and that of her characters of which there were many. I’d like to think that if Jane Austen did write a novel during her first years in Bath that it would be a lot like The Stanhopes – full of introspection, change, and experiencing trials. It probably would have been a therapeutic release for her.

Whatever the secrets of Jane Austen’s life are, I hope they are wonderful – just like the ones created by Syrie James. I’m so thankful to Syrie James for crafting stories like this that let readers dream, wish, and fantasize about their favorite authors. I sincerely hope she “uncovers” another lost or secret item from some historical or literary figure real soon!

1 Fergus, “Biography”, Jane Austen in Context, 3–4


~ My Reviews for Syrie James Novels ~

The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë

Dracula, My Love



GIVEAWAY!!!  Syrie James was kind enough to stop by here last Friday and share some helpful writing advice.  In conjunction with her guest post and my review I get to give away one lovely new copy of The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen to ONE lucky winner!

To win this LOVELY prize all you have to do is comment below.
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  • The giveaway is open to US residents.
  • This giveaway ends January 19th.
If you are interested in DOUBLING your chances to win, go read Syrie’s guest post from Friday and leave a comment there too!
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  39 Responses to “The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen – Syrie James”


    I feel like jumping up and down shouting me me me!! I am very anxious to read this.


    One of my favorite authors… thanks for the giveaway!



    Great review Meredith! This sounds like such a wonderful story, I can’t wait to read it!!! Thanks for a chance to win 🙂


    Thank you for the review, Meredith! I’m eager to read it.



    It sounds really good, I’ve added it to my bulging Amazon wishlist 🙂


    The book sounds great! I can’t wait to read it!

    felicialso @gmail .com


    Would you believe I have never read one of Ms. James’ books? This might be the time to correct that. Your review is truly tantalizing, Meredith. Thanks!

    alexa [dot] adams96 [at] gmail [dot] com


      No way, Alexa! I think you would love many of Syrie’s books! I can’t decide which of hers is my favorite! They are all phenomenal! Glad you found my review enticing!


    I am looking forward to reading this novel within a novel. It sounds fabulous!


    I am so looking forward to reading this – it’ll be the first Syrie James book I’ve read. Thanks for the giveaway 🙂



    Wow! That sounds like we’re getting two books for the price of one with the adventure of finding it and then reading the manuscript. It sounds good. Thanks for sharing your review and for the further giveaway opportunity.

    sophiarose1816 at gmail dot com


    One of my favorite new authors!! LOVE her writing style & believable characters!

    Valerie R.
    txreyn5663 at earthlink dot net


    Sounds very interesting! I’d love to read it! Thanks for the chance to win copy!



    Thanks Meredith for the amazing review! I’m so thrilled that you enjoyed my novel–I had a wonderful time writing it. Thanks everyone for your comments! Good luck, happy new year, and happy reading!


    This sounds awesome 🙂 Would love to win it and read it! Thank you for the contest!!!!

    Erika M


    This book keeps popping up in my life…I think maybe I need to have a year of reading only Austenesque books…hrmm…. 🙂
    Thanks for the giveaway!

    bethwade1 at gmail dot com


    Lovely review Meredith! This book sounds absolutely wonderful! Thank you for the giveaway!!:)


    No need to enter me. I’m glad to see you loved this one as much as I did. I reviewed it a couple of weeks ago. The Stanhopes was so much like Austen to me that I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t. Great review, as always!


      Thank you, Anna! I felt the same way about The Stanhopes! Syrie did an amazing job matching Austen’s narrative tone, character complexion, and moral guidance! Glad to hear this one was one you loved too!


    I could’t agree more with your review Meredith. I loved this book. My favorite part is the novel within a novel approach. I agree that The Stanhopes is written in true Austen style. I sincerely hope there are more novels to be published from the hidden cache that was discovered in The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen!


    Ever since hearing about this book, I’ve been anxious to read it. Now, even more so after your review as it looks to be one of those ‘read in one sitting’ kind of books.

    Please enter me in the contest, thanks 🙂


    I am excited about this one! I have enjoyed her other books. Thank for the giveaway.
    cherringtonmb at sbcglobal dot net

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