What Book Club charm does The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen hold? We’ve been considering just that question after the subject was broached by some of our friends indicating we might be their next pick.
- FRIENDSHIP is a strong theme in the book and also sometimes in Book Clubs! (I mean, I guess it’s not a pre-requisite for those of you into the serious art of reading literature, but I assume it helps!)
- It’s got history in it! I mean, not all of it is totally true, but a good amount of it is, and I think it’s fairly easy to spot where we deviate (intentionally anyway).
- It’s a virtual tour of Bath, UK. And trust me, Bath is AWESOME. I hate traveling. But I love Bath. When a cranky traveler gives a place a thumbs up, I feel that should mean something.
- It’s FUNNY. And considering the sometimes subtle, sometimes substantial differences in UK and US humor, the fact that we both thought it was funny might just mean it is.
- It’s LIGHT (the Kindle edition is anyway – *insert rim shot here*). In some Book Clubs, the books (no matter how worthy of being read) can be a tad heavy and depressing. The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen can be a nice palette cleanser between Nobel prize winning novels.
- ROMANCE that you don’t have to cover your eyes for. I mean, I enjoy extra steamy love scenes as much as the next gal, but I grew up with the sort of subtle, funny romance that was almost like a secret between the writer, the characters, and only some of the readers. All my favorite romance novels have dog-eared pages where I’ve distinguished hints that the relationship is progressing, but would otherwise struggle to find those moments again.
- Most our characters have British Accents! Okay, perhaps not as fascinating to you British people, but I love the British accent and feel extremely lucky to have an actual, real, live British person writing with me, transforming my Americanisms into verified Britspeak (unless I’m writing for an American character).
It has at least one American accent! No? This doesn’t get anyone excited? Of all the billions of people that adore the British accent, I thought maybe there would be one oddball who wanted an American one but no…How about… It has an American! Which I find funny and refreshing because it does help to highlight some of those subtle but all important differences between our cultures and why we should appreciate each other.
- The characters are NERDS for Jane Austen (for those of you less nerdy than me, a nerd nowadays can be another way of saying fanatic). I know there are people out there that would not count themselves as nerds for anything, but these people are basically nerds about not being nerds. I mean, you kinda have to work at not being a nerd nowadays. We are in the Age of Nerd! a time when you can nerd out on gourmet cooking shows as easily as you can Star Trek. I can proudly list a dozen things in which I am overly invested (read: nerdy about) and a million ways to connect with others through each and every one of them.
Nerds create communities in which to be our most nerdy selves and these communities can be long- lasting, rock solid, and immeasurably fulfilling. Hey! Book clubs are communities too! Even if it’s not Jane Austen that you’re nerdy for, I bet you will recognize that spark – that love that inspires your nerd-hood in our characters’ love for Regency fiction.
- A reader recently said of our book that “Loving Jane Austen is not a prerequisite but is a repercussion“. Speaking of, The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen has a lot of Austen references: JANE AUSTEN character references, JANE AUSTEN book scene location references, etc. It was a little unbelievable for me to be walking the SAME streets, seeing many of the same facades, the same views not simply of THE Jane Austen, but of her imagination as well. BUT you don’t need to ‘know’ Jane Austen or her life to enjoy the book. We know; we’ve been told!
- There are animals! Both Cass and I adore animals and maybe your Book Club does too! One animal in particular changes the course of our character’s lives in an unexpected, but we hope charming, way.
- Our main female characters are SMART. There are no damsels in this book, though one of our main females does tend to be flighty about directions and keys which may or may not reflect the real life of one of the two authors of this book who still believes she is smart despite this defect and a few more she may or may not have. No, don’t ask my husband if it’s me, I don’t want to talk about it! I have degrees people! Okay, they are in English and Art, but that doesn’t make me any less of a female person!
- Our male characters are smart too. Our female characters do not need to put men, individually or as a gender, down to prove their own salt. Everyone’s great in their own way – except for that one character and, face it, we all know that one person we wish no harm to, but would rather not be forced to work with daily! It’s probably that person you talk about with your Book Club before you all buckle down to business and discuss the book you’re supposed to have read but didn’t have enough time to because THAT person mucked up the workflow and you were late.
- There are HATS. Actually, this is just a test to see if you’re still reading.
- This novel is rare in that it is co-written. That could be an interesting topic of discussion in a Book Club. It certainly was an interesting topic of conversation between us while we were co-writing it!
- There is a lot of talk of what influences shaped our characters that could be good Book Club discussion. What are the small things that would change in your life if one key influence from your past disappeared? What were those influences? How would their absence have affected your life (if at all)? And would you be the only one who’s life changed? Would an entire industry or city change? Or… would there simply be something indefinable in the universe missing?
17. It introduces us Americans to the Love Hearts candy which you can have shipped and available to serve at your Book Club meeting. Cheerful colors, sweet messages and it doesn’t even have to be Valentine’s Day!
18. There’s an element of fantasy to The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen. And how often do you have an element of fantasy in your Book Club selection? Probably often if you’re fantasy fans… but if you are… all the more reason to choose us.
19. Our characters love books too! I mean – if you’re in a Book Club you are probably there for one of two main reasons. 1. You wanted to spend more time with the people in your Book Club; 2. You wanted to read more books. Both of these themes – friendship and the love of reading – are of central importance in The Particular Charm of Miss Jane Austen.
20. Our book is set during the Jane Austen Festival in Bath. This is an amazing annual event that you and your book club could attend together after reading the novel! And if you book thru Bath Boutique Stays, you might even be able to stay in 4 Sydney Place (one of Jane Austen’s actual residences!).
21. And finally, our TPCoMJA (wow, what a catchy acronym!) would be a great addition to your Book Club list because: For a limited time we are trying to figure out a way to get you a discount on the physical books if you buy 6 or more for your Book Club. Full disclosure: We haven’t figured out shipping costs yet, and I am slightly concerned that shipping will end up making this less exciting. But we’re working on it! Message us and you might be the Beta group for this offer!!