Review: The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen
Author: Syrie James
Published: December 31, 2012
Paperback, 422 pages
The minute I saw the letter, I knew it was hers. There was no mistaking it: the salutation, the tiny, precise handwriting, the date, the content itself, all confirmed its ancient status and authorship…
Samantha McDonough cannot believe her eyes--or her luck. Tucked in an uncut page of a two-hundred-year old poetry book is a letter she believes was written by Jane Austen, mentioning with regret a manuscript that "went missing at Greenbriar in Devonshire." Could there really be an undiscovered Jane Austen novel waiting to be found? Could anyone resist the temptation to go looking for it?
Making her way to the beautiful, centuries-old Greenbriar estate, Samantha finds it no easy task to sell its owner, the handsome yet uncompromising Anthony Whitaker, on her wild idea of searching for a lost Austen work--until she mentions its possible million dollar value.
Finding a missing manuscript by Jane Austen is any fan's dream come true. I often think it's a tragedy that we didn't get to have more books by Austen. Even though she only finished six books, her influence is still alive today. I've also read and enjoyed the writings of Syrie James. So of course with my love for all things Austen and my admiration of James, I couldn't help but find this book appealing in every way.
Samantha McDonough is the protagonist of this story. She travels to England with her boyfriend. He's attending a medical conference. This gives Samantha the perfect opportunity to do some sightseeing. While out shopping, she impulsively buys an old book of poetry. She later finds that it has a letter pressed between its pages. She is in no doubt that the letter was penned by none other than Jane Austen. After reading the letter a mystery starts to unfold before her.
This book is a story within a story. Samantha does find the missing manuscript of Austen. Syrie doesn't leave her audience hanging though, half the book's contents focus on the manuscript. I enjoyed reading this story as much as the other one. Syrie took quite a few characteristics from Austen's life and books and put them into 'Austen's' new story. As for Samantha's story line, I really enjoyed that as well. Who doesn't love a good mystery? I love the characters, the conflicts, and the resolutions. It did not disappoint.
Overall, I really like this book. It was fun to read, and I didn't want to put it down. If only this book were based on a true story, then is would be perfect.