In Need of a Little Austen

In Need of a Little Austen


In a few comments on a recent blog post, readers stated they’d experienced great loss and tough springs and summers. They looked forward to the escape a good book can provide.

Books are therapy.

Along with pushing us out of our world into the lives and stories of others – and some contend, forming some of our closest connections to the human experience through our appropriation of others’ stories – books also console and help heal us.

I found this to be true in 2009. I was severely injured, in tremendous pain, and housebound for several months at the beginning of that year. There wasn’t much I could do besides watch TV and read. And television was not appealing at that time. But, with regards to reading, I didn’t have the energy or courage to “meet new friends.” Instead I needed somewhere comfortable to go, to sit quietly and to heal. I turned to Jane Austen. That year, I probably read over seventy novels, but the first six were Austen’s completed novels. Her stories provided a sanctuary for me and I will be forever grateful.

In my case, her novels also launched a career. It was during this recovery I began Dear Mr. Knightley – the story of a young woman in so much pain she hid behind the personas of her favorite characters. That book sold to HarperCollins in 2012 and I’m now in edits for my sixth novel, The Printed Letter Bookshop. It’s been an extraordinary ride – and not one I ever expected, but one for which I am continually grateful.

Whether you find escape, peace, solace, companionship, great literature or a career – Jane Austen is good medicine.

What have Austen’s novels meant to you?




5 Responses to In Need of a Little Austen

  1. I definitely find comfort and escape in both the books and the adaptations of Jane Austen. I’ve watched and read her works since my childhood so it also has nostalgia for me.

  2. I read to escape and to learn. Historical romance is my preferred genre because it combines both elements: I learn from the history and disappear into the romance!

  3. Exactly what you said an escape! I love to be in someone else’s world for a little while. I always spend my lunch hour at work reading. My one hour to be n another world just for a small period of time. Pure bliss!

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