I received a copy of this book for free for promotional purposes.
I loved the premise of the book, but it ultimately fell a little short of my expectations.
As a quick note: this book is loosely connected to the author’s previous novel, The Jane Austen Society. However, you do not need to read that book in order to enjoy this one (I personally have not read The Jane Austen Society and was able to understand this book with no issues).
My main issue with the book is the pacing. It is very slow. Getting through the first half of the book was a struggle. Once I was about halfway through, the pace (luckily) picked up.
Another issue I had was that I never felt connected to the characters. I attribute that in part to the prose. It felt very detached and overly wordy at times. It never went deep into the characters.
Moving on to what I liked. I loved that the book had a list of characters and a map of the bookstore. Those were so helpful, especially since there were a lot of characters.
I also liked the exploration of being a woman during that time. The book showcased the difficulties well. It also did a good job exploring the prejudices minorities face. One of the characters, Ash, is Indian and continually faces racism.
Lastly, I do like books about books so I enjoyed the literary references and cameos as well as the bits about writing.
Overall, I didn’t love this book, but don’t let that deter you from reading it. You might love it!
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