Good morning readers. I hope you enjoyed your extra hour the past weekend. I was finally able to get a good amount of reading into my schedule after a few rather hectic weeks and this included reading Katherine Reay’s new book, which is being launched today, The Austen Escape.
Katherine Reay has generously offered to visit with my readers today and together we enjoyed a video chat where we talked about our love for Jane Austen, our connections to Austen’s work and of course, The Austen Escape. After all, what Janeite hasn’t wanted his/her own escape to spend time in Regency England with Jane Austen’s characters? Katherine’s new book explores this idea for us through the experiences her characters share in this story.
As someone who loves Jane Austen Fan Fiction, I really loved being immersed in an Austenesque story that took place in a contemporary setting where the characters are influenced by Austen’s stories, like many of us, and where we explore some of the themes that Austen also explored in her books.
I loved spending time with Katherine Reay. I found her to be such a pleasure to meet and I hope that you enjoy our video chat. You can tell she’s a real pro at this process and that I still have some things to learn about moving away from the screen while I am being recorded, and sounding less like I am “very New York!”
Please join me in welcoming Katherine Reay to Just Jane 1813…
Isn’t she just wonderful? I hope you loved meeting Katherine Reay and if you’re wondering which character she said she connected with the most since the video froze during her response, her answer was Elinor Dashwood.
Here’s the inside scoop about The Austen Escape…
Critically-acclaimed author Katherine Reay mixes a classic love of Jane Austen’s writing with a thread of humor and healing in her fifth novel, “The Austen Escape” (HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson). Reay’s latest novel was inspired by Austen’s “Northanger Abbey” as well as the works of Dr. Seuss, making for a one-of-a-kind mash-up that will leave readers laughing, crying and wanting more.
The true nuance of Reay’s “The Austen Escape,” as with her novels before, is best explained in a recent Publishers Weekly review: “Unlike many books written in homage to Austen, this is not a modern retelling of any of her stories, but rather a romp among contemporary Austen fanatics. Readers eager for anything Austen-related will enjoy this clean romance that explores the concept of escapism and what it may reveal about our real lives.”
“The Austen Escape” commences as two friends leave behind their busy lives in Austin, Texas and escape to Bath, England in search of relaxation and enjoyment. However, they soon end up on a topsy-turvy adventure, as a common love interest, delusions of Austen-era life, and a string of pivotal events test their bonds of friendship.
“I’ve explored relationships between sisters and have touched on mother-daughter dynamics before, so for this book, I wanted to examine best friends,” said Reay. “The two main characters came together at a young age and were close, but drifted apart as they grew older – as often happens.” In the end, the vacation ends up changing their lives in surprising ways. The friend who has always been deemed the follower becomes a caretaker and leader, growing into a far matured version of her former self.
“The Austen Escape” presents a fun fresh way to look at a woman’s journey for self-definition, love, and her best future,” said Reay. “It also provides a lovely escape into books and to England that leaves readers, not detached from life, but perhaps inspired to new insights into their daily lives and purpose – a call to find new places, seek joy, and find their own ‘best selves.’”
The novel has already garnered much literary attention, particularly for Reay’s understanding of female relationships as well as her ability to present them in entertaining ways. Kirkus Reviews praised the novel as “thoughtful escapism,” going on to note, “Reay handles…scenes with tenderness and a light touch, allowing the drama to come as much from internal conflict as external, rom-com–type misunderstandings.”
More About Katherine Reay…
Katherine Reay is a writer, wife, mom, continually rehabbing runner, compulsive vacuumist and a horrific navigator…
She graduated from Northwestern University and earned an MS in Marketing from Northwestern as well. She then worked in marketing and development before returning to graduate school for a Masters of Theological Studies. Moves to Texas, England, Ireland and Washington left that degree unfinished as Katherine spent her time unpacking, raising kids, volunteering, writing, and exploring new storylines and new cities.
The Reay family (with a great sense of permanency) now resides outside of Chicago, and Katherine pursues writing with more focus. She writes character-driven stories and non-fiction that focuses upon examining the past and how it influences our present experiences.
It’s Giveaway Time
HarperCollins is offering a wonderful giveaway for my readers! One lucky Just Jane 1813 winner with a U.S. mailing address will win a copy of The Austen Escape, a copy of Dear Mr. Knightley (Katherine’s first Jane Austen inspired novel), a custom bookmark and a Jane Austen quote magnet. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? Thank you, HarperCollins, Allison Carter, Senior Publicist at HarperCollins, and Katherine Reay, for this fabulous Austenesque package!
To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this post. We’d love to know what your ultimate Austen escape would include! Readers must leave comments no later than midnight, ET, on November 16th and the winner will be announced on November 17, 2017, on this blog.
Looking for a new way to enjoy Jane Austen? Join Mary & Isabel on their own Austen escape!