We just got back from a busy vacation to Chicago. I really love family vacations. I love it from beginning to end, the packing up the car to unloading it, the early mornings to late evenings, and the are we there yet moments to the finally we’ve arrived moments. I also love that it gives me time to read a book. It never fails, I’m either up before everyone because my internal alarm clock doesn’t quit or I’m up after the kids have fallen soundly asleep. This really shouldn’t surprise me. I’m almost always awake stirring around a quiet house. The nice thing about vacation is, I’m up stirring but I don’t have any charts to work on. And that’s a HUGE blessing.

So while in Chicago, I read Jane of Austin it was a wonderful escape. Here’s my review.

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Jane of Austin by Hillary Manton Lodge

The Woodward sisters find themselves out of a home and their teas salon without a roof. This paired with their ever-looming father’s reputation, the girls must look for a new home and a new store front. In order to escape their father’s poor choices, they move from California to Austin, Texas to live with their cousin Ian. There they meet extended family, a Texas charmer, and a retired Marine captain.

This book has it all! It has a fantastic story backdrop of starting over and rebuilding lives in an unknown city. It artfully mixes in relationships both family and love interests. Toss in some love of baking and tea and you have a best selling, (quite) unique book.

At its core, is a theme of love, family and hard work. Despite the unfair circumstances, these girls learn the ongoing importance of family and honesty. They also learn a lesson on caution and not everyone is who they seem. Hard work is always there, whether its learning about a new-found disability, running a business, or working at relationships; it takes hard work.

What I love about this story is the uniqueness it brings to the Austin favorite. At the end of many chapters, the author has added recipes. Being a self-acclaimed baker and chef, I loved ready through and making note of which ones I would be going back to try. I also loved the added tea bits. There’s not a lot of this, so don’t worry it doesn’t take over the story. But it’s sprinkled in nicely.

This modern day spin on the classic Sense and Sensibility is well-written and certain to delight. The wit and charm will pull-you in and keep you reading.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 bookends. I would recommend it to anyone who loved Jane Austin, contemporary novels, stories of starting over, or light romance. This book would be appropriate for young adults and older teens.

What are you reading now? Leave a comment and let me know what you’re reading and if you are enjoying it! I love to hear from you.

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