Lots of lessons here, and information not only on the books Austen wrote but on her own life.
At first I began to think this book was only about finding ‘the right one’. Lessons like ‘Finding the Right Man’, ‘Recovering from a Broken Heart’, ‘Marrying Well’, ‘Thinking About Love’, etc., all took up the first half of the book (and being already married I was getting a bit weary of reading them!) However there were also worthwhile lessons like, “Cherishing Family and Friends,” “Saving and Spending”, and “Finding Joy and Laughter”, among others.
“The Jane Austen Guide to Life” not only offers insights that Jane Austen may have been attempting to teach through her novel writing, but also facts about her life that I previously had not known. There are short synposes of her novels to illustrate the point, or ‘lesson’, that Lori Smith felt that Austen wants the reader to learn.
“Perhaps Austen’s best advice for us would be summed up in these two words: Know yourself. And by that, she wouldn’t intend for us to delve into the deep emotional self-knowledge we cultivate today…. Instead, Austen would be referring to a moral self-awareness that for her was motivated in large part by her Christian faith. She was driven by an intense desire to understand her own failings and by God’s grace to correct them.”
“I think Austen could give classes on loving life. She was engaged, even in small things. Daily concerns were not below her wit or interest. She could laugh about needing to repair her hat, ‘on which You know my principal hopes of happiness depend,’ she wrote – and tell Cassandra (her sister), “You know how interesting the purchase of a sponge-cake is to me.” She had a talent for taking deep pleasure in common things.”
This book has showed me how to appreciate Jane Austen’s writing even more, and areas to learn from that I would not have picked up on myself! A good read, and one to keep on my bookshelf!