Book Review: Jane Austen and Shelley in the Garden by Janet Todd @Jan_Todd

Jane Austen and Shelley in the Garden
Janet Todd
Fentum Press, September 2021
ISBN 978-1-909572-270
Trade Paperback

Fran is a retired professor of English literature, living in a cottage in Norfolk, and considering what to do next. Will she write a memoir or travel? Fran is joined by the ever present ghost of Jane Austen, who feels she must comment on everything from Fran’s teaching methods, to gardening, family matters, and relationships. Fran’s friends—Annie, Rachel, Thomas, and Tamsin—decide to take a trip to Wales and Venice to visit places of importance to the poet Percey Bysshe Shelley. Of course, the ghost of Jane Austen is along for the ride.

I don’t know enough about the life of Shelley and English literature to understand all the witticisms that were in this book. Even with watching a lot of BBC America, I didn’t get the references to contemporary British culture. Readers with a lot of knowledge of poetry, literature, and life at the British universities would appreciate this book more than I did.

Reviewed by Susan Belsky, September 2021.