"It's only words, and words are all I have, to take your heart away." —Bee Gees
A diverse cast of characters varying in age, origin, occupation and social status band together to preserve the former estate of Jane Austen in postwar England. It has a similar charm to The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but in my opinion it's a little less bubbly in tone, a little more somber.
There are several obvious parallels to story lines in Austen's books, including but not limited to a broken engagement (Persuasion), inheritance laws favoring male relatives instead of direct female descendants (Sense and Sensibility), and falling in love with a cad (multiple Austen novels, if not every one of them). I had some minor quibbles with narrator Richard Armitage (of The Hobbit movies fame) but in general he does a great job with the different accents and voices required for the characters.
While the story's pacing can feel a bit slow, I was rooting for the characters to achieve their goal and to find happiness in spite of personal losses and hardships. There are a few twists and a surprise pairing that I didn't see coming, and the delightful, heartwarming ending made me bump this up from 3.5 to 4 stars. I wonder if it's time for me to reread another Austen novel.