The Next Great Jane by K.L. Going

Jane Brannen wants nothing more than to become a famous author like Jane Austen--she just needs to figure out the key to literary success! Her chance to uncover the secret arrives when famous author J. E. Fairfax visits the tiny lobster town of Whickett Harbor, Maine. Unfortunately, a hurricane rolls in and Jane gets stuck with the author's snobbish son, Devon, instead. But when the skies clear, Jane realizes the wind has blown in something worse than annoying boys: Her mother, Susan, and Susan's new fiancé, Erik, have flown all the way from Hollywood to file for custody and bring Jane back to California. Now she needs to find a mate for her marine biologist father and figure out what's truly important about Whickett Harbor, so she can prove to her mother that this is where she's meant to stay.
A determined writer and a haughty science geek find themselves stuck together during a hurricane. When the wind winds down and the rain stops falling, they find their lives ever complicated by that day.

Jane's voice shines through brightly in The Next Great Jane. She knows who she is. She knows she loves her small seaside town of Whickett Harbor. Most of all, she knows she loves her father and couldn't bare to be taken away from him. I felt like I really got to know why Jane loved her small town. I could imagine myself smelling the sea air which added to a wonderful atmosphere that reminded me of summer in Florida. The added environmental discussion was surprisingly interesting as I was not bored reading about plankton. Who would have thought? The tenuous relationship between Jane and her mother was well thought out. I was invested in seeing how her relationship with her mother would change throughout the story. At first, I thought her father's absent-mindedness with forgetting to buy food (Anna, the babysitter, stocked up their refrigerator) and his overall silliness in the beginning of the story would become a problem with me liking his character. However, you really see him as a strong and caring father figure in Jane's life later on in the story. I liked seeing Jane and Devon discovering that maybe you shouldn't judge someone right away because there might be more to them than first meets the eye. Lastly, Jane's writing progression was so well done. She had ups and downs when it came to her writing but ultimately it came together in the most perfect way.

The main weakness I found was that I would have liked to get more of Devon's side of things regarding his parent's divorce and his feelings on his absent father. His family dynamic mirrored Jane's so it would have been nice to see a conversation between him and his mother since he had some pent up frustrations towards her at the beginning of the story. Explorations of his brother and sister's thoughts and feelings would have been interesting too. Kitty was another figure that could have been examined more as well since she was raised by her grandmother and lost her parents. She could have added more layers within the story instead of just being an ordinary side character. However, I truly didn't think about this while I was reading. I was thoroughly immersed with K.L. Going's writing and enjoyed my reading experience.

The Next Great Jane was a wonderfully layered story with a focus on family, writing, environmentalism, and second chances set in the perfect seaside atmosphere of Whickett Harbor, Maine.

Release Date: May 19th, 2020

Thanks to Dial Books (Penguin Group) and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of The Next Great Jane in exchange for an honest review!


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