On My Austen Bookshelf ~ The Perfect Visit

This book I shall get straightaway – available in paperback or for your kindle – and as this one looks like a keeper – books! bibliophiles! manuscripts! Shakespeare! Austen! – kindle will just not cut it…

Quoting full text from the Fine Books & Collections blog, by Rebecca Rego Barry:

If you enjoy novels with bookish characters and antiquarian themes, have I got a recommendation for you! Bookseller Stuart Bennett‘s debut novel, A Perfect Visit, is the story of a modern-day librarian and graduate student who get involved in a time travel project aimed at acquiring books and manuscripts to bring back to the future for profit and preservation. The American librarian, Ned Marston, travels to Shakespeare’s London to rescue lost quartos and ends up befriending the Bard, while the Canadian student, Vanessa Horwood, hopes to score a Jane Austen manuscript but gets sent to jail soon after meeting the dying author. If you can put aside your misgivings about a time travel plot (and you should, despite Dickens biographer Peter Ackroyd’s statement that “If a late-20th-century person were suddenly to find himself in a tavern or house of the period, he would literally be sick — sick with the smells, sick with the food, sick with the atmosphere around him” ), Ned and Vanessa’s experiences among famous authors and book collectors make for a perfectly delightful read.

In the postscript, Bennett, formerly with Christie’s rare books department and more recently past president of the ABAA, writes that the working title of this book was “A Bibliographical Romance” — less creative than the final title, taken from Austen’s Emma, but more descriptive. He goes on to say, “If I have tinkered a little with history, I have done my best not to tinker with bibliography…Every reference to books, authorship, texts, publisher’s imprints, and prices is, as far as I know, accurate.” It brings to mind the PBS slogan, “entertainment without the guilt.”

 Do you think Mr. Bennett was destined to write this book because of his name?? [despite the extra ‘t’…]
Further reading:
The Perfect Visit, by Stuart Bennett
  • ISBN-13: 9780615542706
  • Publisher: Longbourn Press
  • Publication date: 12/2/2011
  • $14.95 at your local bookseller [$10. 76 at B&N; $2.99 on your kindle…]
Copyright @2012 Jane Austen in Vermont

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