The Bottom Line
This deck is definitely worth buying if you're an Austen fan. The imagery is complex, and to look at the Hanged Man, see Fanny Price of Mansfield Park, and understand exactly what it means is a real treat. However, the Austen imagery is also what could make this deck difficult to use for those unfamiliar with her work. Bottom line: if you like Jane Austen's writing, you'll like this deck. If your only frame of reference for her work is the Kiera Knightley version of Pride and Prejudice, this may not be the deck for you.
- All the artwork is based on Austen's stories, which is a plus for her fans.
- The suits have a Regency feel to them: teacups, quills, candlesticks, and coins.
- The imagery is similar enough to Rider Waite to make it easy to read for beginners.
- The book includes clever "What Would Jane Do?" interpretations of cards.
- Characters are uniformly drawn throughout the deck.
- There are a few errors in the book as far as card descriptions go.
- Strangely, Elizabeth Bennett is dressed like Scarlett O'Hara, losing the Regency feel completely.
- Artwork is based on Austen's work and may be hard to read for those unfamiliar with Austen.
- Jane Austen Tarot Kit is a worthy investment for Austen fans.
- Beware a few errors in card descriptions, and a non-Regency look to some of the cards.
- A great way to get to know Austen's characters (Emma, Elizabeth, Darcy, Fanny Price, the Dashwood sisters) better.
Guide Review - Jane Austen Tarot Kit
I'm a huge Jane Austen fan, so when I saw that Llewellyn was releasing a Lo Scarabeo deck with artwork based on the seven stories of Jane Austen, I said to myself, "I absolutely must have this!" I picked mine up as soon as it became available.
The artwork, for the most part, is well done. Some of it appears a bit comic-book cartoony, particularly in the colored Major Arcana cards, but I was willing to overlook it. The symbolism in each card is heavy and well-done, and the book does a decent job of interpreting each card. However, there are a few errors in the book in the descriptions of the cards, so in those cases I found myself making notes in the margin about the inaccuracies.
My major complaint about the artwork is that for some odd reason, all the pictures of Elizabeth Bennett have her dressed as though she is an 1861-era Southern belle, rather than the daughter of a Regency-era Englishman. Even on cards where Lizzie is pictured with other characters, they are all dressed appropriately for the time period, but she's not.
Those small things aside, the book is well written and rich in detail. The card descriptions connect to a scene from one of Austen's novels, and go into fabulous depth explaining characters and their motivations, and how they relate to the meaning of the Tarot card. There's also a "What Would Jane Do?" section, which explains how Jane herself can help one lead a life of balance and propriety. Loads of fun for Austen fans, although those unfamiliar with her work might find the explanations baffling.
Ultimately, this deck is also a great way to get to know Austen's work better. The use of the Dashwood sisters, Emma Woodhouse, Darcy and Bingley, Capt. Wentworth and Lady Susan is well-executed, and certainly provides ample opportunity to discover more depth to the characters.