Monday, August 15, 2011

I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend

I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend
by Cora Harrison

When shy Jenny Cooper goes to stay with her cousin Jane Austen, she knows nothing of the world of beautiful dresses, dances, secrets, gossip, and romance that Jane inhabits. At fifteen, Jane is already a sharp observer of the customs of courtship. So when Jenny falls utterly in love with Captain Thomas Williams, who better than Jane to help her win the heart of this dashing man?

But is that even possible? After all, Jenny’s been harboring a most desperate secret. Should it become known, it would bring scandal not only to her, but also to the wonderful Austen family. What’s a poor orphan girl to do? (description from

There were aspects of this book I truly loved, and parts that fell a little more flat for me. While I thought that you could really tell the author did a lot of research and Jane Austen sparkled through the text, little details I would have loved (descriptions of dress styles, for one) were missing. I really loved Jenny and Jane's relationship, the family dynamics, and the inclusion of Jane's sick (possibly epileptic) brother, George. Jenny's relationships with many of the men around her confounded me a little, though.

Her emotions seemed to jump from one extreme to another, and though many sixteen year olds do develop quick crushes, Jenny seemed to have no real emotional loyalty to the man she loves. I did find their romance sweet, if very, very quick!, and was rooting for them, but was also not fully swayed to believe that they truly felt that strongly for one another.

While I enjoyed reading this book, and I really did...the format with diary entries, snippets of Jane's writing, and little drawings was very fun to read...I did not love this book as I know others have. Perhaps I'm just not a big enough Jane Austen fan?

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