I am happy to announce that Christy from Hokiecoyote Blog is the winner of a copy of Jane Austen’s First Love by Syrie James. Christy was chosen using random.org and was sent an email to inform her of her win. She now has seven days to email me her mailing address or another winner will be chosen. Congrats to Christy!
Thank-you to Penguin Books for allowing me to host the giveaway and for providing the giveaway book. Thank-you to author Syrie James for her fascinating Guest Blog and for writing such a wonderful book. Thank-you to all who entered the giveaway!
Jane Austen’s First Love covers a fascinating period of Jane Austen’s life. Jane is a young girl of fifteen and her older brother Edward Austen is about to marry Miss Elizabeth Bridges. Edward Austen had been adopted by the wealthy related Knight family when a teenage boy and made their heir. Jane, her sister Cassandra, her brother Charles, and her mother travel to Kent to celebrate the engagement with the Knight family and also with the Bridges family at their estate Goodnestone. While at Goodnestone, Jane meets the fascinating Edward Taylor. Edward Taylor is a well-traveled gentleman of property that not only enjoys reading, but also a good adventure. He seems destined for his beautiful and accomplished cousin Charlotte and Jane fears that her love is unrequited.
Jane also busies herself with trying to match the various members of the house party a la Emma Woodhouse. She is particularly determined that bookish Mr. Lewis Cage and snob Fanny Bridges engagement be broken and Mr. Cage rematched with fellow book worm Sophia Bridges and Fanny with Mr. Cage’s friend Mr. William Deedes. To this end, Jane convinces the house party to participate in a theatrical production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. This part of the novel was very reminiscent of the theatrical production in Mansfield Park. Will everyone find their happily ever after?
I loved this novel. It perfectly captured the time period, and the wit of Jane Austen. I also loved how author Syrie James took a line from a letter Austen had written to her sister Cassandra, “We went by Bifrons and I contemplated with a melancholy pleasure the abode of Him, on whom I once fondly doated” and turned it into a fresh novel of Austen’s life. This is one love of Austen’s that I have never heard of and I thought the novel was fascinating as well as a fun pleasure read. To me it seemed as good as discovering another Austen novel that I had somehow missed.
I also enjoyed the great “Afterword” by Syrie James where she discusses her inspiration and what was true and not true about the novel. There are also fun discussion questions if you read this novel with a book club or if like me you just like to go through the questions when you finish the book.
Overall, Jane Austen’s First Love is a fresh, fascinating look into the life of Jane Austen and a mysterious new love. This book is for lovers of Jane Austen, historical fiction, or just a good book.
Book Source: Review Copy from Penguin Books – Thanks!