I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend
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I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend (Jane Austen #1)

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  1,661 ratings  ·  285 reviews
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. But Jane is already a sharp observer of the customs of courtship. And when Jenny falls utterly in love with Captain Thomas Williams, who better than Jane to help her win the heart of this dashing man?
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 11th 2011 by Ember (first published September 28th 2010)
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I was a little skeptical of this one at first, because this is a really bold premise.

But I thought it was fun to see a young Jane Austen, as the author imagined her to be, and I thought the writing style, particularly the character descriptions and developing love story were very Austen-esque, albeit not exactly in her language, but that would have been impossible so it's best she didn't attempt it.

I liked it even more when I read the author's note at the end and saw how much research she had do...more
I absolutely adored this book, from start to finish. Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourites so I was really interested to read the author's take on young Jane. Everything about this book was just lovely... from the gorgeous cover to the writing that flowed really well. I enjoyed all the characters and really felt like I got to know them. The book was charming, witty and just fun to read. I loved the story of Jenny and Jane- they were both portrayed excellently. I was also glad to see the au...more
Amy (Turn the Page)
I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend follows the teenage life of Jane Austen, her cousin Jenny, and Jane’s immediate family, in a diary-like format. There are little illustrations dotted about, supposedly drawn by Jenny (and mostly of the handsome men she happens to meet!) with scraps of Jane’s writing attached for safe keeping. What’s interesting about this story is that the basic plot and the characters are all real, taken from facts known about that particular time in her life. Jenny Cooper, the m...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

Away at boarding school together, cousins Jenny Cooper and Jane Austen get into mischief. When Jane falls ill, Jenny knows she must send a letter to her aunt. The school mistress refuses her request, so in the dead of night she escapes to alert her aunt to the severity of Jane's illness. It's improper for a lady to be wandering the streets alone.

During her escape, Jenny meets Captain Thomas Williams. He's the perfect gentlemen, escorting her to the...more
Crash Queen
Apr 06, 2014 Crash Queen rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: fans of the Dear America series
We all know who the real star of this story is. I mean, the title is even 'I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend.'

Jenny: *blushes*

Alternate Titles:
- I'm Sorry I'm Not Jane Austen
- I'm Jane's Cousin
- I Wish I Was Jane

Ok, ok. I liked this book. No, really! I love reading journals and I absolutely love everything Jane Austen.

Jenny was just...All she did was blush and stay silent. But luckily that left me to focus on Jane Austen.
I loved seeing the author's take on what Jenny and Jane's...more
I wish I could have given this 4.75 stars. It was almost five stars; the reason it did not, is I didn't really like how the author portrayed Jane and her mother. By the end of the book though, they kind of grow on you, and aren't too bad. I guess it is possible that Jane Austen and her mother did not get along very well, but I never imagined it that way. And I always thought that Jane and Cassandra were best friends; Cassandra did not really act like a loving big sister in this book.

But, enough...more
Amanda Vance
Jenny Cooper is an immediately likable character, risking everything to get a letter to Jane’s mother to let her know that she is very ill. Like many of Austen’s own characters, you get a sense of who she is right away and she’s endearing through the thoughts she keeps in her diary. The book is meant for teen readers and Jenny is just 16 years old so the diary reflects the thoughts and dreams of a girl that age, many of which are true no matter what time in which you live.

This books is a great p...more
This book was, surprisingly, much better than I'd expected. I'm always interested in Austen adaptations, but most of them are sadly disappointing (yet I still find myself reading them. Why?). In this book, Jane Austen's young cousin, Jenny Cooper, comes to live with them for what proves to be a momentous year in her life. The story itself is told with sensitivity, I thought, and the author has clearly done her research into Austen's family life (I never knew, for instance, that Jane had a mental...more
I was thrilled when I read the blurb on this book to see that the central character had the same name as me. However I was then very disappointed by the book itself, a weak regency romance with the conceit that the protagonist is Jane Austen's cousin. The romance is insipid, and the pitching of the novel is confusing. The maturity of the writing seems aged at 11-12 years, yet the subject matter would surely only interest older readers. A great idea that was not executed as well as I would like.
The reader is introduced to Jane Austen's cousin Jenny Cooper who is a little older than Jane. The book begins with the girls going into a boarding school in which Jane has got ill. In order to get Jane out of the school to home to get better Jenny has to leave the school during the night and wonder in nightly South Hampton where she meets Captain Thomas Williams which who she falls in love right at the first moment even though she does not know it then.

Jane and Jenny are taken away from the hor...more
Mar 13, 2011 Becky rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: People who love feel good historical novels
Shelves: my-picks
I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend is a delightful, witty and entirely addictive historical novel!

I hadn’t really intended on reading I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend but when I ordered it for the library, one of my students asked me to read it before she did in case it had too much kissing. So of course, as a diligent and obliging librarian, I said I would. And I am so glad that I did.

I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend is the story of Jenny Cooper – Jane’s best friend – who documents her life in her...more
Not brilliant, but decent enough fluff. You know (or perhaps you don't) me and my Austen-y spin-offs. This one is of her own life. An intriguing fictional glimpse of Austen as a teen. Realistic in emotions and flaws within characters. Author Harrison acknowledged changing a couple of things (like Jane Cooper's name and her age), though I have to say that there were a few more things than that (like dates of meeting Tom LeFroy, how old the girls were when they went to school, when Eliza came to v...more
*Mild spoilers*
Some of you may know that I tried reading Emma by Jane Austen last week. I really wanted to enjoy such classic masterpiece however, I read a couple of chapters (Emma was such a fun, sweet character!) but I just couldn't get into the writing, I think maybe when I'm a bit older and in the right mood for a classic then I'll read it. :)

So I was browsing my shelves, looking for something that was modern but had a classic air to it and found this spin-off novel of Jane Austen, sitting...more
Rebecca- Books
I waited until my holiday for this one because I knew I would enjoy it and it seemed like one of those summer romantic reads to read on holiday in the sun...not in dreary raining, cloudy England. Although I hate the novels themselves, I'm starting to like the Jane Austen lifetime books at the moment. They're so interesting.
Cora Harrison herself, I found out, has released lots of books - I've never heard of her before!

Synopsis: When shy Jenny Cooper goes to stay with her cousin Jane Austen, she...more
I ended up really liking this book despite the title and despite the cover art. Those put me off because they seemed a little smug? I'm not sure the exact right word here, too worldly, too put together? Who knows, but the book isn't like that at all. I really enjoyed getting to know Jenny, who in the book isn't sure in the knowledge that she's Jane Austen's best friend though she does feel welcomed by her family. Jenny is shy and unsure of her place in the world and I enjoyed seeing her develop...more
I was Jane Austen’s Best Friend
Name: Danielle Autumn Shur
Harrison, C. (2010). I was Jane Austen’s Best Friend. New York, NY: Delacorte Press.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Print (Book)
Selection Process: WorldCat
Jenny Cooper is an orphan who has been abandoned by her brother and his controlling wife. Her only refuge is her best friend and cousin, Jane Austen. When Jane falls violently ill Jenny sneaks out of the ghastly boarding school the pair attend to send an urgent midnight letter t...more
3.5 stars:This is a sweetly told story from the perspective of Jane Austen's best friend Jane (Jenny Cooper). There really isn't a lot of information out there in regards to Jane Austen's teenage years so this provided a fun, imaginative idea of what Jane may have been like. Although the focus is on Jane's best friend Jenny, Jenny is living with the Austen family throughout the story so we also get to meet Mr. and Mrs. Austen, as well as Jane's sister Cassandra and her brothers.

Reading the auth...more
If Jane Austen did have a best friend, that friend could have kept a journal. And if the friend kept a journal, she would have written about her best friend, Jane. And if she wrote about Jane, her journal might have resembled this YA novel -- capturing what the girls' lives were like in 1791. But a journal is not a novel, so this is more like events listed chronologically, and lacking a plot. Some events seem to be forced into the book, not because they added to the storyline, but because they h...more
Debbie Smith
For anyone who loves Jane Austin's novels this book is the perfect escape literature. The story of Austin's teenage years hasn't really been told because so little is actually known about it. Through the use of the character Jenny, (who really was Jane's cousin) Cora Harrison gives the reader a delightful interpretation of what Jane's teenage years might have been like. There are enough Austiney (is that a real word? Probably not. Oh well.) moments to satisfy even the most demanding readers. I f...more
Cora Harrison does a nice job of portraying Jenny Cooper, the cousin and best friend of Jane Austen. Based in the late 1700's, we begin in a dreadful boardinghouse in Southampton England. Jane nearly perishes from a terrible flu if it wasn't for the courageous intervention of Jenny against the dastardly Mrs. Cawley. She is the headmistress and horrible spinster who nearly starves and freezes the students to save a few pennies.

In desperation, Jenny absconds into the night to mail a letter begging...more
Very interesting, but more because of the questions of authenticity and what limit there is (or isn't) to how far you can invent about real, well-known characters in historical fiction, than because of great quality to the writing. Mrs. Austen is Mrs. Bennet but massively more competent, Cassandra is surprisingly sour, and Jane herself a bit dubious. Jenny (whose diary this is) is fine, as very little is known about the real Jane Cooper.
This book left me with an inexplicable warm and fuzzy feeling. I initially questioned the historical authenticity, but eventually suspended disbelief and lost myself in the story of Jenny Cooper, Jane Austen’s best friend in 1791 England. We learn about Jane inadvertently but Jenny is the focus. The book is written as diary entries, allowing us to connect with Jenny - and making it a very enjoyable novel.
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. I can sometimes be nitpicky about books written about Jane Austen's life. I kept in mind, however, that this is a young-adult book written in a way to introduce young readers to Austen's life and times, and it helped me enjoy the book without getting caught up in the parts that might've been inaccurate.

I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend is written in a diary style, told from the perspective of Jenny Cooper, Austen's cousin (their mothers are sisters). When...more
(Review was originally posted on Alexa Loves Books)

It was just last year that I fell into a serious love affair with Jane Austen and her books. They'd been on my personal bookshelves for the longest time, but I only got around to actually reading them in the summer of 2010 -- and I've been hooked ever since.

Naturally, with an interest in Jane Austen, it follows that I enjoy historical romances and anything that pertains to that particular era in European history. Testament to this is my fascinat...more
I really enjoyed this novel. There were days where I couldn't put it down! Even though this novel started off pretty slow, getting past the middle, things started becoming more of what I was expecting of this novel. I really loved the ending!:D I would really recommend it for those who like the time era of those beautiful ball gowns, the balls, and the romance:)

*~*~*~*~*CONTAINS SPOILERS*~*~*~*~*
It bugged my how the author made Jane and Jenny seem younger than what they really were, but towards...more
Diana Melendez
I fell in love with this book since the first sentence hit my brain cells with love potion. I was amazed by how the author describe the family and Jenny about that period in which balls and reputations was that important. What I couldn't imagine that best is Jane Austen herself. She made her whole character be different from what is being told in her stories and other remains that she had before she died. Her character may had fit her perfectly if her adulthood had gotten her a husband to marry...more
Stephanie Bethel
Sneaking out at night, risking her reputation, and putting herself in danger’s path all to save her best friend’s life. Jenny Cooper is not your average teenage girl, she’s a hero. Cora Harrison's I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend surprised me with many twists and turns in the plot.
The theme of I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend is romance and Harrison did a really good job at weaving this novel so you really didn’t suspect who Jenny was going to end up with. The life lesson in this book is to neve...more
Lisa Frase
Summary: Through a series of journal entries, Jenny Cooper describes her stay with cousin Jane Austen in the 1790's. The story takes the reader through difficulties, triumphs, secrets, gossip, and romance.

I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison was a delightful surprise. This story is set prior to the Regency at the end of the Georgian period when Jane Austen was a teenager. The story is written from the point of view of Jenny Cooper, Austen's friend and cousin, and is told through Jenn...more
Becky Courage
Overall, I thought this book was a bit of a let down. Very juvenile (I know the narrator was a young girl, however it was tediously childish at times) and stale.

It started off well and revealed a lot about Jane Austen as a young girl and early writer. I enjoyed the balls and the dresses- the period facts were spot on. However, the story began to get monotonous and stale. Nothing really happened.

Also in certain parts the sentences didn't seem to connect and I found myself flipping back to the p...more
'I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend' was simply an average sort of book for me. It was mildly interesting, the writing was nothing special.

This book is about Jenny Cooper, Jane Austen's best friend and cousin, who decides to venture out to the streets of Southampton at midnight to send Jane's mother a letter because she is gravely ill and the people who work in the boarding school they are staying in don't treat them very nicely and are careless. It was frowned upon in that time to go out at such...more
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Cora Harrison worked as a headteacher before she decided to write her first novel. She has since published twenty-six children's novels. My Lady Judge was her first book in a Celtic historical crime series for adults that introduces Mara, Brehon of the Burren. Cora lives on a farm near the Burren in the west of Ireland.

More about Cora Harrison...
My Lady Judge (Burren Mysteries, #1) Debutantes Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend A Secret and Unlawful Killing (Burren Mysteries, #2) The Sting of Justice (Burren Mysteries, #3)

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