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Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer

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What was Jane Austen like as a child? What were her formative influences and experiences, her challenges and obstacles, that together set her on the path toward becoming a writer?

Drawing upon a wide array of sources, including Austen’s own books and correspondence, this award-winning biography offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of young Jane Austen. Also included is a richly detailed, annotated version of the narrative and an overview of Austen’s life, legacy, and the era in which she lived, as well as a timeline of her key childhood events.

YOUNG JANE AUSTEN is sure to intrigue anyone interested in Jane Austen, in writing and the creative process, and in the triumph of the artistic spirit.

188 pages, Paperback

First published April 20, 2015

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About the author

Lisa Pliscou

8 books28 followers
I write books for children and adults. My latest, from Macmillan: BRAVE JANE AUSTEN: Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel, a picture-book biography.

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Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews
Profile Image for Sophia.
Author 5 books325 followers
April 10, 2015
There is a significant bit of information (though not nearly enough) about Jane Austen's adult life, but her childhood is rather a blank slate. What was Jane Austen like as a child? What did she do and how did she fit into her family? How did she grow into a writer? I was tickled to see that one author asked herself these questions and tackled it in this sweet tale that can be appreciated by young and young at heart alike, by the pleasure reader and the amateur scholar and by those who have a long love of this author and her works as well as those new to her.

I don't normally make comments on the appearance of a book, but in this case, I'll make an exception. This is a gorgeous book, inside and out. The illustrations by Massimo Mongriardo that look like sketches help bring the print alive for the reader, the layout, colors, and even textures make you feel like you're holding something precious. For those who want to give a lovely gift or enjoy in editions with eye appeal, this is for you.

As to the format, there are three main sections to the book. First, there is the story which is short, but appealing. Next section is the annotated edition of the story. And finally in the back are notes and further research along with a nice bibliography and index. I read it all in one sitting so when I encountered the annotated story, I just read the notes alone.

I found it interesting where the author chose to focus with the notes. There were the usual explanations that help modern readers understand life in the late Georgian period for a family like the Austens and details about the Austens and their acquaintances, but the notes went beyond that to discuss the psychology of the creative mind, the Austen parents and Jane, herself. I think this is the first time I've encountered that approach and I enjoyed the analysis.

The story itself was simple and from a young child's perspective. It was speculative as it must be under the circumstances, but it read true in a 'day in the life of...' way. Known facts were blended with speculation based on research for the times and a pinch of author creativity. I found it delightful. It's a sweet story from little Jane's perspective on what goes on around her. I learned some things in the process of reading. I didn't know Mrs. Austen farmed out her babies a few months after birth until they were toddlers and I was unaware of the nature of Jane's brother, George Austen's afflictions. The little story helped me gain insight too particularly with the continuous change going on in the family even from a young age all the while, the experiences fed her future writing genius.

Papa no longer took in students and the house was emptier, quieter. Cassy and Jane were given their very own room adjoining theirs. They called it the Dressing Room, but it was much, much more than that. When Cassy was home, it was a place to share stories, jokes, secrets. When Cassy was away, Jenny could be alone. Alone, but not lonely, for here you could think. Feel. Read. Figure things out. Dream. p. 68 Jane from Young Jane Austen

Even if you were only a girl, words made you mighty. Words, stories, books: they could take you anywhere, and they could go out anywhere in the world.
Jenny- Jane- picked up her pen to write.
p. 79 Jane from Young Jane Austen

All in all, it was a joy to read this short piece that made the child Jane Austen come alive and had some nice notations and research to enhance my growing knowledge of the person behind the brilliant stories. I would recommend it for middle grade readers to adults who might be interested in famous historical figures or further knowledge of Jane Austen.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Ceri.
283 reviews92 followers
April 24, 2015
This review was first posted on Babblings of a Bookworm: http://babblingsofabookworm.blogspot....

There are many biographies of Jane Austen, most of which focus on her writing years. We know that Jane wrote plays and stories from around the age of 12 but this biography instead focuses more on her life before she started writing, to look at what formed her up until that point. Not much is known of Austen’s childhood, but Pliscou has pulled together what was known of general life at the time, and of the Austens’ lives in particular. The first section of the biography is in a speculative style, i.e. third person, but giving an insight on what may have been Jane Austen’s point of view at the time in question:

‘James was home, and announced that he and his brothers and their friends were going to put on a play! It was a thrilling story called ‘Matilda’, and James even wrote a new beginning and ending for it.

How exciting to watch the rehearsals, lively with laugher and squabbles. And what fun to finally sit in the dining parlor and see the actors, splendid in their costumes, saying their lines so well – and to be spellbound by the tale of murder and swordfights, trickery and true love, as it unfolded before your eyes!’

This first section is beautifully illustrated with some really charming pictures by Massimo Mongiardo, which were commissioned for this book. I thought the author did a good job of putting herself in the shoes of a child of the time, for example there are some comments relating to girls receiving different treatment to boys, and this not being questioned but at the time girls were treated differently to boys because the expectations of life were different for females. I think this speculative approach would make this book an unintimidating read for a younger reader to tackle.

For myself, though, I wanted some more facts and a bit more detail on some of the events mentioned, and the second part of the book provides this, repeating the text of the first part and following this up with details, where known, and the source of those details. Sometimes things are also put into societal context. I found the repetition of the first text very helpful, as it saved me flipping back through the book to see exactly what was written. Here is an example of one of the expansions, in relation to the part I’ve quoted above, about James Austen writing a play:

‘In winter 1782, when Jane turned seven, the first known play at the Austens’ was staged. Enthusiasm for home theatricals had been sweeping the nation for some time. Over the next few years, other, equally ambitious theatricals were staged at the Austens’ home, although it’s not known if Jane ever took a speaking part.’

Though the book is primarily focused on Austen’s youth, there is also a section outlining the later events of her life, and a timeline of the major events of her life. There are not many facts known about this period in Austen’s life, but I thought they were put into context well. I would also like to mention how attractive the book is. Aside from the drawings, which are lovely, the pages also have decoration. There are some books that are equally good in paper copy and in e-book but I would really recommend getting the hard copy book, as I can’t imagine that you could get the same effect on a screen as you do in the book. I think it’d also make a lovely gift, just because it’s so pretty. I found this a very readable and engaging book and I very much enjoyed it. I’d rate this book at 4½ stars.

*I received a copy of this book from the author for my honest review.
Profile Image for Meredith (Austenesque Reviews).
891 reviews305 followers
May 20, 2015
A Scholarly Representation of Jane Austen’s Childhood

Diehard Janeites don’t need to be told that there is a dearth of biographical information available about Jane Austen’s life. We know that Cassandra Austen burned most of Jane Austen’s correspondence, we know that there is a long period of silence where precious little is recorded or written by her, and we know that her childhood home, her beloved Steventon Rectory, stands no more. These are truths we must acknowledge, but oftentimes find very hard to accept! Over the years many authors and scholars have taken pen to paper to research the history, suppose the truth, and uncover what it is not known about Jane Austen. While many focus on Jane Austen’s romantic life, publishing career, and adult years, author Lisa Pliscou opts to shine her light on the most shadowy part of Jane Austen’s history – her childhood.

In this exquisitely elegant and compact tome Lisa Pliscou blends fact and supposition to present a speculative account of Jane Austen’s childhood. Beginning with Jane Austen’s birth in 1775, Ms. Pliscou illustrates both the day-to-day home life and the momentous events that shaped Jane Austen’s childhood experiences. The information is presented in 1-2 page chapters that are each accompanied by a full-page illustration by Massimo Mongiardo. There are two versions of the information presented in this volume. The first version of this biography (with illustrations) is 79 pages long and is voiced as a young child narrating their life. The second version of this biography (without illustrations) presents the same chapters and information but this time includes annotated notes after each chapter going into further detail about what is recorded and known about this time in Jane Austen’s life, drawing facts from biographies, histories, and psychological studies.

This has to be one of the most attractive and enchanting biographies I ever read about Jane Austen! I loved the beautiful designs on each page, the backgrounds, the look of old manuscript paper, and the charming illustrations! This volume truly is appealing and handsome!

While I do feel I was already familiar with most of the information presented in this work, there were two truths about Jane Austen’s life that crystalized clearly for me as I read this biography. One truth I realized was that for a girl growing up in this time period and society, Jane Austen’s life and experiences were quite singular. To grow up in a family where all children survived birth and infancy, to live in a home where her father’s library was vastly more extensive than average (and to be given free reign of such a library), to have the freedom (even though she is just a female) to pursue her own interests and occupations – are all quite atypical for this time period.

The other realization I made was how important it was for Jane Austen to be “at home.” With being “farmed out” to a nanny in the village as an infant and being sent to a girls school twice (one being a spectacularly negative experience), I can easily understand how being away for home made Jane Austen feel unhappy, unsettled, and insecure. Jane Austen’s silence during her years in Bath and Southhampton make a great deal of sense when you look at it through this lens.

Young Jane Austen is a thoroughly-researched and credible representation of Jane Austen’s life from infancy through age twelve. This lovely and delightful biography is a wonderful choice for all Janeites wanting to learn more about Jane Austen’s childhood!
Profile Image for Darlene.
672 reviews34 followers
April 23, 2015
Originally posted at Peeking Between the Pages (http://www.peekingbetweenthepages.com...)

There is little know about Jane Austen’s childhood and in Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer releasing today, author Lisa Pliscou recreates for us what young Jane’s life might have been like. What may have shaped Jane Austen into the writer she became? Was it her childhood, her family, or was it just destiny? In the beautifully written Young Jane Austen we are given a glimpse into ‘what might have been’.

First though I have to talk about the sheer beauty of this book. The cover design and inside pages with a flower border are gorgeous as are the amazing illustrations by Massimo Mongiardo. When I first received the book I could do nothing but look at how pretty it is. I love the layout of the book with the first part being told about Jane’s childhood from the perspective of a child and this makes it perfect for both young and old readers alike. The annotated version follows and it is very interesting and informative and gives you a clearer idea of how Jane Austen’s young life might have unfolded. In the last half of the novel we have a timeline, sources, and an index.

While I really enjoyed the story which can easily be read in one sitting it was the notes in the annotated version that I found most intriguing. Pliscou wrote the story while taking into account how things were back in the 1700’s. She took known facts and along with a creative mind shaped young Jane Austen’s life for us. I also found fascinating the facts she shared with us relative to the times. The one that surprised me the most was the fact that Mrs. Austen ‘farmed’ out her babies when they were just a few months old and they didn’t return home until they reached the toddler stage. Needless to say this shocked me but was apparently common practice for the times. Even as the kids got older they were quite often placed with other families. One has to wonder how the children felt about this or even how it may have affected them in their adult lives and the author touches on this in relation to Jane’s writing and how much her characters and stories reflected the times she was living in.

If you have an interest in Jane Austen this little novel would make a perfect addition to your Austen library aw well as being a wonderful introduction to a budding Austen fan. Young Jane Austen is beautifully written and is gorgeous inside and out and it will definitely have a special place alongside my other Austen novels. Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Anna.
473 reviews30 followers
November 3, 2017
Quick summary: Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer is a unique biography of Jane Austen in that it focuses on her early years, from birth until she first picks up her pen.  There is very little information available about Jane as a young girl, but Lisa Pliscou takes what little history there is and what is known about where she lived and when she lived and creates a beautiful portrait of “Jenny,” her relationship with her family, and the love for reading and words that would one day inspire her to become a novelist.

Why I wanted to read it: I was intrigued by the focus on Jane as a young girl, especially since I’ve read much of her juvenilia, and the cover is gorgeous.

What I liked: I loved the presentation, with illustrations by Massimo Mongiardo that are simple yet beautiful and transport readers back to Jane’s time.  Like the cover, the interior is styled to look like an old book.  The first half of the book is the illustrated biography, written in the style of a novel from the point of view of a growing child as she navigates her world.  The latter half of the book features annotations that explain the inspiration for each little section of the biography.  This structure is brilliant because it allows readers to get lost in the charming story of young Jane, nicknamed Jenny, and then delve into the history and analysis.

What I disliked: Absolutely nothing!

Final thoughts: In the introduction, Pliscou calls Young Jane Austen a “speculative biography” that straddles the line between fiction and nonfiction simply because of the lack of details about Jane’s early years.  However, it is obvious that Pliscou spent a great deal of time combing through various sources about the Austen family, Jane’s correspondence, the scientific study of creativity, the history of the era in which Jane lived, and Jane’s later writings, enabling her to plug in the gaps in young Jane’s story.  Pliscou takes a handful of facts about Jane Austen and makes Jenny come to life.  Young Jane Austen is a must-have for any Austen fan’s collection and another contender for my “Best of 2015” list.

Review posted on Diary of an Eccentric

I received a free copy of this book for review.
Profile Image for Alice.
1,156 reviews23 followers
March 14, 2016
Ce petit livre nous présente une idée de départ alléchante: retracer l'enfance de Jane Austen pour mieux comprendre ce qui a fait d'elle l'auteur que nous connaissons. C'est Lisa Pliscou elle-même qui a eu la gentillesse de me l'envoyer, joliment emballé. En l'ouvrant, j'ai découvert l'ouvrage, son format et ses illustrations avec beaucoup de plaisir. C'est une édition particulièrement soignée et je suis ravie de la compter parmi mes nombreuses autres possessions austeniennes.

Pour ce qui est du contenu, en revanche, j'ai été un peu plus déçue. L'auteur commence par nous dire qu'elle va sûrement quelque peu romancer les faits. Sachant le peu de choses que l'on connait des premières années de Jane, cela me semble effectivement inévitable et ne m'aurait pas déplu. Mais finalement, je n'en trouve pas trace dans les pages qui suivent, en tous cas pas plus d'une phrase ou deux, et il manque même quelques faits. Ça peut donc éventuellement être intéressant pour quelqu'un qui ne connaîtrait absolument rien de Jane Austen mais pour les autres, c'est très succinct et sans surprise.

Plus décevant encore, l'histoire s'arrête aux 12 ans de Jane Austen, âge auquel elle commence sérieusement à écrire. Pour moi, ce sont certainement ces années-là, plus que les autres, qui ont formé son âme d'écrivain. J'ai l'impression de m'arrêter au milieu de l'histoire. C'est d'autant plus étonnant que je n'en suis qu'à la moitié du livre et je m'interroge alors sur ce que peuvent cacher les pages restantes.

Dans cette seconde partie donc, l'auteur nous représente son texte, à l'identique, mais avec des annotations supplémentaires. Inutile de dire que ces commentaires auraient pu apparaître dès le départ en nous évitant de relire deux fois la même chose, je soupçonne donc que le but de la manoeuvre était seulement d'augmenter le nombre de pages. Quelques extraits des écrits de jeunesse montrant l'esprit, l'humour et l'intelligence de Jane dès son plus jeune âge m'auraient paru approprié mais voilà encore un espoir qui ne fut pas comblé. Il y a quelques faits intéressants à la fin mais cela ne suffit pas à sauver le tout, bien trop peu fouillé. Il semblerait finalement qu'il y ait bien plus de recherche dans le visuel du livre que dans son texte.

Profile Image for Serena.
Author 1 book84 followers
July 10, 2015
Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer by Lisa Pliscou is an unusual biography in that it is written from the perspective of a young girl, the now famous Jane Austen. In the introduction the author said she has created a “speculative biography” because there is so little known about Austen’s younger years. She includes a time line for the biography and a list of sources, as well as a delightful annotated version of the biography in the back of the book. Annotations help provide context to the well crafted narrative of young Jane’s early life. An overarching theme in this biography is what makes a writer become a writer? Are they born as such? Does it require simply a fondness for words or an observant nature and does it need to be nurtured just by the individual or by their own support system?

Read the full review: http://savvyverseandwit.com/2015/06/y...
Profile Image for Laura.
1,391 reviews17 followers
May 6, 2015
Lisa Pliscou has written a delightful short novel about the early childhood years of Jane Austen. The first half of the book gives the story of Jane’s early life in short vignettes coupled with great illustrations and laid out on beautiful pages. The second half of the book repeats the first half, but this time with in-depth annotations on where the information came from to base the story. Also included in the end was a brief biography of Jane Austen and what she went on to accomplish after her childhood.

I always love to read about Jane Austen and thought this was a good biography of her childhood. Even though not much is known about the early years of Jane Austen, Pliscou is able to put together a compelling story of a young girl born to a bookish family that discovers she has the power to become the writer of her family. The nerdy Austen lover in me though loved the second half of the book with the greater detail on what information there is about Austen’s childhood. I thought this would be a good book also for young adult readers that are just starting to discover Austen.

Overall, Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer is a beautiful little book that will delight both old and new fans of Austen alike.

Book Source: Review Copy from author Lisa Pliscou – Thanks!

This review was originally posted on my blog at: http://www.lauragerold.blogspot.com/2...
Profile Image for vvb.
557 reviews14 followers
June 9, 2015
This is a small cute gem of a book.

A third of the book is speculative biography of what Jane might have been like in her childhood. Brief passages of what could have been Jane are presented like snapshots from a family album.

The next two-thirds of the book is an annotated version with tidbits that include things related to Jane's novels. Fun for those into trivia.

And the final third of the book is a short bio of Jane with a timeline for period covered in the book.

I really like how this story is presented. Sprinkled throughout the book are illustrations with an old classic vibe. The pages are also outlined with a pretty floral background which brings about a cozy feeling while reading.
Profile Image for Geoff.
942 reviews25 followers
April 29, 2022
My Recommendation: Only read the middle section (annotated version). This annoyed me more than it made me excited and it's sad because Mongiardo's illustrations are great and Pliscou is a decent author, but I really feel they should've leaned more into the picture book or only done the text version. Pliscou was open about how much of this was imagination and extrapolation, but you don't realize exactly how much until you're reading the annotated version with snippets (like so few words) from original sources. Having read so many other Austen biographies, this just felt woefully underwritten and I feel would've been better as a children's picture book introducing Jane Austen to people.

My Response: I picked this up back in 2016 and it's languished on my TBR Austen/Brontë shelf ever since. It came up on my random book generator spreadsheet when I was packing books for our vacation back in February but it was the last one on the list and it kept getting delayed.

So FINALLY I made myself read wedge it in between ARCs this month and realized I should've read it weeks ago because it could easily be read in one sitting.

Continue reading on my book blog at geoffwhaley.com.
Profile Image for Dawn.
872 reviews6 followers
April 8, 2018
While there isn't much known about Jane Austen's adult life, there's even less known about her childhood. This book was well written, using known facts drawn from the time that she was a child in an attempt to piece together what her childhood was like. It reads like many historical fiction and story book. The only complaint I do have is that this book was written twice: the second time the author drew from sources to explain how she reached the conclusions she did below/at the end of every chapter, instead of adding an appendix, or another means in which to explain.
Profile Image for Michele.
274 reviews3 followers
January 1, 2018
I admit I am a closet Jane-ite. I love all things Jane Austen, so this was the perfect birthday present from my friend.

It is brief, but considering the paucity of information the author had to go on, I thought she did a great job with the story. I LOVED the style of the book. The illustrations and page designs are truly beautiful and add so much to the book. I also liked the notes she had after every chapter.

If you, like me, love Jane, you should read this book.
Profile Image for Meg.
412 reviews94 followers
January 10, 2022
A slight but enchanting little book focused on Jane Austen's childhood, ending around the time she is believed to have begun writing in earnest (at age 12 - #goals). A lovely addition to the personal libraries of Austen fans, though probably of little interest to those without a deep appreciation for our beloved author.
Profile Image for Eleni.
275 reviews1 follower
February 1, 2020
A cute, basic biography of young Jane for young readers
Profile Image for Janet.
53 reviews23 followers
May 26, 2015
Virtual Feast for the Eyes and a Delight to Read

This narrative gives the reader a glimpse into the first twelve years of the life of Jane Austen. As the author, Lisa Pliscou states, it is a ‘speculative biography’. Ms. Pliscou reconstructs Jane Austen’s youth in an attempt to show how her world, the time and place, influenced her to become a writer that has stood the test of time.

Young Jane Austen is in full color from beginning to end and is a virtual feast for the eyes. The narrative is divided into three sections and each section has its own color/style and background. It is absolutely lovely and a delight to read.

Section one is entitled ‘Young Jane Austen’ and has twenty entries with twenty illustrations, by Massimo Mongiardo, commissioned especially for this book. Each short chapter is written as if a young Jane is thinking about the events that are taking place with her family and gives insights into her thoughts. Some even appear as if they are journal entries from young Jane. I enjoyed this approach as it brought feeling and truth to the narrative. The choice of printing and color adds its own nuance. Each entry or chapter is printed on paper that looks like an old manuscript or journal with a lovely blue print behind the journal.

The second part is the annotated version of Young Jane Austen. This section gives some interesting information and facts related to things mentioned in the narrative. This was one of my favorite parts as it elaborated on certain events and happenings. (This section is printed on light blue and is easy on the eyes.)

The third and last section is ‘About Jane Austen’. It answers the question, “What was she like?” There is a chapter about Jane Austen, the author. It gives a little more history and insight into her specific writings. A timeline for those first twelve years is included. The sources used to gather the thoughts and facts stated throughout the book are listed here as well as a complete index.

Young Jane Austen is an easy and enchanting read. It is obvious that much research went into the writing of this biography. The book is unique in both approach and appearance. Anyone that is devoted to Jane Austen would be delighted to own this book. It is truly a treasure.
Profile Image for Claire Saim.
177 reviews13 followers
April 16, 2015
Tout d’abord, l’objet-livre... Nous souhaiterions souligner la magnifique qualité de cet ouvrage des éditions américaines Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing. La première de couverture est faite d’un papier cartonné lisse, l’intérieur ressemble aux pages d’un journal intime, avec un très beau papier bleuté décoré de petites fleurs, un peu dans l’esprit tout britannique de Cath Kidston. Avant lecture, le livre se feuillette avec plaisir, en particulier grâce aux mignonnes illustrations de Massimo Mongiardo.

L’objectif visé par l’américaine Lisa Pliscou était de suivre les traces de Jane Austen à partir d’un angle tout à fait original, en nous livrant une biographie de l’auteur britannique dans ses jeunes années. Partant du postulat que nombre de sensibilités et de fibres artistiques se développent durant l’enfance et s’appuyant sur des travaux de psychologues, tel que Mihály Csíkszentmihály, nous partons à la rencontre d’une étonnante fillette...

Si de nombreuses biographies, très érudites, ont très bien balisé le terrain, comme celle de David Cecil ou Claire Tomalin, celle de Lisa Pliscou s’adresse tout particulièrement au jeune public. L’auteur évoque la vie quotidienne de Jane et son époque, insistant notamment sur les différences avec notre époque, au point de vue de l’éducation, des loisirs, du mode de vie en général. C’est véritablement très intéressant.

De nombreux éléments mettent en regard sa vie et son oeuvre, comme de nombreux biographes l’ont fait avant, cela reste bien évidemment l’une des clefs pour comprendre son oeuvre. La biographie, émaillée de très nombreuses notes et explications, s’arrête à l’orée de la vie d’écrivain de Jane Austen, vers 1787, elle a onze ans, bientôt douze, et commence à écrire de façon soutenue. Il lui restera à partir de là seulement trente ans pour accomplir son destin.

Encore un ouvrage à mettre dans les mains de toutes (tous ?) les janéites ! Notez que, comme le public visé est jeune, le niveau d’anglais est tout à fait compréhensible, même pour quelqu’un qui n’aurait pas spécialement l’habitude de lire dans cette langue.
Profile Image for Heather C.
492 reviews79 followers
July 15, 2015
I should start this review by saying…I’m not a Jane Austen fan! SHOCKER!!! I’m never interested in the Austen spinoffs, sequels, prequels, what-have-you that have come out in recent years. However, something about Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer stood out to me. I think it was more of a stylistic thing rather than the content that lead to me picking it up.

There are 2 “versions” of the book included here: the illustrated version at the front and the annotated version at the back. They both tell the same basic narrative, except that the annotated version contains expanded information. In the illustrated section, each chapter is 4 pages comprised of a beautifully scripted title page, 2 pages of narrative, and 1 page of illustration. The annotated version includes the same narrative as well as other helpful information to expand the understanding. When I read this book, I bounced back and forth alternating between reading the illustrated chapter and then the corresponding annotated chapter; I think this made for the most fulfilling reading experience as I could apply the notes right to the story being told. Despite the actual text length only being about 80 pages (each version) I felt like I actually learned a lot in that short time.

While the book is definitely designed for the younger YA set, I found it a very enjoyable read. The illustrations are a nice touch to the overall approach to the book. If you or a young reader like Jane Austen, then you will enjoy this book for sure. Even if you are not a Jane Austen fan, you will likely enjoy this book too, I did.

This review was previously posted on the blog, The Maiden's Court.
Profile Image for Ricki.
Author 2 books102 followers
May 6, 2015
I enjoy the way this book is formatted. The first half (or so) tells the story of Jane Austen as she grows up---before she became a writer. It gives a strong historical background of the expectations (or lack of expectations) for women at the time. While much isn't known about Jane's early life, the author does an excellent job creatively interpreting events with what we do know. The next section is an annotated version that reveals the author's decisions for the text, and the last portion discusses Jane Austen's later life as a writer. Readers will be inspired to take on some of Austen's novels after reading this book. The beautiful paper of this book made me wish that more books were creatively printed. I felt as if I was reading a text from the time period of Austen's life, which made me feel warm and fuzzy.
Profile Image for Deborah.
91 reviews3 followers
August 13, 2015
I enjoyed this speculative biography of Jane's younger years. The first part had beautiful drawings opposite the narrative which were an artist's depiction of the author's description. The paper copy makes it better to see how the picture and narration go together as they are on opposing pages versus the ebook, where you have to change pages.

In the next part of the book the Jane Pliscou uses annotations to show where she comes by the information for this work. I found it informative and plausible as there is little to no actual information on Jane's younger years and have read some of the sources Lisa Pliscou used.

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for ☽ Su ☾.
146 reviews65 followers
July 20, 2015
a great biography of Jane Austen.
her early years from birth until she starts writing.
Lisa Pliscou created a very beautiful portrait of Jane.

I loved the Design if the book, it's gorgeous, the illustrations by Massimo Mongiardo are simple yet amazing.

♥ the first part is about Jane’s childhood from the perspective of a child.

♥ The second part is the annotated version of Young Jane Austen. This section gives some interesting information and facts related to things mentioned in the first part.

♥ The third and last section answers the question, “What was she like?
It gives a little more information about her writings. a timeline, sources, and an index.

Young Jane Austen is beautifully written and it's gorgeous inside and out. Highly recommended!
February 20, 2015
* I won this book via Goodreads Giveaway.

I would have given this book three stars had it not been written for adults. I found the short notes about Jane fairly rudimentary for the adult Austen lover but would be a great spark to interest younger readers. I was then put off by the insightful psychological annotations that went along with the earlier diary-like entries. While they (annotations) seemed a little more instep with adult-focused writing it felt our of place from the earlier text. The book was a quick read and definitely something I will hold on to for young readers in the family.
Profile Image for Antonia.
85 reviews
January 12, 2015
An imagined biography, research-based, yet fleshed out with imagination--a unique concept in biographical writing, the author has created an engaging and charming story that fills a long-standing gap in our knowledge of Jane Austen's early years. It examines the multiple, probable influences which fed Austen's imagination and which likely led to the characters she later developed. Very enjoyable, it comes in two versions, the second annotated for more curious, academic readers. A very enjoyable read!
Profile Image for TJ.
1 review
September 17, 2015
This book was written in a different style than I expected. The first half of the book is illustrated and shows the reader Jane Austen's very early years in storybook-form. The second portion is the same narrative, but footnoted with sources supporting the story. Not much is known about Miss Austen's early life, but the author takes what is known and makes it an interesting premise. It was an enjoyable, quick read.
September 21, 2015
I was gobsmacked over the presentation of this most charming and eloquent book! It had the air of an old world nonchalant classic! Looking further into this bundle of goodies, one is swept away by the writing; such charm and grace reminiscent of Jane Austin herself! I had to stop to pour myself a cup of tea, you are welcome, too!
Profile Image for Susan.
1,284 reviews
May 26, 2015
This book is pure charm. Hasn't every Janeite
pictured Jane Austen as a child? This very
speculative "biography" uses many sources
to assemble a portrait of the author. I highly
recommend this for all except the purists!
Profile Image for Courtney.
20 reviews
August 12, 2015
Just entered to win! Can't wait to read it, and will promptly update my rating!
Displaying 1 - 27 of 27 reviews

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