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

(Jane Austen #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  2,761 ratings  ·  370 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. 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 dashin ...more
Hardcover, 342 pages
Published September 28th 2010 by Delacorte Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  2,761 ratings  ·  370 reviews

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Apr 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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

This is a sweet little fictional account of Jane Austen's early years through the eyes of someone who knew her well. Jenny is a great narrator because she's observant and records everything. She's sweet and shy and I like her a lot. I love her romance and the story kept me guessing as to what her heart really felt. Jane, on the other hand, is a little unlikeable. She's bratty and immature for 15 and never thinks things through. She has a difficult relationship with her mother, who apparently is
Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 08, 2021 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-english
Sadly, I have to say, I didn’t like this book. It fell too short. But the whole idea sounded so promising!

Feb 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books-read
I thought the concept of this book was a really good one, and I was keen to see as a reader if the author pulled it off. The book was set in the seventeen hundreds and focuses on Jane Austen in her adolescence, and her family at that time. The protagonist and narrator is Jenny, best friend of Jane Austen who tells the story in the form of her personal journal. Illustrations were included by Jenny’s character to make the book more accessible to children, but important topics were introduced to op ...more
Jun 28, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
emma grace
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I think Cora Harrison accurately depicts what Jane Austen's childhood would have been like. I loved all of the characters in this book, in particular the main character, Jenny. This book really captured the essence of the 1700's and I now want to read all of Jane Austen's books! (I haven't yet). There's not really much more I can say about this book without giving too much away, other than the fact that I loved every minute of it and couldn't put it down. So, yes ...more
Jun 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved it. This wasn't a deep thinker kind of novel. It was pure enjoyment and made a very good attempt at letting us see what Jane Austen's life as a teen could have been like. It was simple but one even adults can enjoy with the right mindset. It's not encyclopedic. Youth would enjoy this. ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for

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
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book. It is better as a YA novel, and usually that does not bother me, if the story is engaging. I love all things Austen , so I bought the book. I am not crazy about the way Jane is portrayed. I do not find her as rude, nor uncaring about her mother, as this book portrays. Her cousin, who comes to stay keeps a journal, and it is this journal, and drawings that open the way into the world of Austen. I read the story, and I liked the ending, but I could not tell if there was just s ...more
Amanda Vance
Jul 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mar 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adorable
AMAZING READ! Especially for teens who want to prepare themselves for Jane Austen's books! This book will make Jane's figure more friendly and real. After reading it I want to re-read "Pride and Prejudice" and get to know Jane Austen's life better! I am so glad books like this are still popular on teen/young adult books market. It is important to give the young ones not only paranormal romances and silly light reads, but also books which are beautiful, calm and which can give them aesthetic impr ...more
Kyra (Blog of a Bookaholic)
*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
Celeste Lumsden
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting historical fiction. Not too exciting, but would be good for a middle school student who enjoys Austen and the time period.
Katy Lovejoy
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've always liked Jane Austen, and this let me find things out about her I never knew. I see where she drew info for her stories from! ...more
Oct 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
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
Chelsey Clark
Unfortunately, I have very few nice things to say about this novel. I tried to imagine myself reading this at sixteen, the same age as Jenny, and I know I would not have liked it any better then than I do now. Which is very little.

I like epistolary novels and diary novels in general, but in this case, I didn't. I admit that when writing a diary-style book, you have to take into account how a real diary would be written. As such, we see all kinds of detail about Jenny's worries and anxieties, and
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
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
Apr 25, 2013 rated it liked it
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
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Rosalyn Eves
Mar 04, 2011 rated it liked it
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 did not really enjoy this book. I was bored at so many times, I am even becoming dull with writing this review. I just finished a five star book review, all excited and pumped from writing it and now I coming to this one. I am recalling all the scenes and found this book rather childish. I did not enjoy it. I would have given it 1 star but it was an okay book. There were just a few scenes (maybe one or two) that I enjoyed. I liked reading Jane's writings. But the whole story being upon love at ...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
I really liked this one. Strange but mostly it was true characters and main storyline really happened if you believe author's note in the end of the book. But I guess she didn't need to make it up and you can really check it out if you like. So I believe it to be true. That makes this book even more interesting.
Captain Thomas Williams is what a gentleman should be. And Jenny is kind and loving and very shy. The way how she thinks herself in love with that young man and then another is very cute.
Jul 03, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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.


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Jane Austen (2 books)
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