Maria Grazia's Reviews > Jane Austen's First Love

Jane Austen's First Love by Syrie James
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really liked it
bookshelves: austen-inspired, historical-fiction, romance, read-in-2014

Syrie James confirms her skills as brilliant story-teller and creator of lively pictures of Regency life. Well-researched historical novel as well as delightful summer read, her new Jane Austen’s First Love is based on an imaginative interpretation of Jane Austen’s enigmatic reference to a “Him, on whom I once fondly doated” (from one of Jane Austen’s letters to her sister Cassandra). Intriguing matter for a talented researcher and passionate Janeite like Syrie James.
When we think about Jane Austen’s first love, Tom Lefroy’s name comes soon to our minds. But Jane was twenty at the time of her flirt with the handsome Irish young man. Instead, the events narrated in Jane Austen’s First Love, date back to Jane’s teenage, when she was only 15, and the name of the boy whom she so fondly doated is Edward Taylor, heir to the Taylors of Bifrons.
As she has already done in The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen and The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, Syrie James manages to create relatable characters, to mingle history and fiction in a credible, pleasant way, to remind us Austen’s irony and witty style without giving the impression of being mimicking. Her thorough research and deep respect for the authoress transpires from the pages of this lovely story of young love.
The two young protagonists are so easy to love: smart, brave and witty teenage Jane – who is also the first-person narrator in the story - is enchanting , while devilishly handsome Edward Taylor is temptingly irresistible . He might well have been the inspiration for a Frank Churchill or a John Willoughby.
Syrie James blends all the most typical of Austen main features – from balls to home theatrical performances, from wrong first impressions to awkward attempts at match-making - in a fresh and engaging new story, which is a real feast for any Austen fan.
This book can’t be missing on your Austenesque shelf and would be a very special gift to young readers you want to initiate into Jane Austen’s world. It is a perfect YA read, since teenagers could easily relate to the main characters in the story.
(1) “We went by Bifrons and I contemplated with melancholy pleasure the abode of Him, on whom I once fondly doated.” (Letter to Cassandra Austen, 1796)

(see my complete review at My Jane Austen Book Club http://thesecretunderstandingofthehea... )
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Reading Progress

July 17, 2014 – Shelved
July 17, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
July 21, 2014 – Started Reading
July 21, 2014 – Shelved as: austen-inspired
July 21, 2014 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
July 21, 2014 – Shelved as: romance
July 26, 2014 – Shelved as: read-in-2014
July 26, 2014 – Finished Reading

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