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Just Jane: A Novel of Jane Austen's Life Paperback – October 24, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Moser (Mozart's Sister) frames this novel as a journal written by Jane Austen, following her life from when she falls in love with Tom Lefroy at age 20 until she is an established writer in her late 30s. Those familiar with Austen's life will recognize many of the circumstances—the loss of the beloved family home at Steventon when her father retired to Bath, the death of her sister Cassandra's fiancé, her mother's many illnesses. However, they may not recognize Moser's Austen, who mopes about pining after guys, resents her parents, worries regularly about whether she is a real writer and reflects on her faith in God (which was important to Austen, but which she was reticent to discuss). Austen's voice comes through in extensive quotes from her letters—paragraphs and even occasionally pages. Since these are mostly unmarked, readers may not recognize them as Austen's words, but their vivacity and wit often make them stand out from the rest of the writing. Some aspects of the book are charming, and it is an easy introduction to Austen's life. However, it fails to be compelling as it devolves into simply tracking events as they occur, and does not capture Austen's spirit. It will likely disappoint both Austen devotees and historical fiction fans. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


" enjoyable fictional introduction to the life of Jane Austen for many new readers, especially Christians." -- Cindy Crosby,

"...audiences can cheer for Moser's interpretation of this beloved author...." -- Laura Smith,

"I loved this book ... and I think anyone who's even mildly curious about Jane Austen will love it, too." -- Kay James,

"Just Jane by Nancy Moser drew me in right away." -- Jennifer Donovan,

"Just Jane is a wonderful book for any Austen fan." -- Jill Hart,

"Just Jane is not to be missed by any fan of Jane Austen's work." -- Roseanna White,

"Read This. Enjoy it.... this author certainly shows ... that Austen was a lady to be remembered." -- Amy Lignor,

"This book was a comfortable friend, one I was sad to see end." --

"What a marvelous book! I did not want it to end." -- Pat Glans,

"a book about knowing yourself, loving yourself for who you are and realizing your greatest hopes and dreams." -- Becky Laney, --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

See all Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Livingstone Books (October 24, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1618432915
  • ISBN-13: 978-1618432919
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,613,656 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of over twenty novels that focus on the characters discovering their unique purpose. Her genres include both contemporary and historical stories.

Nancy's newest book is "Love of the Summerfields". It's the first book in her new Manor House Series set in 1880 England. If you like Downton Abbey, you'll enjoy getting to know the Westons and their servants in Summerfield Manor.

Nancy's 2011 release "An Unlikely Suitor" was named to Booklist's "Top 10 Romance Novels of 2011". Both "An Unlikely Suitor" and "Masquerade" are set in the Gilded Age of New York City (see a book trailer for "Masquerade" below.) Nancy has also written four biographical novels, letting real women-of-history tell their life stories: "Just Jane" (Jane Austen), "Washington's Lady" (Martha Washington), "Mozart's Sister" (Nannerl Mozart), and "How Do I Love Thee?" (Elizabeth Barrett Browning). If you enjoy Civil War era stories, check out "The Journey of Josephine Cain" which showcases the building of the Transcontinental Railroad after the war, and the upcoming Christmas Civil War Anthology: "A Basket Brigade Christmas" with novellas by herself, Stephanie Grace Whitson, and Judith Miller.

Moser's contemporary books are known for their intricate plotting. Some titles are "John 3: 16", "The Sister Circle", "The Good Nearby", "Weave of the World, "The Seat Beside Me", and "The Invitation."

Her time-travel novel, "Time Lottery", won a Christy Award and "Washington's Lady" was a finalist.

Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She's earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She offers a monologue of Martha Washington (in costume) letting Martha share her life story. She also gives "God's Gifts Workshops" around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She kills all her houseplants, and can wire an electrical fixture without getting shocked. She is a fan of anything antique--humans included.

Find out more:
Author blog:
History blog:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Esperanza on October 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
With all the hoopla over Jane Austen in recent years, especially the "Becoming Jane" movie, which I had heard was a bit over-the-top, I was not sure whether I was going to enjoy this book.

What actually drew me to it was the fact that it was published by Bethany House, a Christian publisher. I had never read anything before that tried to look at Jane as a woman of faith---even though her father was a rector. I was curious to see how the author would handle that, and wondered if she would stretch the truth in her portrayal of Jane to either 1) make Jane seem more religious/spiritual/pious than she probably was, or 2) make the book more exciting and romantic. Thankfully, she did neither.

The plot of the book seemed to closely follow the events from Jane's life that we know of based on some of her personal writings which have been previously published. Yes, that did at times make Jane seem slightly aloof to the reader---I wanted to know what she REALLY thought---but I appreciated that the author did not presume to know for sure, and therefore let some things just be vague. Even in the spots that were clearly out of the author's imagination, she stuck with the "Jane" she'd been presenting all along. There really was no melodrama. For this reason, I wouldn't call the book a page-turner. It was something more to savor at a slow pace, to flip back several pages now and again to recall what had already happened and refresh my memory about who was who in Jane's world.

The real proof of the excellence of this book comes at the end. When the story ended and I read the note about how and when Jane had died, I had tears streaming down my face.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Kathryn Atwood on December 17, 2007
Format: Paperback
The life of Jane Austen reads like one of her novels - in most ways. There are balls, flirtations, close friends, tiresome family members, adverse financial situations which make marriage an apparent necessity and choices which hold out for love despite adverse financial situations. In one major aspect, however, the biography and the novels of Austen diverge: a happy romantic ending. Austen died at the age of 41, having never married.

Nancy Moser, author of Just Jane, a fictionalized account of Austen's life, postulates - quite correctly - that when Austen was "unable to find her own Mr. Darcy, she created him." Poser's book swells the basic facts of Austen's life into a first-person, 350-page narrative which dwells on Austen's evolution as a writer and points out the many obvious connections between the biographical facts of Austen's life and her fiction.

In utilizing first-person narration, Moser allows the reader into Jane's head, which is both illuminating and, in this particular case, often very disappointing. While the reader does get a cinematic view of the events of Austen's life as they unfold, the avid Jane Austen fan would expect something more - Jane Austen's sparkling voice which, sadly, is not apparent in Moser's book. Moser herself admits at the book's end that she "did not attempt to match the unique `voice' of Jane Austen, only to hint at it." This makes Moser's choice of first-person narrative quite puzzling; if she wasn't going to try and approximate Austen's voice, why in the name of the Regency period did she have Austen narrate the entire book?

As much as a true Jane Austen fan cannot conceive of being bored while reading one of her novels, so one cannot possibly imagine being bored while residing inside of Austen's head.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Deborah VINE VOICE on October 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
What if Jane Austen had kept a diary of what inspired her to write her novels, her relationships, her hopes, her worries, her life? This book recreates that very question with an inside look at what Jane Austen's life would have been like. Told from first person narrative, Nancy Moser imagines what Jane Austen would have told only her diary her innermost feelings as she struggles to become a writer and hopefully discover love along the way. Fans of Jane Austen will enjoy this fictional autobiographical tale of one of the world's most beloved authors.

I love all things Jane Austen. I love all the movie versions that have come out of her books. Right now it's very "in" to be an Austen fan especially with the two recent movies that have come out about Jane Austen. I kept forgetting at times while reading that this was a fiction novel and not really Jane Austen's memoirs! The first person narrative is done extremely well that will make the reader think they have discovered the lost diaries of the author. I felt like I was literally dropped into the time period because the rich narrative made the story come alive. I liked how Jane would get the inspirations for her characters. She and her sister Cassandra were very much like Elizabeth and Jane Bennett from P&P while you could also seem resemblances from the people she would meet. Her reasons for never getting married are portrayed here as her reaction to societies' expectations on the role of women. I loved the authenticity with the way the book was written, right down to the "olde English". The only fault I found with the book is that you are dropped right into the middle of the story but are not given that much background info. There are a lot of characters mentioned as well, and it is easy to get quickly confused. Other than that, I found this book a joy to read. This book is highly recommended for historical fiction fans and those Austen fanatics who get enough of that 6 hour version of Pride and Prejudice.
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