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Jane Austen's First Love Paperback – August 5, 2014
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Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Praise for Jane Austen's First Love
"Truly riveting...A realistic tale that could have been written by the revered author herself. James’s latest will charm Austen fans (and fans of James, too) as well as Austen unfamiliars...Romance fans will root for Jane all the way."—Library Journal (Editor's Pick)
"Not only based on James’s extensive research on the enigmatic Edward Taylor, but so many of the personalities are real, and the dates and events astonishingly match, which make this masterwork feel like a real memoir. Readers will race to the conclusion. Highly recommended."—Historical Novel Society
"Syrie James has woven a quite delightful romance—not only a touching record of a young girl's first experience of love, but also a funny, eventful and entertaining comedy of Regency manners...As ever, James's ear for dialogue is unfaltering, and her sympathy for her heroine whole-hearted. It all adds up to an unashamedly romantic package, presented with affection and respect."—Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine
"A wonderful, charming and lively story of what might have been. James presents readers with an evocative and sweet romance that reads like Emma...This enchanting tale will have readers recalling their first love: the joy, the nervousness, and the sadness of parting. Simply a lovely novel!"—Romantic Times
"Syrie James is an incomparable storyteller, turning obscure details from personal research into inspired, yet richly embellished, fictional narratives. Jane Austen's First Love is a lively, romantic 'what if' that will make you laugh, as well as tug at your heart...You must add Syrie James' latest work to your Summer Reading List." —Austenprose
About the Author
Syrie James, hailed as “the queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings” by Los Angeles Magazine, is the bestselling author of nine critically acclaimed novels including Jane Austen’s First Love, The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen, The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë, Dracula My Love, Nocturne, Forbidden, Songbird, and Propositions. Her books have been translated into 18 languages, awarded the Audie, designated as Editor’s Picks by Library Journal, and named a Great Group Read by the Women’s National Book Association and Best Book of the Year by The Romance Reviews and Suspense Magazine. Syrie is a member of the WGA and lives in Los Angeles.
Top customer reviews
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From this thin thread Syrie James has woven a vivid and convincing story. The author’s historical note at the end sheds valuable light on the additional research that was digested and transformed to spin this tale (but spoilers abound—don’t read the note before you finish the novel!). To the best of my historical understanding, the 1790s world James evokes is accurate and richly conveyed. The book would work well as a straight historical coming-of-age novel, even without the Jane Austen connection to pique my interest.
In fact, that the heroine was Jane Austen was the one factor that kept me from absolutely loving this book. In the early going, James has portrayed her as a typical teenager—impatient to grow up, heavily influenced by fashion, and awed by her first (possibly) exposure to the lives of people in grander circumstances than her own family’s. That portrayal was necessary to the author’s plan for the arc of the character’s development, but it was not a Jane Austen I would recognize. I felt that even though she was new to the world of the wealthy, she would have bent on it a more satirical eye. By that age she had education enough to be able to critique what she found at Godmersham and Goodnestone and Bifrons. Also, the biographical nature of the plot meant that I knew from the start how things would end, which kept me at a slight remove from the story. The brief frame narrative had the same effect.
Still, when the ideas and politics of the day did enter the picture, they were well handled and very interesting, without overwhelming the emotional thrust of the story. In general, I was impressed with the author’s mastery of the world she was depicting; this is no flimsy romance in a ballroom. James also writes the Austenese lingo very well, too, though there was the occasional slip (true of my own attempts at writing Austenese as well, so I can’t cavil at that). One quibble about the language: it was not necessary to invert the first-person pronoun in all the dialogue—“said I,” “remarked I,” “repeated I,” etc.
I did not fall into the story so far that I suspended all critical faculties, but I did go happily along on the journey and was touched, amused, and moved by the characters and events. This is Austenesque fiction of a very high order, and the author deserves all her success.
NOTE on my star rating system: I rate books within their genre, not in absolute terms; so the fact that I would rate both Pride and Prejudice and Jane Austen’s First Love as five-star books does not mean that I place them on the same level in the realm of literature. Pride and Prejudice is rated against great fiction in English that I have read; Jane Austen’s First Love is rated against the other Austenesque novels I have read.
Most recent customer reviews
I was excited by the premise of this book as I very much enjoy books that take a scant historical record...Read more
Sexual Content: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content: None
Violent Content: None
Kent, England 1791
By 15, Jane Austen already...Read more