Sunday, May 30, 2010

Book Review: I was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison, illustrated by Susan Hellard

Description (from Goodreads):
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. But Jane is already a sharp observer of the customs of courtship, and when Jenny falls utterly in love with the dashing Captain Thomas Williams, who better than Jane to help her win the heart of this most eligible of men?

My thoughts: 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 horrible boarding school to Steventon parsonage, to the home of Jane Austen. There Jenny gets to meet Jane's siblings, from which at least Henry gets a lot of attention from Jenny and Jenny gets it back from Henry. But with Captain Thomas Williams in her thoughts she cannot concentrate on any other men. And all the time she also has to worry about the fact that Captain Williams is the one who can destroy her reputation by telling what happened at South Hampton. Will Jenny get her Captain Williams or will she be ruined? Find out by reading this wonderful YA novel by Cora Harrison.

From the moment I heard about this book I was interested about it. Since I love Jane Austen and Young Adult fiction I knew this would be the perfect mixture for me. Some parts of the book are fiction, some true. Jenny Cooper really was a cousin of Jane Austen. Her name was really Jane but the author changed it to Jenny in order to make a distiction between Jane and Jenny. There are not much reported information about Jenny, so the author has really got free access to make up a character. It is know that she fell in love with Captain Thomas Williams and eventually they married. 

I really liked this book since the reader really gets to know what Jenny thinks about situations of her life since the book is written in a diary format. There are some nice illustrations in the book made by Susan Hellard which really add a nice mix to the story. The lively characters, especially Jane Austen, made me laugh. This book makes you just want to fall in love for the first time again. 


  1. sounds just as whimsical as the cover looks. glad it's a good one. i'll have to try it. plus i always love when illustrations are included.

  2. I am going to post a little excerpt of this and a link to your review in Jane in June sometime in the next few days. Thought I'd let you know.

  3. I just noticed the snipped of this review at your blog Misty. That's great. :)

  4. I'm always on the lookout for a good 'Austen-ish' book. Sounds like I'll have to give this one a try. Nice review!

  5. Thank you! :) I hope you enjoy it as much as I did if you give it a try. :)

  6. Thanks for the lovely review.I really like how the book sound.

  7. Darlyn, you're welcome! :)


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