I was Jane Austen’s Best Friend

This book I had read sometime late last year and had no problem re-reading it.  It was a joy to read it the first time and equally enjoyable the second time around.  There are many questions about the early life of Jane Austen.  What was she like as a teenager, did she have any really good friends and what did the usual 18th Century girl care about?  Harrison answers these questions and takes you on a journey into the world of an 18th century teenager.

TITLE: I was Jane Austen’s Best Friend.

AUTHOR: Cora Harrison

SUMMARY: Jenny Cooper is a shy young orphan girl of 16 yrs who is sent to a boarding school for young women.  Lucky for her she has her cousin Jane Austen to keep her spirits.  Unfortunately Jane because sick and Jenny is told by the head mistress of the school that she is forbidden to write to Jane’s parents.  What is poor Jenny to do?  If she does not send a letter to her aunt Jane will surely die.  She decides that she is only Jane’s only hope to survive.  So she sneaks out of the school and walk in the dark streets of Southampton to mail out a letter to her aunt in hopes that it will not be too late for her cousin.  Will this night be a night she regrets or one that will forever change the course?

Jenny Cooper, Jane Austen, Captain Thomas Williams, Mrs Austen and Mr. Austen.

GENRE: Historic Romantic Fiction

SETTING(S) : 18th century AD, England

SUBJECT: History, Romances (Fiction), Diaries, Writers & Love

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I generally find books using Amazon.com because the database works where you could be looking something like “Jane Austen” and it will give you a list of related books.  So when I was trying to find books related to Jane Austen, this book as well as a couple of other books appeared.  I recommended this book for my sister to read after I had read it the first time back in December 2011.  In my opinion this book is a good one for people who generally have a hard time reading historic fiction.  The book goes into diary and narrative form but the author is really good defining them.  I love the dancing ball scenes in which this book has two of them.  It gives you a pretty good perspective in the life for young women during the late eighteenth century as well as the fashion of that time.  It also has a little biographical information about the Life of Jane Austen.

I think this book would be really good for teens 13 & up to read because the main character is someone who is around that age.  And takes you in the life of a teenager of the 18th century and discuss what teenagers of the past were most concerned about.  At that time women of 17 & older had to secure a good match in order to go anywhere in society.  If they choose poorly they could live a life of ruin or financially poor.  Or if a women choose well she could be financially secured and happy.  Cora Harrison did her research by going through the letters that were written by Mrs. Austen and Jane’s cousin Eliza to create the world featured in this book.  No letters have been found that were written by Jane (Jenny) Cooper, but there is some information that Harrison leaves at the end of the book that gives readers perhaps a glimpse of how Jenny’s life ended.