There is little know about Jane Austen’s childhood and in Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer releasing today, author Lisa Pliscou recreates for us what young Jane’s life might have been like. What may have shaped Jane Austen into the writer she became? Was it her childhood, her family, or was it just destiny? In the beautifully written Young Jane Austen we are given a glimpse into ‘what might have been’.
First though I have to talk about the sheer beauty of this book. The cover design and inside pages with a flower border are gorgeous as are the amazing illustrations by Massimo Mongiardo. When I first received the book I could do nothing but look at how pretty it is. I love the layout of the book with the first part being told about Jane’s childhood from the perspective of a child and this makes it perfect for both young and old readers alike. The annotated version follows and it is very interesting and informative and gives you a clearer idea of how Jane Austen’s young life might have unfolded. In the last half of the novel we have a timeline, sources, and an index.
While I really enjoyed the story which can easily be read in one sitting it was the notes in the annotated version that I found most intriguing. Pliscou wrote the story while taking into account how things were back in the 1700’s. She took known facts and along with a creative mind shaped young Jane Austen’s life for us. I also found fascinating the facts she shared with us relative to the times. The one that surprised me the most was the fact that Mrs. Austen ‘farmed’ out her babies when they were just a few months old and they didn’t return home until they reached the toddler stage. Needless to say this shocked me but was apparently common practice for the times. Even as the kids got older they were quite often placed with other families. One has to wonder how the children felt about this or even how it may have affected them in their adult lives and the author touches on this in relation to Jane’s writing and how much her characters and stories reflected the times she was living in.
If you have an interest in Jane Austen this little novel would make a perfect addition to your Austen library aw well as being a wonderful introduction to a budding Austen fan. Young Jane Austen is beautifully written and is gorgeous inside and out and it will definitely have a special place alongside my other Austen novels. Highly recommended!
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Draw Date May 5/15