I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison

Who: Cora Harrison
What: I was Jane Austen's Best Friend
When: September 28th, 2010
Where: Delacorte Press (RandomHouse)
Why: Historical love
How: Traded

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. At fifteen, Jane is already a sharp
observer of the customs of courtship. So when Jenny falls utterly in love with
Captain Thomas Williams, who better than Jane to help her win the heart of this
dashing man?

But is that even possible? After all, Jenny’s been
harboring a most desperate secret. Should it become known, it would bring
scandal not only to her, but also to the wonderful Austen family. What’s a poor
orphan girl to do?

In this delicious dance between truth and fiction,
Cora Harrison has crafted Jenny’s secret diary by reading everything Jane Austen
wrote as a child and an adult, and by researching biographies, critical studies,
and family letters. Jenny’s diary makes the past spring vividly to life and
provides insight into the entire Austen family—especially the beloved

I was Jane Austen's Best Friend was a sweet and endearing tale of Jane Austen and her cousin, Jenny Cooper's adventures in adolescence. Told in diary entries and some real-time events, Jenny's voice shines through as the quiet, timid girl she is against Jane, who's saucy, clever, and cunning!

Jenny and Jane lived in this horrid boarding school and when they go back home, that's where the adventure begins! The book centers around Jenny trying to find a family, a home, and a potential husband. You have to keep in mind that this is historical, and she's sixteen, so this is perfectly normal! Jenny was such a sweet girl, and for once, I'm glad it was told in journal entries! If it would've been third person, you wouldn't have communicated with her the same day. She's incredibly shy, and she envies Jane's talent for conversation immensely, but in her diary, she is herself and says what she likes.

Jane Austen was especially a treat! She was clever but indecisive and sometimes uncaring of Jenny's opinions and wants. She really was a hot and cold friend, and Jenny comes to find that Jane's real best friend is not her but pen and paper after you see it for yourself. But she stayed strong throughout the entire novel and her friendship with Jenny was cute and Jane was there for regardless of when she needed it!

Now, there's a lot of potential love interests in this book for Jenny. I mean...William, Henry, Frank! At one point in time, especially during the middle, I had chosen. He was funny and charming! But this was a book full of charming characters, so I quickly changed during the end and was happy with the result. Jenny causes quite a scandal but I'm happy everything works out for her in the end, and you will be too!

Happy Reading!
-Harmony B.


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