Berkley/Penguin Group, August 5, 2014
Genre: Jane Austen biographical fiction
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Free copy from Berkley/Penguin Group in exchange for a review. All reviews expressed are from my own opinion.
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Jane Austen's First Love, began by Jane's sister Cassandra reading Jane's old letters. They are women in mid-life, reflecting back on when they were young women desiring a well-lived life and to be in love. The letters are from 1791. Twelve years later they have settled into their chosen life, Jane is a writer.
But in the summer of 1791, there is a promise of young love. They are invited by their brother Edward to visit Goodnestone in Kent. While at Goodnestone, Jane meets the handsome Edward Taylor. Jane is impressed with his grand life of travel and adventure. The summer of 1791, will be a turning point in Jane's viewpoint of love and relationships.
I feel Syrie James, described a wonderful portrayal of a teenage Jane and a mature Jane. There is a fluidness to the two, the older Jane with the same basic personality as when when she was young, but she is settled and able to reflect on her young life.
There are lessons to be learned from the story of Jane Austen's First Love. Love cannot be forced. A mature person understands and accepts this. A young person does not understand the dynamics of allowing love to grow and develop over time. A young person feels the need to rush. A mature person understands the serious nature of real love.
I love the relationship of Cassandra and Jane. They are two sisters that allow each other to be the unique personalities they are, neither one tries to change the other, but accepts with grace and patience. Cassandra is the older sister, and even in her young age her personality leaning is to be reserved. Whereas a young Jane feels the need to "help things". Cassandra is patient with Jane, but she is also honest.
I enjoyed finding nuggets of character traits that I've recognized as being used in Jane Austen books. I'm glad the author added this dimension.