Sophie Collingwood knows everything about Jane Austen. She has read every book and loves everything about her. Recently graduated from Oxford, she takes a job at an antiquarian bookshop where she quickly gets two requests for the same obscure book. These requests start her on a journey to learn the truth about Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett is a wonderful imagination of how Jane Austen may have been inspired to write her novels. Alternating between Sophie's story and that of Jane herself, we are given a glimpse of the beautiful countryside in which Jane wrote and the fictional relationship between young Jane and Mr. Mansfield, an elderly clergyman who encouraged her to write and inspired her stories. As Sophie works to prove that Jane did not plagiarize Pride and Prejudice, we get to see the "truth" through Jane's story.
I must confess that I don't remember ever reading Jane Austen. I may have in high school, but I don't honestly remember. But I absolutely loved this story. I loved the relationships between the characters in this novel. Jane and her sister Cassandra, Sophie and her sister Victoria, Jane and Mr. Mansfield, Sophie and her Uncle. Each relationship was well developed and felt authentic.
The mystery in the present day storyline kept me turning the pages and wanting to know who Sophie should trust and what the final truth would be. I highly recommend First Impressions to anyone who loves books as much as I do. I'm sure Jane Austen fans will get even more out of this as they'll get to relive the creation of Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, as well as other novels. I'm off to read Pride and Prejudice myself now!
My Rating: 5/5
Read my review of The Bookman's Tale by Charlie Lovett
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This review is based on a copy of First Impressions that I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.