Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen - my take

I enjoyed this book immensely! While the stories of their quaint homes and cottages were very interesting, what truly got to me was the warmness of Jane's friends and family. I thought it very sweet when her brother, Henry, tried to get her published and how tight her friendship with the Bigg-Wither girls was. I found it heartening to read Jane's conversations with Cassandra as well. It was evident to me that the relationship that the two eldest sisters in Pride and Prejudice shared is inspired from Jane's and Cassandra's. 

While I enjoy happy endings too, I found comfort in Jane's sensible rejection of Ashford's advances. I cannot imagine a Jane Austen heroine throwing away sense and reason for romantic happiness and this is one of the reasons I enjoy Jane Austen so much. Her women are strong, smart, realistic and independent. She makes light of 'coquettes' (Isabella Churchill in this case) in almost every one of her books!

I found it really interesting that Jane Austen got so much support from her family regarding her novel writing, especially in a time when novels weren't considered fit for more than base entertainment. She published her books anonymously but I am sure that her family's encouragement was critical to her writing. 

My favorite part of the book was also the part that I found the hardest to read. I really wanted to get inside the book and shake Jane off and read Ashford's letters t her. Jane Austen had immense personal strength and pride to not be tempted to read his notes. I don't think that I'd have had the same amount of resolve. I was very impressed by her firmness. 

I had to remind myself that the book was fictitious from time. I thought that Syrie James was very clever to have written it in the first person. Her research, her interest in the subject and of course her imagination really threw me off. It made for a much more enjoyable read. 

1 comment:

Jill said...

Lenika,
I, too, REALLY wanted her to read Ashford's letters and also sometimes forgot that it was fiction. I'm glad you liked it!