Charlie Lovett first delighted listeners with his New York Times best-selling debut, The Bookman's Tale. Now, Lovett weaves another brilliantly imagined mystery, this time featuring one of English literature's most popular and beloved authors: Jane Austen.
Book lover and Austen enthusiast Sophie Collingwood has recently taken a job at an antiquarian bookshop in London when two different customers request a copy of the same obscure book: the second edition of Little Book of Allegories by Richard Mansfield. Their queries draw Sophie into a mystery that will cast doubt on the true authorship of Pride and Prejudice - and ultimately threaten Sophie's life.
In a dual narrative that alternates between Sophie's quest to uncover the truth - while choosing between two suitors - and a young Jane Austen's touching friendship with the aging cleric Richard Mansfield, Lovett weaves a romantic, suspenseful, and utterly compelling novel about love in all its forms and the joys of a life lived in books.
©2014 Penguin Group (P)2014 Charlie Lovett
Translation of my title: if you love everything about reading about people who love books, physically and mentally, you will love this book. If you love Jane Austin you will not be able to put it down.
I loved this book. Lovett is able to breathe life into the historical character of Jane Austen in a wonderfully unexpected way. And I felt Sophie's deep connection to Jane and the mystery that drives her in every line of the prose, so much so that I found myself in tears (the good kind) frequently as I listened. Entwistle's voice seemed too young for the story at first but within a couple of chapters I was so involved in the plot her narration seemed perfectly natural. If you like books about books, and love Pride and Prejudice then this book would be a great pick.
Enjoyable book with events of the current time interspersed with flashbacks with characters searching for an obscure book related to Jane Austen 's writings.
Well written, wonderfully narrated story that is interesting but borders on the edge of credulity. First a nod to the narrator: she's great. The book goes back to recount 20 year old Jane Austen’s friendship, one centered around books, with an 80 year old retired minister, leading to Jane’s early publications and in present day to deal with a recent Oxford graduate bibliophile and ardent fan of Jane Austen. That the synopsis mentions that the woman’s life if threatened over the search for a book published in Austen’s times that few have ever heard of and fewer who have even read it. I found that the search for the book and the solution to the mystery lead to a suspicious death and a ruthless antagonist carried things a bit too far. But, overall, this was a worthwhile listen.
Having thoroughly enjoyed the Bookbinder's Tale I embarked upon the next Charlie Lovett tale. It couldn't be as good as the other, could it? Yes! First Impressions was another great romp through time with a beloved literary figure. Thanks Charlie!
Vermont Audio Lover
I wanted to like this book. I am a Jane Austen fan, and I appreciated the historical detail and accuracy about Jane Austen's life. I felt that the book started out slowly. At some point in the middle, I had hope that it had turned a corner, but I was disappointed. I found it hard to believe that Sohpie couldn't tell that Winston was not an honest character. I did like the focus on printing and the book world. Sohpie's social life left me cold, though, and it was a lot of the focus of the book.
I've listened to other books that Jane Entwistle narrated, and I have always liked her. I agree that her narration didn't quite work in this book. She has an ability to express a "smile in her voice," and I found it off-putting in this book.
I nearly stopped listening to this until I was about four hours in and the plot took off. The last half is very clever and well executed. The narrator was annoying in the way she played the characters. Like an excited chipmunk. If one were reading, that would be eliminated so I do recommend the story.
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