I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend

Narrated by: Alison Larkin
Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
4.1 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling novelist Cora Harrison’s light historical romance in the form of a secret diary was inspired by real-life events in the Austen family and will delight Jane Austen fans everywhere. 

When 15-year-old Jane Austen’s shy cousin Jenny comes to stay, their evenings are a blur of beautiful dresses, balls, gossip, and romance; their days are spend writing about them - Jenny in her diary, Jane in her witty first attempts at fiction. When Jenny falls utterly in love with a handsome naval officer, who better to help her than Jane herself, already an expert in love and relationships? 

With Alison Larkin’s delightful narration, you’ll feel yourself transported to 1791, meeting Jane Austen at age 16, and experiencing what life was like in that long-ago time. This delightful, meticulously researched novel is followed by an afterword about the actual people and events on which the novel is based, including Jane Austen’s disabled brother, George, and the whirlwind courtship of Jane (Jenny) Cooper.

©2010 Cora Harrison (P)2018 Alison Larkin Presents

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Alison Larkin deftly conveys the girlish gossip and romantic dreams of a teenaged Jane Austen and her best friend. Their daily lives are described in the diaries of 16-year-old Jenny Cooper, who is Jane's cousin. Larkin effectively takes on the identity of Jenny, sounding like a giggly adolescent girl. As the two young ladies experience the excitement of attending their first ball and meeting eligible single men, they're also constantly reminded that, being poor, they must marry into money. Through Larkin's strong performance, listeners will connect with both Jane and Jenny." (V.M.G)

What listeners say about I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend

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Would Give It Another Chance

I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend was a book I struggled with most of the way through. However, the reason for my struggling was more personal, and I hope to share why. I was so excited to read this book and had wonder expectations. However, when it started I felt I was getting more Jane Eyre vibes (not what I want when I am feeling like Austen.) Then I started noticing certain members of Jane's family I was more excited. I know a little of her family but not much. I became more engaged. Then when it went to being more about Jenny again (understandable she is the main character) I struggled. I had a hard time connecting with Jenny and with her story. At the end I found out Jenny was loosly based on a girl who stayed with the Austen's for a time. I feel having known that up front, even though it was loosly based would have been helpful in connecting with the story and Jenny more. I have listened to several books by Alison Larkin and she never fails to disappoint. I received a copy of this audiobook at my request, and I have voluntarily left this review.

2 people found this helpful

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Recommend for Austen fans!

This book tells the story of a 15 year old Jane Austen from the point of view of a visiting cousin, Jenny Cooper. The story is told in diary form and contains everything from glimpses of daily life with the family, parties and balls, flirting and falling in love, and even some of Jane's secret struggles. This book was really well done and I loved every minute of it! It's meant for a younger audience, Jenny Cooper is sixteen, although she's so shy and a bit overwhelmed by the Austens she can seem younger at times. I loved the romance part of the novel and it took me back to when I was that age and fell in love every other day or so. Jane herself was so much fun and honestly, I can picture her as a clever girl who clashed with her mother, defended her friends, and teased everyone mercilessly. I appreciate how meticulously researched this story was. For younger readers not used to reading about Regency times, it was informative and explained elements of life in the 1790s without sounding out of place or preachy. The author wove in conversation and bits of characters from Jane's later novels into real life and it was so much fun to pick them out. And after hearing that Jenny Cooper really DID sneak out of the boarding school in the middle of the night to let Mrs. Austen know that Jane was so ill, well, all I can say is thank goodness for Jenny Cooper! I thought the narration was well done and exactly the right style for the book. I requested a copy of the audiobook, and I'm voluntarily leaving a review.

1 person found this helpful

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Historical romance

I found the book to be slow and it took a while before something happened. There were parts that I found confusing in who was saying what but I did like the narrator. She really suited this book. It is a clean read so it is suitable for all.

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tedious and flat; irritating narrator and mc

I had expected to enjoy this book, but at a quarter of the way in I just find it tedious. And the narrator’s voice is driving me to distraction - it’s high pitched and always a bit tremulous, as if she’s about to start laughing. It is difficult to tell who is speaking, as the narrator doesn’t differentiate the voices very much and the dialogue tags often come after the switch in speaker (which seems to come mid-paragraph as there is no pause before a switch). It is also difficult to tell when something is happening. The book is organized into diary entries, but present and past tense often seem to get a bit jumbled with phrases like “Now she told us.” The entries were also sometimes broken to add bits that occurred at a later time. I just felt like I was always trying to figure out who was speaking and when things were happening. The protagonist / diarist, Jenny, spends a great deal of time describing her surroundings in her diary entries and also is rather boy-crazy. She’s forever blushing about this boy or that one. When combined with the narrator, it gives the overall impression of someone I wouldn’t like very much, making it very difficult to listen to. Because it’s diary entries rather than a novel, the story meanders slowly along with much that I feel could have been left out. Some of the characters are vaguely reminiscent of Jane Austen’s characters — Jenny reminds me of Lydia and Kitty Bennet, for example — but unlike Jane Austen’s characters they all come across a bit flat. I find myself completely uninterested in any of them. *I was given a free review copy of this audiobook and am voluntarily leaving a review

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It's Jane Austen in a Jane Austen novel!

First of all: "This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review." Cora Harrison has done an admirable job of writing a modern Jane Austen novel that actually reads like a Jane Austen novel. Her style is true to life, and her heroine fits nicely into the world of Ms Austen. And Jane herself fits nicely into the world of her novels, or at least a close approximation of that world. The audiobook version of this book is beautifully narrated. My favorite narrator of Jane Austen novels is Flo Gibson, and the narrator of this book comes very close to her level of elegance, wit, and charm. I would highly recommend this book to any fan of Jane Austen or classic literature in general.

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Delightful historical Jane Austen romance!

I loved Alison Larkin's narration of The Complete Novels of Jane Austen and was thrilled to find this book. It is delightfully written and beautifully narrated - unique in that it is set in home of a teenage Jane Austen when her cousin Jenny comes to stay. The teenage Jane is witty and smart and you believe it's here and the parents are so like Mr and Mrs Bennet. It's charming and different and oh such a pleasure to listen to on a cold day with a nice cup of tea. I was also fascinated by the portrayal of Jane's handicapped brother and really had a sense of being in the Austen family. .A true gem!