Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed Catherine Reef

Jane Austen didn’t leave much behind about her personal life. Very few of her letters survived, and family accounts of her appearance and personality directly contradict each other. One niece said she had “fine naturally curling hair, neither light nor dark” and another said she had “long, long black hair down to her knees.” Reef details what we do know, what’s debated, and what’s speculated about Austen’s life. Throughout, she weaves in the plots of Austen’s novels, often highlighting how they dovetail with events happening in Austen’s life at the time of writing.

Overall, I think Reef does a great job in writing a compelling biography with such scant primary source material. I think the referencing of book plots was a nice touch, but it also gives me pause. I think many readers will already know the plots and find the summaries a bit tedious. Other readers who will discover Jane through this book will find the plot summaries so well detailed, they may lose the inspiration to read the books for themselves.

Book Provided by... my local library

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1 comment:

Roberta said...

I thought the summaries should at least be set off by a header, or maybe a different color. That way you could find them if you wanted to read them, or skip them easily if you didn't.