Dec 262014

First Impressions1Discovering the Truth About Jane Austen’s First Impressions

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Publisher

A literary adventure and bit of intrigue about Jane Austen and her early manuscript of Pride and Prejudice (earlier titled, First Impressions)! What if there were rumors and evidence that could shed some light on Jane Austen’s First Impressions, wouldn’t that be wonderful? But what if those rumors and evidence did nothing more than create doubt on the authorship of Pride and Prejudice? Could Jane Austen have stolen the idea for Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth from someone else??? *gasp!*

That is what Sophie Collingwood, Janeite, bibliophile, and antique bookseller is determined to find out!

With alternating chapters, First Impressions is two stories in one; one half of the book takes place in Jane Austen’s time – mostly during the years 1796 and 1797, the other half of the book takes place present-day with Sophie Collingwood. I love dual story-lines, and this book offers two stories that are equally fascinating and engaging. I often couldn’t decide which story-line I wanted to see continue more!

I was instantly drawn to the Jane Austen story-line where we see Jane Austen make an unexpected friendship with a retired clergyman, Richard Mansfield – a friendship that proves to be very significant in many ways. I adored Mr. Mansfield and found his relationship with young Jane to be everything that is charming and delightful. I loved seeing Jane bare her heart and soul to him and share her darkest secrets. And I thought the supposed realization of her greatest flaw and Mr. Mansfield’s suggested method of atonement to be very conceivable and satisfying. While some may be outraged by the suggestion of Jane Austen receiving assistance or promptings for her works and characters, I thought it a reasonable supposition and one that did little to take away from Jane Austen’s exceptional genius.

I found the other story-line with Sophie Collingwood was just as riveting. Sophie is a true bibliophile with a most reverent and fervent adoration and appreciation for books. Sophie’s love affair with books and reading was encouraged and enriched by her Uncle Bertram; and their special relationship and history together – which was shown through various flashbacks – was so heartwarming to witness. With her uncle’s death, her desire to restore her uncle’s library, and a commission to find a second edition of a very obscure book for two different customers, Sophie has much to occupy her time and thoughts. Add to that two men who seem interested in a romantic relationship with her, a nagging suspicion about her uncle’s death, and an understandably urgent desire to protect Jane Austen’s name! Quite a bit going on, wouldn’t you say?

Sophie is an extremely likable, sensitive, and intelligent character and her profound love of books and reading was evident in every chapter. Seeing her memories of her Uncle Bertram and the talks they shared was definitely one of my favorite parts. I also loved her interactions with Eric Hall, a quirky American who, at first, she thought was quite rude. 😉 And while I enjoyed the charming and enigmatic Winston Godfrey, I at times found myself thinking Sophie’s relationship and behavior towards him to be a little unlikely. Note: Due to some adult situations and language, I’d recommend this novel for readers over the age of fourteen.

With all its intrigue, danger, secrets, and romance – First Impressions by Charlie Lovett truly is a thrilling literary adventure! An adventure that skillfully fills the reader with eager anticipation to unravel the past and tempts them to believe they’ve finally discovered the truth about Jane Austen’s First Impressions! *sigh* If only!

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The kind people at Penguin Group have kindly donated ONE lovely copy of First Impressions  for me to give away to ONE lucky winner!

First Impressions1


To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about my review!!

  • This giveaway is open for US/CAN residents.  Thank you, Penguin Group!
  • This giveaway ends January 2nd!
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  31 Responses to “First Impressions – Charlie Lovett + GIVEAWAY!!!”


    Thank you for such a good review. I, too, like stories within a story, and I am wondering if Sophie’s story and two gentlemen interested in her has any correlation to Elizabeth, Darcy, and Wickham. Thank you for the giveaway! I am very intrigued and interested in reading First Impressions.


    Great review, can’t wait to read it!


    I’ve been wanting to read this one.


    I have read the book, loved it, and like your review of it very much! Thank you
    for the giveaway. I would especially
    like to own a copy.


    Wow! I’ve mostly been reading P&P inspired novels, but not a Jane Austen story. This should be the first if I win! Thanks for the riveting review Meredith! 🙂 – Avid blog reader here. 🙂


      Jane Austen stories and variations are a lot of fun to read, Jasmin! I’ve read a bunch this year and I really loved exploring the possibilities of Jane Austen’s life!


    I can’t wait to read this!


    Thanks for the review! On my list!


    Two stories in one and that’s funny that there is a ‘Mansfield’ and a ‘Bertram’ in there too. I definitely want to read this one.


    Hi Meredith!
    In spite of no participating in the giveaway (for being from Spain) I want to say that it’s a lovely plot. If I were an antique bookseller it would be splendid to discover the secrets of a very famous book like P&P. I like the references to other Jane’s books in “First Impressions” like Uncle “Bertram” and Mr. Mansfield… Two references to “Mansfield Park”…
    By the way, I forgot to tell you the name of my blog :
    The meaning of letras parlanchinas would be something like “chatter- box letters” LOL. Hope you like it 😉


      Wouldn’t it be so much fun! I loved that the heroine was an antique book seller too! And to discover any secret about Jane Austen would be monumental! 🙂 Thanks for the link! I’m off to visit!


    Intriguing plot line and a story within a story is always enjoyable. Thanks for the great review and for the giveaway!


      Yes, I’m such a fan of a story within a story or dual plot lines. I loved that this one went back and forth with the time period, kind of like Robin Helm’s Yours By Design trilogy or Once Upon a Time, the TV show on ABC. 🙂


    Sounds like I would so enjoy reading this book!!
    Thank you for the giveaway!!!


    I enjoyed your review so much. I would really love to win a copy of this book as my pockets are out to let because of Christmas. I’ve just found your blog today as I’m recently new to bloglovin’. I look forward to reading more!


    I’ve heard of this book and the other one in the series and think I’d enjoy these books. Sounds interesting.


    Meredith, I’ve been hoping this was one of the books that you were going to review and I’m happy that it squeaked in before year end. Thank you for the bit at the end, especially. I would love to ask the author what attracted him to Jane Austen. Do you know?


    Jane Austen is my favorite. I enjoyed Lost in Austen, the way that one interplayed with the present, so I think I might enjoy this one too. Thank you for your thoughtful review.


    Your review makes the book sound intriguing. It reminds me of one of my earliest (and a favorite) fan fiction reads, The Man Who Loved Jane Austen. I love dual story lines and hope to enjoy this book several times.


    This book sounds so interesting. I can’t wait to read it. Your reviews are so helpful, Meredith.
    Thank you, Penguin Group, for the giveaway.

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