When shy Jenny Cooper goes to stay with her cousin Jane Austen, she knows nothing of the world of beautiful dresses, dances, secrets, gossip, and romance that Jane inhabits. At fifteen, Jane is already a sharp observer of the customs of courtship. So when Jenny falls utterly in love with Captain Thomas Williams, who better than Jane to help her win the heart of this dashing man?
But is that even possible? After all, Jenny’s been harboring a most desperate secret. Should it become known, it would bring scandal not only to her, but also to the wonderful Austen family. What’s a poor orphan girl to do?
Oh, what a fun read this was! Sure, not too much substance and maybe the appeal doesn't quite spread out of the target audience like a lot of historical young adult fiction does, but this book sets out to entertain younger readers and it definitely succeeded in doing that for me and I know I would have absolutely adored this book as a thirteen year old as well.
I didn't realise until I read the authors not at the end that Jenny Cooper is based on a real character and a lot of the events in this book actually happened. I really liked Jenny as a character, despite the fact that some of the things she did weren't characteristic of young ladies of the late 18th century, it was really nice to get into the head of a young girl living in the oppressive and wealth obsessed society of that time. I also really loved Jane, it's amazing to read the thoughts and writings of a young Jane Austen, she was so silly - always coming up with poetic things to say and stories about her family and her life. There were also a lot of other characters I liked. Frank and Henry, both love interests in a way portrayed two different types of man in that time period, I loved seeing how Frank reacted to Jenny, it was adorable. i do have to say though that I really did love Captain Thomas Williams, he was a gentleman without being as airy as a lot of the love interests in historical fiction and I can't wait to read more about him and Jenny.
I liked the diary style of this book, whilst diary style books aren't anything new it's always nice to read something different and the format meant that the narration was very different. i also liked the excerpts of Jane's writing and the drawings by Jenny.
Overall, whilst this book may not have the substance and depth, it was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I'm excited to read the sequel.
Overall rating: B
Published September 2010 by MacMillan Childrens Books
My copy was purchased by myself.