Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Book Review: Jane Austen: A Life Revealed by Catherine Reef

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed by Catherine Reef
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication date: June 2011
ISBN: 978-0547370217
Source: e-ARC provided by NetGalley

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed

Jane Austen has remained a household name for hundreds of years, an author many readers love to love.  But how much do we actually know about this historical figure?  Catherine Reef creates a biography of this mysterious woman, whose feelings and thoughts come to us only in bits and snatches. 

Things I Liked:
Yeah, I know that description was pretty crappy.  I'm not much good at non-fiction descriptions.  I enjoyed reading this biography.  Despite my being such a huge fan of Austen, I've read very few biographies about her.  I know quite a bit of the "facts" about her life, simply from online reading and such, but I wasn't as certain about other aspects of her life.  This was a good introduction to what we know and what we don't know about Austen.  I particularly appreciated that Reef clearly avoids speculation and other theories about why her letters were burned or what happened during some of her romantic escapades.  It was helpful also to get more of a perspective on the general historical time period.  A good biography for those just getting their feet wet in the Austen world.

Things I Didn't Like:
I wasn't that thrilled with the summaries of her books, which seemed sometimes to draw me out of the narrative, but which might be helpful for those who haven't read them.  It was also pretty short and I didn't think it was very original in its insights, but I'm definitely not an expert.  I became a bit frustrated with the format of this e-ARC, which I read on my Kindle and the images were absent or interrupted the text obnoxiously, but this was entirely the fault of the Kindle.  I looked at the images on the computer and they were fabulous.  I really liked what they seemed to bring to the story as well.  Good intro for younger fans of Austen.

Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomalin

Jane Austen: Her Life And Letters, A Family Record by William Austen-Leigh
Becoming Jane Austen by Jon Spence

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ***

Do you have a favorite biography or other non-fiction book about Austen?

If you buy through my Amazon linkage, I will get a very small percentage

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