Reviewer Amy Lignor: Amy is the author of a historical fiction novel entitled The Heart of a Legend, and Mind Made, a work of science fiction. Presently, she is writing an adventure series set in the New York Public Library, as well as a teen fiction series, The Angel Chronicles. She is an avid traveler and has been fortunate to have journeyed across the USA, where she has met the most amazing people, who truly bring life and soul to her books. She lives in the Land of Enchantment (for now) with her gorgeous daughter, Shelby, her wonderful Mom, Mary, and the greatest friend and critic in the entire world - her dog, Reuben
Author: Peter Leithart
The biographer has done a fantastic job in the telling of Jane Austen's life; facts were offered as any good biographer will do, but he left our beloved icon a heart and soul that shows on every page
Author: Peter Leithart
All seems right with the world when a "Janeite" like myself, is sent a work that revolves around the artistic expressions of one of the most beloved authors of all time. Jane Austen has held a special place in my heart ever since I began my own writing "journey" when I was thirteen years old. Like Jane, my sense of satire and irony make up the lives of the characters I write about. Not to mention, it does an struggling author's heart good to know that even the magical, Pride & Prejudice was turned down by publishers before becoming THE novel of the past, present, and, apparently, the future.
In the past few years there has been a literal outpouring of support for Jane Austen. Many writers (bad and good) have written movies, books, sequels, prequels - heck, when something called Pride and Prejudice & Zombies, is born than we know we've gone just about as far as we can go on the Austen "bandwagon." (But I doubt it) There are Austen-ites all over that include readers, historians, and biographers. Austen is much like Walmart; she's the "superstore" that has offered many people their own careers. The most intriguing part about all this hype, however, is that Austen, herself, would laugh out loud at the popular status she now holds.
Jane was born into a loving, nurturing and, probably most importantly, lliterary family. Her father was a Reverend referred to by some as "The Handsome Proctor." Even though his faith was a big part of her father, his open-minded intelligence in all areas - not just theology - seems to have been the most beneficial gift for a young aspiring writer to grow up around. Her mother's family tree included the great Oxford men. Although Jane seems to have gotten her sharp retorts from this side of the family, she and her mother did not quite see eye to eye most of the time. You see, her mother was a well-known complainer, and Austen seems to have had, and kept, the humor of a sardonic fifteen-year-old all her life. She was raised in a mostly masculine household. In fact, she was the ultimate observer of men. She found them hilarious, most of the time, and wrote a "man" better than most all men authors of her day and ours. She knew their sly comments; their intelligence in all things male; their dry wit; and, the various ways they found to woo women. She had one sister, Cassandra, who Jane always said was the best at everything. Cassandra was smarter than she, etcetera, and looked up to her older sister with respect.
One of the best things about Austen was her ability to laugh at herself and others. She had a self-deprecating humor - once referring to herself as "unlearned and uninformed." She was right about the formal education that she received - it was absolutely limited. But the amount of reading and studying she did, as well as taking on the learning of various languages, made Jane Austen a woman of the world. Her high "common sense" intelligence showed in every paragraph she wrote - whether it be serious or funny. Her books stand taller today than they did then, because of the magnificent worlds she created and filled with the most romantic and humorous characters of her and our time. I don't know of any woman who doesn't think that Mr. Darcy - even with all his high-handedness - isn't the absolute "perfect" male species that we wish we could find. And although romance was a strong suit of Jane's, her own love life was not something that ever blossomed into marriage. Whether it be that she simply didn't find the real Mr. Darcy, or because of the fact that her parents were so much in love that she wasn't about to settle for anything that wasn't completely "real," we'll never know. What we do know is that every facet of this woman's imagination was something that still carries on from generation to generation. No longer a British hero, she has been taken into every country's heart and soul.
At the young age of forty-one Jane Austen left this earth. There are pilgrimages to places of her birth, death, and houses where her characters ate, danced, and lived their remarkable lives. There is even a special stained glass window that is placed in the church where she's buried for her avid followers to see. She was a woman who spoke and believed in manners and morals, independence, and being one with the Divine. Most of all, by everyone's accounts left behind, Jane was an enigma. A woman who looked at the world and enjoyed it with the power of her laughter, and the great ability to write stories that intrigue, entice, and live on forever.
The biographer has done a fantastic job in the telling of Jane Austen's life; facts were offered as any good biographer will do, but he left our beloved icon a heart and soul that shows on every page.