Tuesday, July 6, 2010

DEAREST COUSIN JANE by Jill Pitkeathley

Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
Date published: March 2010
ISBN: 978-0061875984
Historical fiction
Reviewed by Valerie
Obtained by publisher

Jill Pitkeathley has penned a novel about the life of Jane Austin, with special attention to her true-life cousin, Eliza. Eliza is rumored to have been born of a love affair between her mother and Warren Hastings of the East India Company. She is glamorous, flirtatious, outrageous, and enthusiastic. Tragedy, including the death of her only child at a young age, doesn’t dim any of her outlandish traits. Her husband, the French count Jean de Feuillide was claimed by Madame Guillotine so she spends her time in England and influences the life of a quiet young writer, her cousin, Jane Austen. During this time, two of Jane’s brothers vie for the attentions of Eliza, but she ends up marrying Henry. It is unfortunate that she is to suffer the same demise as her mother but readers will be enchanted by this special story.

I think this is one of the best ‘Jane Austen’ stories I have read so far, and I have read a few of late. This one was very lively, captivating and I was hard pressed to put it down for a minute. This author has extensively researched her subject but has elaborated somewhat on the life of Jane’s cousin, Eliza. I liked that each character got to have their say on the events happening. Each chapter is headed by the character, whose point of view is being used, plus the place and date. Each character has been marvelously written, from Jane herself, to her precocious cousin, to Philly Walter, another cousin who is a bit of a busy-body to Jane’s own family members. I felt while reading that I had them all sitting with me and they were telling me their story themselves. Thank you Ms. Pitkeathley for a story that adds a new dimension to what we already know about one of our most beloved authors.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement of this book.

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