⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ What a delightful surprise this book was!! A lovely, charming and beautifully written account of Jane Austen’s first love interest, Edward Taylor, inspired by true events. Jane Austen is 15 years old when the book opens and excited when she learns that she is to accompany her mother, sister, and younger brother to visit her elder brother Edward, who resides with Thomas and Catherine Knight of Godmersham Park, Kent. Edward is recently engaged to Ms. Elizabeth Bridges of Goodnestone Park, and the family is invited there to celebrate a month-long multitude of festivities, to Jane’s overwhelming delight. As they got underway to Goodnestone their carriage met with peril and was nearly upset, leaving them virtually stranded on the road. When circumstances begin to look grim, Edward Taylor appears and rescues them. This is where Jane and Edward make their acquaintance, and she is at once smitten by his smart appearance. Jane eventually learns that Edward is highly accomplished; at 17 he’s traveled the world and been educated by many Masters, speaks several languages, been in the company of numerous influential people including princes, ambassadors and lords. She’s enamored by his opinions and thought processes regarding various subjects, and appreciates how his insights encourage her to think differently about some of her own deeply entrenched ideas. He is also somewhat of an enigmatic fellow and likes to take risks, challenges commonly accepted practices, and prefers not to inherit and manage his father’s estate. The daredevil in him is somewhat displeasing to Jane on more than one occasion. Nevertheless, Jane feels certain that she truly loves Edward. Or does she?
I was enraptured and caught away by the mention of balls, picnics, garden parties, long walks and similar activities that the family engaged in. The visual detail of the aforementioned was splendid and I felt transported back in time where I could be a spectator of Jane’s young life. Character development was excellent and I could easily envision many of the key family members, friends and acquaintances that were met with while I read along. It was nice to see the close bond that was evident between Jane and her older sister Cassandra, and also her younger brother Charles. I also liked how the book reminded me of Jane Austen’s book Emma, and her disastrous match-making attempts. Mostly I loved watching how Jane and Edward’s attachment unfolded.
This was the first book I’ve read by Syrie James and I was truly impressed!! So much so that I immediately looked into her other books and purchased one in audiobook format. If you enjoy Jane Austen inspired works, I trust you will be thrilled when you read Jane Austen’s First Love. MAGNIFICENT, and highly recommended!
Thank you Laurel Ann Nattress of Austenprose, and Syrie James, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.