Title: First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen
Author: Charlie Lovett
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: An enchanting, lovely novel, I really liked this tale of Jane Austen, love, and books--it is just as worthy its predecessor, The Bookman's Tale!
This book was given to me by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Charlie Lovett just has a way with words, and not just with words, but with readers. What is so magical about his writing, to me, is that he understands the reader in all of us--that thrill of a good story, the magic of reading--can inspire and touch us all, and in this novel, he does not disappoint.
Sophie Collingswood is a young woman fresh out of school, and a great British literature fan--especially Jane Austen. But her life changes forever when she takes a job at an antique bookshop, and finds herself approached by two men who want the same obscure book: the second edition of Little Book of Allegories by Richard Mansfield. Drawn into a mystery that may put the very reputation of Jane Austen in jeopardy--and may get Sophie killed. Moving back and forth between Austen's and the present day, she discovers that the answer may lie in places she couldn't even imagine.
What I enjoyed:
-The premise of this novel--a fictional account into a treasured author's life, and a young woman finding her way
-I loved the research taken into this novel, peppering facts into a great novel
-The pacing of this novel--it was completely breakneck from the first
-Sophie herself, the spunky, tenacious book-loving woman--I really enjoyed the way that the story went with her, finding comfort in her favorites novels while at a crossroads to her life
-The dual narrative between Jane's day and the present day--it was nicely paced, smooth, and it gave the story so much depth and scope
-Jane, the bold and passionate young writer, fumbling to find a foothold and do something she loves in a man's world
-Mansfield, the foil to sweet, vibrant Jane, seasoned with wisdom and still flawed--I really loved him and his deep relationship with Jane
-Sophie's parents, a fitting frame to the shy but somehow still vibrant and relatable Sophie
-The ending--it was perfect, and it really did justice to everyone in the story, and it was very satisfying
What could've been better:
-Once the mystery picked up, I actually predicted most of what would happen, unfortunately
Overall, First Impressions was a truly magical book, with few flaws, that I thoroughly enjoyed!