Thursday, 29 November 2012

Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend - Cora Harrison (#2)

Although this is the second book by Cora Harrison based on the diary of Jenny Cooper, a close cousin to Jane Austen, I think it could be read independently without the first novel, I was Jane Austen's Best Friend (see my review).
I bought and read the first book on a bit of a whim - wanting an easy read. Nothing too tough. But actually really enjoyed it! So I got the second book...and have only just got around to reading it.
Since acquiring this novel, I have also read the first book in Cora Harrison's new series named Debutantes (my review), which I would also recommend!
Cora Harrison has to be one of my favourite historical fiction writers as well as Anna Godbersen and Mary Hooper among MANY so I was quite pleased to be starting this book and finally finding out the ending to Jenny's story.

Synopsis: The effects of Jenny Cooper met, fell in love and was then proposed to by the lovely Captain Thomas Williams are both joyful and threatening to their future happiness with a number of obstacles between their love becoming official in marriage. Meanwhile, Jane Austen - Jenny's cousin and closest friend - has her own ideas to find romance. Jane's wild imagination is looking for a dashing, handsome and brave young man - but the males of Steventon don't particular match that fantasy. Soon, Jenny and Jane go to Bath to visit their aunt and uncle and are shown a world of romance, dancing and elegance as well as a few scandals along the way. Soon Jane has a number of admirers wanting her attention and is at risk of being the talk of the town for the wrong reasons...

Review: I have to admit that I constantly cringe whenever I type/write/say the title of this book - it's jokey, yes, but if I had not sampled Cora Harrison's novels before, this would not be a to-read for me.
This is the perfect book for those that are big Jane Austen fans like myself. Although I've only read Pride and Prejudice, I love the plot, the manners and the elegance of her time and also just Jane Austen herself too. This is also the perfect read for those fans to sit on a rainy afternoon in bed with chocolate and coffee and just enjoy the afternoon. Because of the simplicity of this novel, I loved reading it late at night or very early in the morning - it was easy to engross yourself in and to understand.

The story is told from Jenny's point of view. As Harrison says in the Author's Note at the back (which is so interesting to have a read of what is true or not), Jenny's real name was Jane but changed for the purposes of having another Jane in the story. I've always loved Jenny - she's very lovely, gentle and kind yet quite strong-headed and understands what is happening around her. Unlike sometimes young girls of the time are portrayed, neither Jane nor Jenny I found extremely silly and I felt very attached to their future happiness throughout the novel. Jenny at the beginning of the book is engaged to a naval officer  Thomas - another rather lovely character. However, they are refused permission by her brother due to his wife's jealousy for the match. Thomas is vacant for the majority of the book as he goes on a trip with his crew. I loved seeing the genuine sadness from Jenny at his leaving - it just made it lovely to read.

What I absolutely loved about this book (and the series) is the references to Jane Austen's literature. There are quotes that Jane gives to Jenny to put in her diary that after a quick Google, I realised are from Jane Austen novels. The characters and plot have a certain Jane Austen-esque to them. Jane Austen reminded me so much of Elizabeth Bennet and Thomas as Mr Darcy which for a big Jane Austen fan like myself, it's lovely to see the thought put into the novel through this references.

The plot of the book is never boring, with a number of sub-plots happening that keep you as a reader guessing until the very end. I enjoyed the structure of the novel as a diary written by Jenny that really allowed me to get to know her character once again and sympathise with her. The writing is very informal and not at all like the Regency language we associate with Jane Austen, but I liked this aspect of it - it makes this an easier more enjoyable read.
I loved the simplicity of this novel, the modern language, the understandable plot and the lovely unique characters. This novel may should very modern but the key aspects of the 1700s are still present - the etiquette  the clothes, the manners, the dancing - all written clearly and in a way that made it so easy to imagine.

Despite the isolated moments where I had to cringe (starting with the title), I think this novel is best for those that want an easy read for whatever reason that may be. This was perfect to read late at night and very early in the morning when I didn't want to read anything too heavy. I loved the characters, the plot and the writing that made this an overall great read that has cemented Cora Harrison as one of my favourite authors.

I give it a 4.5 out of 5

Author's Website:
Pages: 346
Publisher: Macmillan
Challenges: BBC, Historical Fiction

Cora Harrison's other books:
I was Jane Austen's Best Friend

If you like this, you'll also like....
Cassandra's Sister by Veronica Bennett
Me and Mr Darcy by Alexandra Potter
Love, Lies and Lizzie by Rosie Rushton


  1. Hi Rebecca,

    Just wondering, I have read part of 'I was Jane Austen's Best Friend' and I enjoyed it but it wasn't great. Would you recommend trying 'Jane Austen Stole my Boyfriend'?



    1. I think books depend on people's personal tastes. I read 'I was Jane Austen's Best Friend' a while ago so I can't remember my complete thoughts for that book.
      If you like historical fiction and don't mind books that are a little 'fluffy', little silly and easy to read then you'll probably enjoy 'Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend'. I hope that helps!


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