First Impressions

First Impressions

A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen

Book - 2014
Average Rating:
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Penguin Putnam
A thrilling literary mystery costarring Jane Austen from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Bookman’s Tale

Charlie Lovett first delighted readers with his New York Times bestselling debut,The Bookman’s Tale. Now, Lovett weaves another brilliantly imagined mystery, this time featuring one of English literature’s most popular and beloved authors: Jane Austen.

Book lover and Austen enthusiast Sophie Collingwood has recently taken a job at an antiquarian bookshop in London when two different customers request a copy of the same obscure book: the second edition ofLittle Book of Allegories by Richard Mansfield. Their queries draw Sophie into a mystery that will cast doubt on the true authorship ofPride and Prejudice—and ultimately threaten Sophie’s life.

In a dual narrative that alternates between Sophie’s quest to uncover the truth—while choosing between two suitors—and a young Jane Austen’s touching friendship with the aging cleric Richard Mansfield, Lovett weaves a romantic, suspenseful, and utterly compelling novel about love in all its forms and the joys of a life lived in books.

Random House, Inc.
A thrilling literary mystery costarring Jane Austen from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Bookman’s Tale

Charlie Lovett first delighted readers with his New York Times bestselling debut,The Bookman’s Tale. Now, Lovett weaves another brilliantly imagined mystery, this time featuring one of English literature’s most popular and beloved authors: Jane Austen.

Book lover and Austen enthusiast Sophie Collingwood has recently taken a job at an antiquarian bookshop in London when two different customers request a copy of the same obscure book: the second edition ofLittle Book of Allegories by Richard Mansfield. Their queries draw Sophie into a mystery that will cast doubt on the true
authorship of Pride and Prejudice—and ultimately threaten Sophie’s life.

In a dual narrative that alternates between Sophie’s quest to uncover the truth—while choosing between two suitors—and a young Jane Austen’s touching friendship with the aging cleric Richard Mansfield, Lovett weaves a romantic, suspenseful, and utterly compelling novel about love in all its forms and the joys of a life lived in books.

Baker & Taylor
Sophie Collingwood is drawn into a mystery when two people request a copy of the same very rare book from the antiquarian bookshop where she works in this new novel from the author of The Bookman's Tale. 75,000 first printing.

Baker
& Taylor

When two customers come in requesting an obscure book by Jane Austen's friend Richard Mansfield, book lover and Austen enthusiast, Sophie Collingwood is drawn into the mystery of the true author of "Pride and Prejudice."

Publisher: New York : Viking, [2014]
New York : Viking, [2014]
ISBN: 9780525427247
0525427244
Branch Call Number: M LOVETT 2014
Characteristics: 308 pages ; 24 cm

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k
kegrev
May 30, 2017

I found this novel immensely satisfying. The authour's experience with the antiquarian book trade shines through, but more importantly, he captures the character of Jane Austen and her milieu beautifully. The modern characters are equally as engaging and the plot makes for a great read. I recommend this book wholeheartedly to Janites, lovers of historical fiction and mystery enthusiasts! Enjoy!

cals_readers Oct 12, 2016

PW and Booklist praised it. Kirkus Reviews panned it. (August 15, 2014) Got to read it now...

g
grapher
Oct 19, 2015

The shifting between Jane Austen's story and the modern one was particularly well handled. I was prepared to almost believe the whole thing. Looking for others by this author.

s
SJK222
Aug 23, 2015

Might have a good plot, but I couldn't get past the second page for the writing--to me, it was "tell" not "show." I have higher expectations for someone writing about Jane Austen.

m
micro1039
Aug 06, 2015

I found this to be a quick, summer read. Loved the suspense and fiction about Jane Austen's early life. Recommend it to everyone.

a
amatrixlibrorum
Jul 18, 2015

The book follows two timelines: 18th century England with Jane Austen and an elderly clergyman, Richard Mansfield, as main characters and 21st century with Sophie Collingwood and her family and friends as main characters. When the book begins, Jane Austen is writing her first draft of what would become Sense and Sensibility. She meets and develops a warm friendship with Richard Mansfield, who becomes a mentor and help in her writing. Sophie Collingwood has just graduated from Oxford University with a degree in English Literature and is at loose ends as to her future when she receives an unexpected legacy and starts work in an antiquarian bookshop. Soon the two timelines become intertwined when two customers ask Sophie to find a second edition of a book by Richard Mansfield.

This was a fun book for anyone who loves Jane Austen, old books, and mysteries. I really enjoyed the plot, the descriptions and love for books, the relationship between Sophie and her sister, Victoria, the mystery itself, and especially the friendship between Jane Austen and Richard Mansfield. I would have liked to see more interaction between Sophie and Victoria. The writing was a bit cliched at times and the mystery was fairly obvious, however, it was fun to read and had a charm about it, especially for me, who loves Jane Austen and old books and mysteries.

t
tmb_net
Jul 06, 2015

I enjoyed the fictional chapters about Jane Austen, I thought they were well written. The "mystery" kept me intrigued. The only thing that didn't seem well developed to me was the main character's relationships with the two possible love interests.

b
barb8571
Jun 05, 2015

I throughly enjoyed this little gem of a book. It jumps back and forth from present day back to Jane Austen's day when she was writing Pride and Prejudice. A good mystery is involved too. Highly recommend.

martins_mom May 08, 2015

Another fictional take on
Jane Austen's life and work. There is a suggestion that a mentor really wrote Pride and Prejudice, and an English graduate student and bibliophile is investigating - and getting involved in some scary academic skulduggery along the way.

c
CecileSune
Dec 09, 2014

It is not always true that a subtitle aptly sums up what a book is about. However, it certainly is the case here: “A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen”.

Sophie Collingwood has just graduated from Oxford when she meets Eric Hall, an intriguing young American teacher who, like her, loves classic literature, especially Jane Austen. Unfortunately, the young man soon leaves for Paris to continue his travels. Shortly after, Sophie discovers that her Uncle Bertram has unexpectedly passed away. Even though the police ruled the death an accident, Sophie is convinced her uncle’s demise is suspicious, especially when she discovers his book collection is gone. Hoping to track down the lost items, she starts working at an antiquarian bookstore. Soon, the dashing Winston Godfrey shows up and asks for an obscure publication, a book of allegories by Richard Mansfield. The following day, George Smedley, a regular client at the bookstore, requests the very same book, and threatens Sophie if she doesn’t find it for him. In a parallel story, Jane Austen meets Richard Mansfield, an 80-year-old reverend who loves reading and writing. An unlikely friendship develops between the two, Mr. Mansfield encouraging Jane to continue writing her first novel. The reverend eventually confesses that he is an author as well and that he would like to publish a second edition of his book of allegories. What is the importance of this obscure publication? Why does everyone suddenly want to find it?

First Impressions was a delightful novel, and I think anyone who loves reading and Jane Austen will appreciate this book. I found it interesting how the author integrated historical details about Jane Austen’s life into the story. If I am not mistaken, Chalie Lovett talks about the writing of all Jane Austen’s books, except Emma. I wonder why that is… One of the main reasons I loved First Impressions was because I identified a lot with Sophie. In fact, I wanted to be with her and Uncle Bertram when they went to bookstores or libraries. In addition, I would have loved browsing Uncle Bertram’s bookshelves and help Sophie conduct her research. In the novel, the suspense keeps up until the very end. Moreover, a love triangle spices up the mystery, as Sophie wonders who to trust: fascinating Eric or seductive Winston. The only negative comment I have about this book is how Sophie is very lucky in her research and seems to find clues to the mystery rather easily. But this is a minor criticism, and I highly recommend this novel.

First Impressions was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

Please go to my blog, Cecile Sune - Bookobsessed, if you would like to read more reviews or discover fun facts about books and authors.

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