Just Jane by Nancy Moser drew me in right away. Although this is not what the typical reader would describe as suspenseful, for me it was a page turner as the human drama unfolded: What will she do? Will she speak her mind? Will he be okay? Also, since it is about a well-known figure, the reader knows what is to come, so we are anxious to find out how and when it comes to be, which heightens the suspense.
Nancy Moser has written a novelization of Jane Austen’s life. The afterward offers an explanation of Nancy Moser’s sources and process in writing a bio-novel. Moser delightfully recreates Austen’s voice without simply imitating it, so that Just Jane reads like a lost Jane Austen novel. If you’ve read all her works and hunger for more, this is definitely a book that you would enjoy. This year I have read (or re-read) a couple of Austen’s novels. As I read about the genesis of many of her well-known characters, that background added to my enjoyment of this book. But whether or not you are familiar with her novels, this book will still interest you if you crave hearing about the heart and life of a writer or reading biographies or historical fiction in general. This is simply the story of a young woman growing to the point where she can stop focusing and dissecting the many roles in her life–aspiring writer, husband-seeker, dutiful daughter and sister–to be just Jane.
The characterization is clear and colorful with an easy delineation of the various friends and family members that we grow to love (or at least understand). If you read this book, you will grow to love the heroine and will probably want to delve into more of Jane Austen’s or Nancy Moser’s skillful prose.
Bethany House is giving one reader (in U.S. or Canada) a copy of Just Jane AND the Pride and Prejudice Insight Edition which features the complete original text by Jane Austen, as well as trivia, notes, and inspiration from Jane Austen’s own writings. To win both books, leave a comment by Sunday. The winner will be announced next week here at 5 Minutes for Books.