Thursday, April 06, 2017

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen -- Charlie Lovett

I liked Charlie Lovett's The Bookman's Tale quite a bit, and I liked First Impressions even more.  In the earlier book, Lovett wrote about the search for an original Shakespeare manuscript.  This one's about the search for proof that Jane Austen didn't plagiarize Pride and Prejudice.  

Sections set in the present day feature Sophie Collingwood, book lover, and alternate with sections set (mostly) in the late 18th century and featuring Jane Austen.  At the heart of both sections is the second edition of a book called A Little Book of Allegories by Richard Mansfield, a clergyman who's very important to Austen. 

Sophie's love of books is encouraged by her uncle Bertram, who dies in mysterious circumstances.  Sophie's convinced that he's been murdered, so she's determined to prove it, find the killer, and prove Austen's innocence at the same time.  And if that's not enough, she finds herself being romanced by two very attractive men.  Lovett has a bit of fun doing some parallels with Pride and Prejudice.  Or that's how it seemed to me.  I'm far from an Austen expert.

I found First Impressions charming and a great deal of fun.  If you like books about books, then this is for you.  The parts with Sophie and her uncle talking about books are irresistible.  It's hard to pick a favorite, but I'm going with this one:


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

I liked the first one too, though not as much as some, but if you say this one is better I'll have to try it.

But when did Jane Austen become flavor of the month? I'm waiting for the Austen -Lovecraft mashup.

Bill Crider said...

My liking it more doesn't mean it's better, so beware.

Howard said...

I just finished The Lost Book of the Grail by Mr. Lovett, which was very enjoyable, and I recommend it to you, Bill. There is yet another volume I have not yet seen, The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge, which I will try to get soon. Charlie Lovett, it seems, has happened upon a great new niche in our favorite genre.

Bill Crider said...

I'll definitely be reading The Lost Book of the Grail. Not so sure about the Scrooge story, but I might be tempted.