First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane AustenFirst Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen by Charlie Lovett
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I got an ARC of this book via the First to Read program by Penguin Books. This is my most honest review.

I just finished reading this book and I can only say, “Thank you, Universe, for ending this torture!” I love Jane Austen, I love her books, and I always try to read all kinds of books based on her novels. But this book just made me angry. And not only because it was implied in the book that Jane Austen could have been a plagiarist. The writing could have been better, and the story taking place in modern day was plain ridiculous.

Sophie Collingwood is a bibliophile who finds herself involved in a mystery regarding a lost copy of a second edition of a book written by an author called Richard Mansfield. This wouldn’t have been so mysterious if Jane Austen’s possible plagiarism, a threatening man who would do anything to find that book, and a murder weren’t also involved in the looking for this book. We learn from what happens to her at the same time that we see glimpses of Jane Austen’s friendship with Reverend Richard Mansfield.

I find the idea of Jane Austen needing someone to prompt her to write extremely unlikely and ridiculous. Her friendship and love for the aging reverend is a bit odd too, but anyway, this is fiction, right? However, even fiction has to follow certain rules, and they were all broken in the modern-day part of this book. There is only a certain number of coincidences that can happen in someone’s life at a time, and Sophie’s life is so filled with coincidences and convenient events that it is totally unbelievable. I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes while reading this book. Certainly, I don’t hear that a member of my family has died and the first thing that comes to my mind is, “They have been murdered!” The paranoia of this character doesn’t stop there, and her behavior towards the different people she meets along the way is a bit hard to believe too.

All in all, this is not the kind of story I was expecting, proving once more that First Impressions can be misleading. I won’t read more from this author.