Friday, May 31, 2019

Thoughts on Allie Cresswell's Dear Jane (and a #giveaway)

First off, I must fully disclose that I have not read Austen's Emma. It's the only title in her main body of work which I have not read (addendum: I forgot I have not read Mansfield Park either). However, I feel I know the story well enough from film and British television adaptations, and I do fully intend to read the book. It's on my list.

Now, to my thoughts on Dear Jane.

I am the type of person who always wants to know more about the various characters in novels, especially classic novels such as the works of Jane Austen or Charles Dickens. This book did not disappoint. Though this was the third novel in the Highbury Trilogy, I knew enough of the Emma story to not get lost. I loved reading the story of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill from the very beginning. From Austen's Emma, we only get glimpses of Jane from Emma's point of view (not always a positive view), though we do know from other supporting players that Jane is a fine girl. Frank on the other hand always seems to be portrayed as something of a cad. It was refreshing to learn his origins and motivations, and to see just what a truly wonderful person he really is. Finally learning the back story of how Jane and Frank became a couple was satisfying, as I always felt the discovery of their engagement slightly rushed in Emma.

I have not read many Austen retellings, though I have many on my to-be-read list. Dear Jane really is an enjoyable read, with the tone being very much Austen. As I stated earlier on, I did not get lost reading this. It works well as a stand alone novel despite being part of a trilogy. Now I'm eager to go back to the beginning and read the first two books. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Jane Austen's work.

A thank you to Poetic Book Tours, and the publisher, for sending me a copy of the book.

About the book
The final installment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane narrates the history of Jane Fairfax, recounting the events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma.

Orphaned Jane seems likely to be brought up in parochial Highbury until adoption by her papa’s old friend Colonel Campbell opens to her all the excitement and opportunities of London. The velvet path of her early years is finite, however and tarnished by the knowledge that she must earn her own independence one day.

Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. The glimmer of the prize which will one day be his is all but obliterated by the stony path he must walk to claim it.

Their paths meet at Weymouth, and readers of Emma will be familiar with the finale of Jane and Frank’s story. Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over their early lives, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.

About the author
Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College,

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B and B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to
lifelong learners. Most recently she has been working on her Highbury trilogy, books inspired by Jane Austen’s Emma.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria, NW England.
You can contact her via her website at or find her on Facebook.

Enter to win a copy of Dear Jane by visiting the Rafflecopter form here.

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  1. Thanks for this wonderful feature and giveaway which I would enjoy greatly and cherish.

  2. I had to give up on Austen-inspired works for a bit but I'd love to start this series. While Emma wasn't my favorite Austen work it was in the top three. I'd also love to hear about Frank and Jane and how that all came to pass.

  3. I loved this book. The characters are realistic. Just as in Jane Austen's books they are flawed but lovable. The plot line is engaging, believable and fast paced. But probably best of all it is written in a very similar style to that of Jane Austen, giving life and depth to some of our favorite characters in Emma.

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