First Impressions was definitely a book for Jane Austen fans and book lovers. The main character in the present was Sophie, who spent her time with her nose in a book, and who loved finding treasures among the shelves in the expansive library of her family’s English Estate. In the past, Jane Austen worked on her first novel with the older Mr. Mansfield, which provided the platform for the author’s proposition that Jane Austen may not have written Pride and Prejudice; something I hoped was not true. Since I’m not a Jane Austen fanatic, the theories and supporting documentation used here were unknown to me and made for a thrilling literary mystery.
Sophie constantly misunderstood those around her, and that naive approach to life made her an enduring character. I enjoyed following her as she attempted to preserve her family’s rare book collection, ward off dastardly men searching out a rare book, and find true love. When she said, “I don’t joke about Jane Austen,” she revealed herself to be a passionate woman who could solve the mystery surrounding Jane’s early writings. Jane was spunky and bursting with ideas. As her relationship with Mr. Mansfield developed, so did the structure and characters in her famous novels. The book was very well done, as both narratives complimented each other and continued to raise questions the author allowed Sophie to resolve. The mystery concluded in a way that had some action while avoiding the ridiculous.
I wasn’t a fan of the author’s other book because it lacked the heart and passion here, but after reading First Impressions , I am anxious to see what Mr. Lovett writes next.