Cassandra's Sister: Growing Up Jane Austen -- Veronica Bennett
From Cassandra's Sister:
Serious plans were afoot, then, to bring Cass and Tom together at Godmersham. Did Jenny's exclusion from these discussions signal her exclusion from the party? If so, it would not be for the first time. Three years' difference in age did matter sometimes, however often people commented on how inseparable the sisters were. Cass was regarded as a woman--twenty-one, calm and practical, blissfully engaged to an equally level-headed man--while Jenny was still seen as a fledgling woman, half-formed, without her sister's polished manners, and her head always full of questions no one seemed able to answer.
I really enjoyed Veronica Bennett's novel about Mary Shelley, so I was excited about picking this one up -- and it didn't disappoint. Like Angelmonster, it is a fictionalized retelling. Yes, the book contains facts about her life, but much of the story is imagined.
Fans of Austen's books will recognize character traits and social situations, but it isn't necessary to have read her work to enjoy the book. Jenny's hopes and fears and frustrations (and for some, her ambition) will be familiar to readers regardless of their knowledge of Jane Austen's novels.
It's a quiet book. I found it completely engrossing and also comforting, though it did have me feeling quite melancholy by the end of the epilogue. I'd give it (of course) to teen fans of Austen, but also to readers of historical fiction and aspiring writers.