15 Oct 2014

FIRST IMPRESSIONS.



FIRST IMPRESSIONS by CHARLIE LOVETT.

SOURCE: Received for review from Alma Books

THE BOOK {According to the back cover}: Book lover and Jane Austen enthusiast Sophie Collingwood has barely started her new job as an antiquarian bookshop in London when two different customers request a copy of the same obscure publication: the second edition of Little Book of Allegories by Richard Mansfield. Their enquiry draws Sophie into a web of mystery surrounding the true authorship of Pride and Prejudice, with ultimately dangerous consequences.

In a narrative that alternates between Sophie's quest, which also sees her dealing with several love interests on the way, and the young Jane Austen's touching friendship with the ageing cleric Richard Mansfield. Charlie Lovett - who first delighted readers with his bestselling debut The Bookman's Tale - weaves a romantic, suspenseful and compelling novel about love in all its forms and the joys of a life lived in books.

FIRST SENTENCE {Steventon, Hampshire, 1796}: Fond as she was of solitary walks, Jane had been wandering rather linger than she intended, her mind occupied not so much with the story she had lately been reading as with one she hoped soon to be writing.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 26}: The walls were lined with books from floor to ceiling. Stacks of books stood neatly arranged on every horizontal surface - tables, window sills, even the top of an unplugged television.

MY THOUGHTS: Another great novel, a must read for all those who love books, fine libraries, and mysteries revolving around rare books. Doing for Jane Austen what the author's debut novel did for Shakespeare, whilst I enjoyed The Bookman's Tale First Impressions is in a league of its own.

An intelligent read, masterfully rendered - there is none of your typical re-workings/sequels/prequels here - that chapter by chapter alternates between the late eighteenth/mid nineteenth century and the tale of Jane Austen and her elderly gentleman friend, the Rev Mansfield (yes, that Rev Mansfield), and that of the very much twenty first century Sophie Collingwood. 

OK, so there were bits of the book that were a bit far fetched and, personally not to my taste, there were some that were epistolary in nature but given the relationship between Sophie, her beloved uncle Bertram and their shared adoration of books, the descriptions of early book publishing, and the intrigue surrounding the publication that connects the two halves of the story together this really was a bibliophile's dream.

13 comments:

Kelly said...

The premise does sound interesting, but being one of those rare folks who's not read any Austen, I wonder if that would ruin it for me.

I've just begun the Rebecca Hazell trilogy and have plenty to read at the moment, so I may just file this author back for a future time.

Crystal Collier said...

LOL. I wonder if I'm a big enough book nerd to completely appreciate this. It's definitely got my interest.

So many books, so little time said...

I remember very little about Austen but the premise of this one is interesting. Thanks for sharing, I will keep my eyes peeled for it.

Lainy http://www.alwaysreading.net

Literary Feline said...

Shakespeare isn't a favorite of mine and so I admit to having little interest in The Bookman's Tale. This, however, sounds really good.

Suko said...

Tracy, it sounds like a wonderful book for bibliophiles and truly a book I'd enjoy. Terrific review!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

This sounds like a wonderful book and one that I think I would enjoy. I don't think I've heard of it until now. I do like the bibliophile angle!

carol said...

Sounds like a series I need to read.

Stephanie Faris said...

I find the early days of book publishing fascinating, so I may have to check this one out. The cover certainly has a literary classic feel to it.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

sounds interesting for literary fans!

Brian Joseph said...

The subject matter of this one certainly sounds intriguing.


I do love books about bookish things. Interesting that this one alternates between different timelines.

Lindsay said...

Lovely review, this is one I will have to get and read at some point, I really enjoyed his first book and I'm so glad you enjoyed this one so much!

Tracy Terry said...

I haven't read any of her books either Kelly and yet reading this was fine.

Welcome to Pen and Paper Crystal, I appreciate you stopping by.

Only published in paperback earlier this month Melissa, I'm not even sure it has been released in the US yet.

Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I love the cover and the book sounds fabulous! I am glad to hear that the story is well written and I definitely need to read it! Awesome review. :)