Jane Austen’s Best Friend by Zoe Wheddon

Jane Austen’s Best Friend; The life and influence of Martha Lloyd

All fans of Jane Austen everywhere believe themselves to be best friends with the beloved author and this book shines a light on what it meant to be exactly that. Jane Austen’s Best Friend; The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd offers a unique insight into Jane’s private inner circle. Through this heart-warming examination of an important and often overlooked person in Jane’s world, we uncover the life changing force of their friendship. Each chapter details the fascinating facts and friendship forming qualities that tied Jane and Martha together. Within these pages we will relive their shared interests, the hits and misses of their romantic love lives, their passion for shopping and fashion, their family histories, their lucky breaks and their girly chats. This book offers a behind the scenes tour of the shared lives of a fascinating pair and the chance to deepen our own bonds in ‘love and friendship’ with them both.



Helping our friends is one of life’s most rewarding things to do and helps to cement any friendship. Jane Austen fans dream of being able to do anything at all which might gratify or please their literary heroine and what could be closer to Jane’s heart than preparing her ink, quill, and paper. Would we not all love to make sure that her writing slope was kept in tip top condition, her chair made up to be its most comfortable and her table to be set ‘just so’ in her favoured position, next to the window? This passage talks about Martha’s part in helping her friend with these most practical acts. It is kind of mind-blowing to stop and realise that someone made the ink that fed the quill that followed the will of the writer. It was with Martha’s ink with which those words flowed and through which our beloved authoress’ characters came to life on the page. What a wonderful moment frozen in time that is. A friendship is all about the little things, but this one simple fact feels quite momentous indeed.


“However, the recipe that excites everyone the most, even to this present day, is, of course, her recipe for making ink. How thrilling to think that Martha supported her friend Jane’s writing by supplying the ink to the very quill that allowed her ideas to flow forth. How special too to wonder that perhaps Martha’s own book was written, even in part, in that very same homemade ink. What we would all give to be able to bless our own words with the ink that wrote the words of Jane Austen.”


My opinion

An absolute must for any Jane Austen fan.

This is a beautifully written, carefully researched account of a somewhat overlooked figure in literary history.


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Author Bio – ‘A native of Jane Austen’s beloved county of Hampshire, Zoe Wheddon, lives in a village on the outskirts of the touwn that she and her husband Matt grew up in, with three grown up children and a cat called Leia.


She co-presents the popular podcast What Would Jane Do and writes articles and book reviews on matters relating to friendship, self-compassion and personal development on her blog. When not researching or writing her next book, Zoe can be found in the classroom teaching Spanish and French or singing ABBA songs loudly in her kitchen.’


Social Media Links –  Twitter: @ZoeWheddon

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Website- www.zoewheddon.co.uk