The final instalment of the Highbury trilogy, Dear Jane recounts events hinted at but never actually described in Jane Austen’s Emma; the formative childhood years of Jane Fairfax and Frank Churchill, their meeting in Weymouth and the agony of their secret engagement.
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. Frank Weston is also transplanted from Highbury, adopted as heir to the wealthy Churchills and taken to their drear and inhospitable Yorkshire estate. Readers of Emma will be familiar with the conclusion of Jane and Frank’s story, but Dear Jane pulls back the veil which Jane Austen drew over its remainder.
I hadn’t read the previous books in this series, but that didn’t stop me enjoying this book immensely.
It’s a bold step to take on some of Jane Austen’s characters and write new stories for them, but this author does it very successfully. She captures the atmosphere and time of Jane Austen’s novels with her use of language, social interactions and imagery, but clearly marks her own stamp too. I definitely prefer her Jane Fairfax to the rather remote one who appears in ‘Emma’, but then she’s intended to be somewhat mysterious in that novel. It’s intriguing to discover the possible events that might have accompanied these well-known literary personages, and I’m sure that Jane Austen would have approved!
The author must have done a tremendous amount of research into the Georgian era and captures it for us so convincingly.
Clever, imaginative and respectful of the original novels from which this springboards, Dear Jane is great fun and very entertaining to read.
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dear-Jane-Highbury-Trilogy-inspired-ebook/dp/B07PXGL93S
US – https://www.amazon.com/Dear-Jane-Highbury-Trilogy-inspired-ebook/dp/B07PXGL93S
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, London.
She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.
She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters, two grandsons and two cockapoos but just one husband – Tim. They live in Cumbria, NW England.
Dear Jane is her ninth novel.
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