First Impressions

Charlie Lovett. Viking, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-525-42724-7
Lovett (The Bookman’s Tale) weaves two plots together in this well-designed, ingenious novel. One is the story of Jane Austen’s relationship with the Rev. Richard Mansfield, set in Hamphire, England, in 1796; the other follows Sophie Collingwood, lovingly described by her family as having an overactive imagination, in present-day England. Sophie is shocked to hear that her uncle was found dead with a broken neck at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Willed all his assets, she prepares to settle into his London home only to discover that his extensive library has been sold to pay off debts. She resolves to buy back as many of his books as possible and gains employment in a bookshop. While taking orders for rare books, she encounters two customers obsessively seeking the same edition of an obscure work by Mansfield. She is determined to find out why the book is so valuable to them and why one customer is desperate enough to threaten her—and perhaps even willing to commit murder—to gain possession of it. Ardent fans of Jane Austen and lovers of a gripping stories will enjoy following Sophie’s pursuit of the truth. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/11/2014
Release date: 10/16/2014
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 558 pages - 978-1-4104-7386-8
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-14-312772-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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