Hardcover, 320 pgs
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First Impressions by Charlie Lovett is a literary mystery in which the fate of Jane Austen’s reputation as a premier novelist hangs in the balance. Sophie Collingwood has finished her master’s degree at Oxford when she meets a beguiling Eric Hall, an American traveling through Europe. In a meeting of the minds, they share one passionate kiss, but after he’s gone to France, she must deal with a lot more than her future after university when the family is hit by tragedy. As she regains her footing, her sister, Victoria, provides her with the framework she needs to move forward, even if it is in baby steps. She shares a similar relationship with her sister that Jane shared with her own, Cassandra.
“Uncle Bertram’s books were not arranged by author or title or more perplexing to little Sophie, by size or color. ‘You have to read a book to understand its place on the shelf,’ said Uncle Bertram.” (page 26)
Soon as a bookshop worker in Boxhill, Sophie finds that she is unwittingly at the center of a book controversy as two separate customers want her to locate the second edition of book, A Little Book of Allegories, by an obscure clergyman named Richard Mansfield. Sophie is a bookish woman who loves a good mystery, but this mystery has a darkness to it, especially when one of the customers begins issuing veiled threats to motivate her in her search. Even as she is afraid, she is still determined to uncover the mysterious connections between Mansfield and Austen, but she also finds herself being romantically pursued by two men.
First Impressions by Charlie Lovett is a literary mystery that is not hard to unravel, but it does make for a fun journey. When your companions are Jane Austen and Sophie Collingwood, you’ll have little to be disappointed about. From a young Austen crafting her novels at home and sharing them with her small family and social circle to Sophie finding her way after tragedy, Lovett has created an enjoyable mystery full of companionship, love, and suspense.
About the Author:
Charlie Lovett is a writer, teacher, and playwright whose plays for children have been seen in over 3000 productions worldwide. He served for more than a decade as Writer-in-Residence at Summit School in Winston-Salem, NC. Check out the Book Club Kit.
84th book for 2014 New Author Reading Challenge.