It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young woman in possession of a keen mind must be in want of a husband….
This graphic work of historical fiction, translated from the Italian, examines the life of beloved author Jane Austen. The story begins with spreads from the end of Jane’s life as she writes to her sister, Cassandra, remembering their time together as children, progressing into womanhood, and recounting how she cultivated, with the support of her father, her love of reading and writing. Thanks to her successful readings among the local gentry, she crosses paths with Thomas Lefroy, here presented as an abiding love interest, at a neighbor’s home, where they have a gruff first meeting that anyone familiar with Austen’s novels will recognize. Young readers new to Austen will enjoy speculating on their romance and will admire Jane’s strength in an era that gave women very few options. A loose black-and-white illustration style gives a nice fluidity to the story and fits Jane’s personality, although the addition of color would have made it feel more complete. Detailed backmatter fills in some of the holes in the story and helps readers sort fact from fiction. The author shows faith in younger readers by including some challenging vocabulary that may have them reaching for dictionaries. However, the illustrations and context clues make the work accessible.
A lovely, quick read. (biographical notes, timeline) (Graphic novel. 8-12)