books and reading · reviews

Book Review: Jane Austen: A Life Revealed by Catherine Reef

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed is an autobiography of the author’s life aimed at young adults.  It is the first biography of Austen to be marketed specifically to teens.  In addition to providing readers with a thorough, accessible look at Austen’s life, the book incorporates pictures, historical facts, and detailed summaries of all of Austen’s novels.

Catherine Reef has written numerous biographies of authors, and her skill for detailed work is present here.  Reef writes about Austen in a way that is very accessible for readers, putting her life in the larger context of history.  She pulls facts from a variety of sources, including Austen’s own letters, recollections from family members, and other biographers.

What works so well in Reef’s book is how she incorporates pictures, drawings, and copies of Jane’s own writing into the narrative.  These images help to add dimension to the story and provide visual context for the concepts being discussed.  Reef uses images from some popular Austen film adaptations, including the recent movie version of Pride and Prejudice, starring Keira Knightley.

Highly recommended for teens who show an interest in Austen’s work or life.  The book will be useful for teens completing research for school projects or even just their own personal benefit.

Jane Austen: A Life Revealed will be published on April 18, 2011.

(Full Disclosure: Accepted electronic ARC from publisher for review.)

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