Monday, March 22, 2010

Christian Encounters Book Review

Anyone that knows me is aware that I consume books. I have always wanted to find a way to do reviews for a company. I have finally been able to realize that goal with Thomas Nelson. This book was sent to me by them for review. My first assignment? A Christian biography of Jane Austin. So - here it goes!

Jane Austen by Peter Leithart

This book is a biography of the writer Jane Austen, with a Christian focus.

For the most part, I found the book very informative and interesting. There were spots of slow reading when the book focused on Jane's relatives or friends. Sometimes it wasn't immediately relevant and therefore uninteresting. I'm glad to say that those parts are not so dry as to make you want to put the book down and it picked up quite nicely afterwards.

Jane was raised a preacher's kid and her faith played a prominent role in her life. She was also a perfectionist and did not feel secure enough in her writing to publish her books right away. Some of her books she worked on for 20 years...writing and re-writing. I also found it very interesting that we have no real portrait or likeness of this author to pass down to her readers.

What I found most interesting to read about is how the "Cult of Jane" began after her death and how it built. Her whole personality was sanitized and she was made out to be very different than she actually was. Even her appearance was "adjusted". It wasn't until the 20th century that the true Jane was recovered.

If you have any interest in Jane Austen I would recommend this book. She is was an interesting, yet quite average individual with a great talent. The book left me feeling like this was a person I wish I had been able to meet and know. At this time I have only read two of her novels, but after finishing the biography I look forward to reading the the others on my book shelves.

Lucky for me I actually own most of her books...I just have never picked them up to read - beyond Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. So which of the others should I pick up first?


  1. I'm a fan, but I have to admit, I've seen more of the movies, and only read Pride & Prejudice. :)

  2. You know I love Jane Austen :)

    I love all her books but I have to say my favorites are by far Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Then again Northanger Abbey and Mansfield Park are wonderful too LOL

    I don't know, just pick either one and read, I think you'll enjoy them :)

  3. I signed up to be a reviewer also, but the first book I got was an electronic copy of Fearless and I still haven't read it. I don't love e-books, actually never read one before. I love Jane Austen too, have you seen all the different reading/book challenges there are to join online? I joined three... a Bronte sisters challenge, Victorian book challenge, and 451 Challenge. So fun to have a goal and "team mates" to share with.

  4. I have been out of the Blogland loop - but I had to comment on this one, even though it is old. Austen is fabulous. I will have to send my sister over to this review too, because she is a fanatic. I am reading an interesting commentary on Austen's political views, according to what she writes about in her books. Interesting to see how people interpret her writing.
    I think Pride and Prejudice is my favorite, but I do love Mansfield Park too. Oh, and Emma too. Seriously, they are all good.