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All fans of Jane Austen everywhere believe themselves to be best friends with the beloved author and this book shines a light on what it meant to be exactly that. Jane Austen’s Best Friend; The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd offers a unique insight into Jane’s private inner circle. Through this heart-warming examination of an important and often overlooked person in Jane’s world, we uncover the life changing force of their friendship.

Each chapter details the fascinating facts and friendship forming qualities that tied Jane and Martha together. Within these pages we will relive their shared interests, the hits and misses of their romantic love lives, their passion for shopping and fashion, their family histories, their lucky breaks and their girly chats. This book offers a behind the scenes tour of the shared lives of a fascinating pair and the chance to deepen our own bonds in ‘love and friendship’ with them both.

Title : Jane Austen’s Best Friend
Author : Zoe Wheddon
Format : Hardback
Page Count : 224
Genre : Biography
Publisher : Pen & Sword Books
Release Date : February 28, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

Female friendships transcend time
Lows and highs
Sharing confidences

Any Austenite is going to appreciate stepping behind what was known of Jane Austen and getting a sneak peak into her bestie Martha Lloyd. Through this biographical read, the reader gets to see the impact this friendship had on Jane’s life but also the kind of friend Jane herself was.

This biography was well researched, full of historical details and it had some photos in the middle of the book to aid visualisation of places that were signficant to this friendship. It was interesting that Martha was actually ten years older than Jane but there wasn’t a superiority or power imbalance arising out of that fact.

I was definitely heartwarmed by the same facets of friendship I value, being seen in the relationship between Jane and Martha. When the going got tough with health, grief and life’s difficulties, they were there for one another. Martha was a practical friend as well as a confidante. The chapter that was written on Martha after Jane’s death was a bit of a heart punch, maybe because I’ve always admired Jane so very much.

This was a great insightful biography and writing from the friendship perspective felt fresh. The writing was detailed and so I chose to read this over a number of days and enjoyed that approach. This is definitely a book that will thrill Austen lovers.

Thank you to Pen & Sword Books for the review copy.

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