Jane Austen’s First Love by Syrie James

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If you know me at all, you already know that I am a HUGE Jane Austen fan. Sadly, she only has a few novels to choose from…But that doesn’t stop me from being a die-hard devotee, thanks to the many authors out there who love her as much as I do. One wonderful thing about the legacy of Jane Austen is that it opens up a world of spin-off literature. Tribute sequels to the novels are wildly popular, and authors enjoy speculating on the life of the author herself, too.

Fans of Jane Austen will already know that Jane never married in her lifetime, and spent most of her life acting as a companion to her father. Her many novels about Edwardian love send out the message that despite her celibacy, she may have had some idea of love, herself. We love to speculate that Jane might have had a lover once, too. Jane Austen’s First Love, by Syrie James, is a devoted follow-through on this very fantasy.

Jane Austen is 15 years old, one step behind her debutante sister and desperately hoping for love and adventure, despite being very much under her mother’s thumb. Enter Edward Taylor (Yes, Edward-if you read Austen, you will immediately think of Sense and Sensibility), a college-bound young man who saves Jane when her carriage gets stuck in the mud (sounds like Emma, doesn’t it?) The politics of marriage and courting are exhibited in Jane Austen’s First Love just as well as they are in the novels by Austen, herself, and fans will not be disappointed. Definitely worth picking up for your fellow Austen lover as a Christmas gift this year.

If you enjoy Jane Austen’s First Love, and other Austen spin-off literature, please also be sure pull up this Goodreads List of Jane Austen Spin-offs and check them out!

You Should Have Known by Jean Hanff Korelitz

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You Should Have Known, by Jean Hanff Korelitz, is a suspense novel unlike anything I’ve ever read. In the vein of Gone Girl, this story unwinds in ways you could not see coming and leaves the reader shaking his/her head and sitting in stunned shock.

Grace Reinhart Sachs is a New York couples therapist and mother. Her life is exactly the way she always wanted it to be. No surprises, just the normal day to day routine with her son’s school and extracurricular activities, her husband a busy pediatric oncologist. She’s so pleased with her life, in fact, she has decided to write a self-help book for the poor sad women in the world who haven’t had the common sense to follow her own example. Just before the book is about to be released, telling women that they should have known all along that their husbands were cheaters, liars, addicts, hopelessly under-employed, (and worse)-Grace gets the shock of her life…

Seems like her husband may have had a few secrets of his own. A mother from her son’s school comes up murdered, and the police keep trying to find out what Grace may know about the crime and the victim. But Grace just doesn’t understand why they think she might know something…The woman was barely even on her radar. When the facts start raining down on her and she realizes she really didn’t know her husband at all, the brutal truth has the potential to ruin her entire life, or at least the life she always thought was perfect.

You Should Have Known, by Jean Hanff Korelitz, is a psychological suspense novel. I wouldn’t call it a “thriller” per se, because most of the novel is not action, but the slow unveiling of truth to a woman who thought she knew it all. I thought the audiobook was excellent for my work commute and for housework-but don’t listen while being interrupted a lot, because if you miss something you will be very confused! Every detail counts in You Should Have Known, which is a novel entirely comprised of little details which lead up to one horrifying conclusion…You’ll have to read it or listen to it if you want to know more!