Book Spotlight + A Jane Austen Giveaway | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: Book Spotlight + A Jane Austen Giveaway

September 14, 2015

Book Spotlight + A Jane Austen Giveaway

Autumn has arrived, school has started and things are beginning to calm down for me. Around this time of year I am drawn back to Jane Austen and often find myself rereading one of her books.  Just the other day a professor caught me reading Pride & Prejudice, giving us the opportunity to fan girl over it!

If you are looking for something Jane Austen to read, you might be interested in Lisa Pliscou's new book, just published this year, titled Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer. Read on for a chance to win a signed copy of the new book!

What was Jane Austen like as a child? What were her formative influences and experiences, her challenges and obstacles, that together set her on the path toward becoming a writer? Drawing upon a wide array of sources, including Austen’s own books and correspondence, Lisa Pliscou’s new biography illuminates the life and creative development of the youthful Jane, and the fascinating connections to her mature work.

Lavishly annotated, designed with a beautifully evocative antique sensibility, and featuring 20 specially commissioned illustrations, Young Jane Austen is sure to intrigue anyone interested in Jane Austen, her enduring legacy, and the triumph of the artistic spirit.

Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer by Lisa Pliscou.
Review by Abby Stambach

Despite being one of the most well known writers in British literature, not much is known about Jane Austen’s childhood. Therefore, a formal biography of her early years would be extremely difficult. Young Jane Austen is a speculative biography since it mixes known biographic information with general information from the time to form the narrative. Some parts are true while other parts are author Lisa Pliscou's,“best guess.” I will admit, I was a bit hesitant after reading the introduction but that feeling was gone once I was a few chapters in.

Young Jane Austen is divided into two parts. The first is the story and the second is an annotated version. I especially like the second part because you would see where Pliscou incorporated her sources. I actually switched to the second part of the book because I found myself constantly flipping to read the notes. Pliscou included a brief biography and a timeline of Austen’s life at the end. For anyone unfamiliar with Jane Austen, this is a great addition.

Sometimes biographies are hard to read because there is so much information packed into the pages but Young Jane Austen is very readable. Even though the narrative wasn’t jam-packed with facts, I did get a sense of what probably influenced Austen to become an author. Additionally, the book’s illustrations and design makes it very fun and delightful. The non-annotate part could be enjoyed by readers of all ages. I plan on giving it to my niece since it would be a great way to introduced her to the world of Jane Austen.

Young Jane Austen is a fun and charming book that is a must read for any Janeite or any future Janeite.

Abby Stambach is the College Archivist and Reference Coordinator Librarian at The Sage Colleges. You can follow her on Twitter at @ArchivistAbby


In celebration of the season and re-visiting Jane Austen, please enter a giveaway  for the chance to win one signed copy of  Young Jane Austen: Becoming a Writer.

How to Enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post by 11:59 pm, Wednesday September 30, 2015.

Winners will be announced on Thursday, October 1, 2015. Shipment to US addresses.

Good luck to all!


  1. My partner would love this. She's a really Janeite!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Derryn! Best of luck in the giveaway!

  2. Thank you, Leslie! And I must put in the word for the designer, Nancy Cleary, who did an amazing job creating such an evocative look of Jane's own time period!

  3. Hi! My name is Amy. This looks like an awesome read. I am attending the Jane Austen AGM in October. It would be awesome to read this!

  4. Thanks so much, Amy! How cool that you're going to the AGM. I hear it's an amazing experience!

  5. Hi: This is a very interesting and awesome giveaway, I really will like to win this giveaway!!! If I win, I will give in the future, this book to my grand daughter.

  6. Thank you for your kind words! Wishing you best of luck in the giveaway!

  7. Funny, you should mention Austen and this time of year. I hAppen to be reading Emma. ��

  8. Austen in autumn! Thanks for checking in, Danielle. :)

  9. I am reading my way through books about Jane Austen and would LOVE to receive a copy of yours! I am excessively diverted!!!
    ;-). Thanks for the chance!!!!!