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Love & Freindship (sic) and Other Delusions
By Beth Andrews
A Book Review

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Love & Freindship (sic) and Other Delusions

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Love & Freindship (sic) and Other Delusions
By Beth Andrews
Ulverscroft Large Print, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-4448-2684-5
Genre: Historical Fiction

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - June 1, 2016

Jane Austen (1775-1817) wrote Love & Freindship (sic) when she was fourteen-years-old. Although unpolished and awkward at times, it shows the seeds of Austen's wit and skills as a writer that were to develop as she matured both in years and in writing ability. Beth Andrews has taken this juvenile work and not only polished Austen's prose, but also filled in some of the missing pieces from the work. The end result is a witty, satirical, and a slightly risque book that matches Austen's mature writing style that so many have come to love in books such as Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Sense and Sensibility, and so many other memorable works by this outstanding author.

Reimagining or writing sequels to the works of Jane Austen has become a literary fad. From the inclusion of zombies to turning a sequel to Pride and Prejudice into a murder mystery, modern authors have taken all sorts of liberties with Austen's story. The only thing not done yet (but I'm sure someone will soon tackle it), is having aliens invade Pemberley, but that is another matter. What I liked best about Love & Freindship (sic) and Other Delusions, is that Beth Andrews doesn't change the story or add elements that are untrue to Austen's original sentiments. Instead, Andrews has merely improved an already existing story by expanding upon the outline provided by Austen in the original text. In short, she has taken what is in essences a first draft and has polished the story in a way that is consistent with Austen's later writing style. The end result is pure Austen, featuring a satirical story line that is ofttimes overly dramatic, full of coincident, and cloaked in romanticism. In short, Andrews' polishing of Austen's story has created a work that will enthrall Austen fans, as well as those who happen to like reading satirical works of fiction.

Haven't read Austen's version of the story? Never fear, a complete and unedited version of Austen's story, complete with spelling errors is included in the book. Thus, readers can read the original version of Love & Freindship, and then compare it to the more mature version created by Andrews. For those unfamiliar with this work, the story follows the exploits of Laura, a delightful caricature of a truly romantic woman who falls in love with a man at first sight, and marries him the same day. Laura has had a remarkable life fill with love and loss, and she has composed her memoirs so that others can read of her adventures. She gives this manuscript to Marianne, the daughter of Isobel, her best friend. After Laura's death, Marianne has the book published, as had been requested. Love & Freindship is this unforgettable work, and through it Austen pokes fun at the Regency period and the overriding need of women to marry for position and wealth rather than for love, a theme that was to carry over into all her later works.

In Love & Freindship (sic) and Other Delusions Andrews has taken a minor work by Austen and moved up into the canon of her more popular works. Hopefully this large print edition of the text will enable more readers to discover, or rediscover, this often overlooked book by Austen. As with her later works, Andrews' version of the story is a must-read for all of Jane Austen fans!


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