Book Review: Jane Austen: A Life Revealed by Catherine Reef

Jane Austen’s popularity never seems to fade. She has hordes of devoted fans, and there have been numerous adaptations of her life and work. But who was Jane Austen? The writer herself has long remained a mystery. And despite the resonance her work continues to have for teens, there has never been a young adult trade biography on Austen.

Catherine Reef changes that with this highly readable account. She takes an intimate peek at Austen’s life and innermost feelings, interweaving her narrative with well-crafted digests of each of Austen’s published novels. The end result is a book that is almost as much fun to read as Jane’s own work—and truly a life revealed.

Release Date:  April 18, 2011
Publisher:  Clarion Books
Age Group:  Young Adult
Pages:  192
Source:  NetGalley

I am no fan of non-fiction, especially biographies, but I love all things Jane Austen and decided to give this book a try.   I'm glad I did!  I knew I wanted to learn more about Austen when I found myself watching the "making of" documentary on my Pride and Prejudice DVD. 

This book moved quickly and gave interesting background information about Austen: her family members and family relationships, her different houses and cities of residence, and some insight into her love life.  Austen never married but had several suitors and was in love at least once. 

One neat feature of Jane Austen: A Life Revealed was the inclusion of the circumstances surrounding the writing of each of Austen's novels.  Each novel was introduced in the order they were written and the book includes descriptions of each of Austen's works.  I noticed how the characters in Austen's books related to people she knew in real life, and oftentimes the situations the characters find themselves in paralleled what was happening at the time in Austen's world.

I would recommend this book to fans of biographies and fans of Jane Austen.  It was a quick read that left me with further knowledge of one of my favorite writers.

Just One Gripe: 
This book would probably be best viewed as a hard copy.  Some of the illustrations and family trees were distorted in the e-book version.

The Best Thing About This Book: 
I loved the look at Jane Austen's daily life.  Her daily routines and habits were fascinating to me.

Appropriate for a younger audience: 




  1. Great review, Kelli! I love anything Jane Austen, so I definitely need to get my paws on this...though probably in hard copy like you said! :)

  2. I'll have to get this book when it's published from the library. It reminded me a bit of the movie "Becoming Jane" which I loved. Looking forward to the book! Thanks for your review, Kelli. :)


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