• Berkley/ NAL Penguin Group
  • ISBN: 978-0425271353



Here are some nice things that others have said

(Click the link to read full review)

"Syrie James has woven a quite delightful romance-not only a touching record of a young girl's first experience of love, but also a funny, eventful and entertaining comedy of Regency manners...As ever, James's ear for dialogue is unfaltering, and her sympathy for her heroine whole-hearted. It all adds up to an unashamedly romantic package, presented with affection and respect." -Jane Austen's Regency World Magazine

"James has a way of getting into Austen’s head and her style that is truly riveting. A realistic tale that could have been written by the revered author herself. James’s latest will charm Austen fans (and fans of James, too) as well as Austen unfamiliars...Romance fans will root for Jane all the way." -Bette-Lee Fox, Library Journal

"In Jane Austen’s First Love, Syrie James — author of previous Austen-themed books, as well as such titles as “Dracula, My Love” and “The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Brontë” — builds a novel around a little-known episode in Jane Austen’s life. Austen’s teenaged acquaintance with Edward Taylor, heir to an estate in Kent and the scion of a remarkable family, earned several mentions in her letters as the man 'on whom I once fondly doated'; James has used this connection as the basis for a richly imagined novel about youthful love and matchmaking in Austen’s time. The author’s extensive research into dates, events and manners of the period is clear in every page. The exposition and dialogue are full of allusions to Austen’s own writing... The more you know about Austen and the world of her novels, the more you’ll enjoy this entertaining story about what might have been." -Seattle Times

What a delightful surprise this book was!! A lovely, charming and beautifully written account of Jane Austen’s first love interest, Edward Taylor, inspired by true events.... I was enraptured and caught away by the mention of balls, picnics, garden parties, long walks and similar activities that the family engaged in. The visual detail of the aforementioned was splendid and I felt transported back in time where I could be a spectator of Jane’s young life. Character development was excellent and I could easily envision many of the key family members, friends and acquaintances that were met with while I read along... I trust you will be thrilled when you read Jane Austen’s First Love. MAGNIFICENT, and highly recommended!"

"Not only based on James’s extensive research on the enigmatic Edward Taylor, but so many of the personalities are real, and the dates and events astonishingly match, which make this masterwork feel like a real memoir. Readers will race to the conclusion, not only for the enjoyable writing, but with a faint hope of a blissful ending, one typical of an Austen novel. Highly recommended." -Historical Novel Society

"Jane Austen as a Teenager!!! Brilliant Characters. Full of Romance. I’m so very impressed and amazed with how much research, truths, and actual events/people were used as the foundation of this story. Imaginative, thoughtful, and expertly crafted – Syrie James has done it again! With her dexterous blend of truth, supposition, and fiction her stories creatively and beautifully render the life, romances, and secrets we all dearly wish Jane Austen to have had."
-Austenesque Reviews

"JANE AUSTEN’S FIRST LOVE by Bestselling Author Syrie James, was the first book I had read of this author, but it will most assuredly not be my last. Ms. James proved to have the innate ability to seemingly channel the bard herself. JANE AUSTEN’S FIRST LOVE was a wonderful telling of Jane’s first foray into the social arena... As with all Austen novels, Ms. James addresses the complexities of family, social class and romantic relationships and creates beautiful well-rounded, multidimensional characters that you hate to say 'good-bye' to.

It is obvious that Ms. James did a great deal of research into Miss Austen’s history and has the unique ability to weave historical facts and fiction seamlessly together to create a beautiful, riveting and delightful tale of romance and first love. If you are a Jane Austen aficionado, like myself, make sure to add all of Ms. James’ works to your Christmas list!"

"Syrie James discovered the real Edward Taylor mentioned in Jan Austen's letters. Ms. James wrote a wonderful story... with such perfect historical content, wonderful loving characters and humor that you will laugh out loud. I definitely recommend this book to everyone. It's a lovely romance with a little humor tucked in." -Night Owl Reviews TOP PICK

"A wonderful, charming and lively story of what might have been. James presents readers with an evocative and sweet romance that reads like Emma... This enchanting tale will have readers recalling their first love: the joy, the nervousness, and the sadness of parting. Simply a lovely novel!" -Romantic Times Book Reviews

"To put it plainly, I loved this book. I simply could not put this book down. I was enraptured from the first sentence, desperate to know about this first love of Jane's, feeling her heartache and emotions and falling in love with the feisty character of Jane as well. ...Ah, Edward Taylor. Is it wrong that I fell in love with this young man that so enchanted Jane Austen in this telling?... Already a fan of Syrie James and her earlier works, Jane Austen's First Love only cements my opinion of her as one of the very best historical fiction writers today and one of a small and elite group of Jane Austen successors. Having her Author Afterward detailing how the idea for this book was brought to fruition and the immense amount of research she conducted, using real people and events, was a parting gift at the end of this work. Thank you, Syrie James, for this enchanting, sweet and lovely book - - one that has earned a permanent place in my home library and easily one of the very best books I have read this year." -Psychotic State Book Reviews

"Romantic, wistful and richly engrossing, fans of the beloved Miss Austen will delight in Syrie James’ well-researched, evocative story of the summer Jane is believed to have first fallen in love... Syrie James does a remarkable job of returning us to Regency England in the company of 'characters' that actually feel like friends... Jane Austen’s First Love will be a welcome addition to the shelves of Janeites everywhere — and those interested in a good love story will rejoice in it, too." -Write Meg

"I absolutely loved this book. This is going on my 'I want this in print' list as well as 'I'll more than likely read this again' list... I’ve always read and known about Jane, the author, the grown woman. What a treat it was to read about Jane, the young lady, who’s just trying to find herself. She loves to write, she has a wildly adventurous side, and she thinks, at 15, that she might die if she has to wait until age 17 to come out. She’s also quite the matchmaker... Another one of my favorite things about this book was the portrayal of the relationship between Jane and Edward. It was sweet, it was just how a young courtship during that time period should have been." -Bibliolatry Me

"It was not until reading the Author's Afterword that I learned that Edward Taylor was an actual person! … a second reading left me so very hopeful that maybe, just maybe, it happened that way, that our beloved Jane did experience a first love (and even heartache), which made me adore this story all the more. With a manifold of bestsellers behind her, Syrie James is an incomparable storyteller, turning obscure details from personal research into inspired, yet richly embellished, fictional narratives. Jane Austen's First Love is a lively, romantic 'what if' that will make you laugh, as well as tug at your heart...You must add Syrie James' latest work to your Summer Reading List." - -Austenprose

"Dearest Reader, I have discovered a most charming and delightful novel based this time not upon some of my imagined characters, but upon my own life as a 15-year-old young lady. The authoress of this enchanting novel is Mrs. Syrie James. I find her to be a very clever writer, and that is indeed high praise coming from me, is it not? First, I can tell that Mrs. James thoroughly understands my life and my work... I was truly impressed by the way Mrs. James so accurately depicts the characters of my dearest Cassandra and my own mamma. Upon my word, it is almost as if she knew them! I do believe that you will enjoy reading Jane Austen’s First Love as much as I did!" -In the Spirit of Jane

"Beautifully written...In this delightful novel, told from the first person viewpoint of Jane herself, James portrays Jane as a girl quick to fall in love, open with her opinions, and astute in her observations of human character and behavior... James does such a fantastic job creating a believable inner narrative, I had to keep reminding myself that I wasn’t actually inside Jane’s head reading her thoughts. Jane Austen’s First Love is another book likely to turn up on my Best of 2014 list!" - -Diary of an Eccentric

"Syrie James has quite the reputation as the queen of romance and I just want to know how I have never been introduced to her books before? After reading this four hundred page book in a day and a half, I feel that I should dive quickly into all her others. She brought Jane Austen to life for me like no other author ever has...The writing was marvelous and the characters were just as real as you and me.... It was all so well-written and very true to what we know of Jane’s character. I was so impressed with how easily the author was able to place me in the time period and make me feel like I belonged. I would sit down right now and read this entire book again; it was that good! Not only did I love this book but it inspired me to go and pick up one of Austen’s books from my shelves and begin rereading. I think any book that can do that deserves to be read over and over again!" - -Charming Chelsey's

"James has thoroughly researched both Austen and the time period. She faithfully recreates Regency customs and courtship rituals and her characters are interesting and charming. I especially loved the young Jane Austen. She's a smart and witty tomboy who is not afraid to speak her mind...she's just like I imagined her to be at that age. And Edward Taylor, although no Mr Darcy, is definitely worthy of the affections of our heroine. His charm is very difficult to resist...Although this is a fictional work, it was so accurate that I felt like things could have really happened the way that James describes them. Jane Austen's First Love is truly a delightful read, which I highly recommend to all Janeites. " -History and Other Thoughts

"I loved this novel. It perfectly captured the time period, and the wit of Jane Austen. I also loved how author Syrie James took a line from a letter Austen had written…and turned it into a fresh novel of Austen's life. This is one love of Austen's that I have never heard of and I thought the novel was fascinating as well as a fun pleasure read. To me it seemed as good as discovering another Austen novel that I had somehow missed... Overall, Jane Austen's First Love is a fresh, fascinating look into the life of Jane Austen and a mysterious new love." -Laura's Reviews

"Meeting the lively and enigmatic Edward Taylor, Jane is besotted as any young girl would be who finds someone she admires in looks and in intelligence. But he also challenges her outlook on society and its traditions, as well as her own role in that society. James has created a complex relationship that could have happened in real life, and perhaps helped to shape Austen’s views on society, love, and more.... James cannot be praised enough for her ingenuity and dedication to the spirit of Austen and her novels. She pays tribute to a young Jane in the best way possible. Jane Austen’s First Love by Syrie James is the author’s best novel yet, and a must read for anyone who loves historical fiction, Jane Austen, or coming of age stories. This is a definite contender for the 2014 Best Reads List." -Savvy Verse and Wit

"Syrie James confirms her skills as brilliant story-teller and creator of lively pictures of Regency life... As she has already done in The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen and The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen, Syrie James manages to create relatable characters, to mingle history and fiction in a credible, pleasant way...Her thorough research and deep respect for the authoress transpires from the pages of this lovely story of young love... The two young protagonists are so easy to love: smart, brave and witty teenage Jane--who is also the first-person narrator in the story--is enchanting, while devilishly handsome Edward Taylor is temptingly irresistible. A fresh and engaging new story, which is a real feast for any Austen fan. This book can’t be missing on your Austenesque shelf and would be a very special gift to young readers you want to initiate into Jane Austen’s world." -My Jane Austen Book Club

"Romantic, genuine, and charming. I found myself believing in the possibility that the story could be true.... An extremely satisfying read. Syrie never disappoints!" -The Romance Dish

"This is a must-have addition to any Austenite's collection, and will provide several sublime hours of entertainment in the reading, which will linger long after the last page has been turned." -Kincavel Korner

"Jane is a delightful, romantic and at times immature youth. Edward is handsome, well-traveled, educated and charming beyond his 17 years. I could understand their attraction to each other. As her affection for him grows, I was reminded of my younger self on many occasions. The emotions we feel at that age are so intense—they’re very new, exciting and open-ended. They could lead to nothing, or… to everything... First Love firmly stands alone as a satisfying novel...I would feel comfortable recommending this to anyone. The writing is excellent, the content decorous and the characters entertaining. Whether or not this is your first venture with Jane, First Love is a delightful speculation on a young girl whose life retains untold secrets to this day." -Calico Critic

"Dare I say it?! It's as if Miss Austen is writing it herself and giving us a glimpse of what she'll soon write in her classics - Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility. I loved this peek into Jane Austen's early life and of Syrie James's translation of what events in Jane's early life later shaped and inspired her writing...the story of Jane's and Edward's meeting and romance is very real - and oh so Austen. If you loved any of Jane Austen's classic novels, then this is a must-read for you." -Books for Her

"Syrie James is magnificent!...This is a fun adventure back to the early days of Austen's life...Jane is just finding that spark of imagination, that lightning rod of creativity, that she would hone over time to become a brilliant author. You can bet Jane Austen is somewhere smiling, extremely proud of the woman who sits at a computer and brings her - the woman, the author, and her magic - back to life. Syrie James is magnificent! 'Class-A' writing is what this author always delivers, and this early Austen adventure is truly unforgettable!" -Feathered Quill

"I loved the way the story progressed. The buildup to the romance was perfect. I particularly appreciate that this piece felt original...'Jane Austen’s First Love' is incredibly romantic without violating the customs from the time period (as so many others often do) and incredibly well researched. I love that Ms. James respected the history and still managed to spin a compelling tale.... If you like Austen, I’m pretty confident you’ll enjoy this. Really want to read more Austen stories from Syrie James!" -Royal Social Media

"Through careful research and thorough knowledge of Jane Austen's novels, James brings the events and people to life and puts the reader on the scene with excellent period detail. And, most fun of all for the savvy Janite, is to find the seeds of so many characters and events from the novels Jane Austen went on to write woven deftly into the plot... Jane Austen's First Love will delight the reader whether a seasoned Jane Austen scholar or a casual reader looking for something different in a delightful period romance." -Donna Fletcher Crow, Deeds of Darkness

"Syrie James described a wonderful portrayal of a teenage Jane and a mature Jane. There is a fluidness to the two, the older Jane with the same basic personality as when when she was young, but she is settled and able to reflect on her young life. There are lessons to be learned from the story of Jane Austen's First Love. Love cannot be forced. A mature person understands and accepts this. A young person does not understand the dynamics of allowing love to grow and develop over time. A young person feels the need to rush. A mature person understands the serious nature of real love. I love the relationship of Cassandra and Jane. They are two sisters that allow each other to be the unique personalities they are, neither one tries to change the other, but accepts with grace and patience... I enjoyed finding nuggets of character traits that I've recognized as being used in Jane Austen books." -Impressions in Ink

"This was such a sweet and delightful novel! If you enjoy the writings of Jane Austen, you are sure to enjoy this Austen inspired novel as well. The author, Syrie James, has taken a sentence from a letter Jane wrote to her sister Cassandra, and has created a wonderful story of what if... Filled with historical persons in Jane Austen's real life, as well as hinting at some of her novel's characters and plots throughout, this book is sure to put a smile on the face of any reader who loves her." -Thoughts on Books

"Delightful...This is an especially fun read for someone who knows a bit about Austen’s life... Jane has just the sensibility we would imagine. Jane’s belief that 'where true love reigns, ... anything is possible' is certainly what enables marriages in the novels...[a] beautiful story imagining what might have happened the summer Edward Austen got engaged." Fans of Jane

"This Jane Austen is fearless, fierce and adventurous. Tomboy-like, almost, but only when a challenge is put upon her. This Jane Austen is also boy-crazy! But only for one particular boy... Syrie James showed us exactly why she’s the resident expert on everything Jane Austen. This woman lives and breathes lost journals and publications relating to Austen. It is no wonder that she continues to make an almost perfect recount in every single Austenesque novel. If you’re a fan, you must check out all the books that she’s written so far." -Joyous Reads

"Exquisite...Jane Austen’s First Love is a wonderful read for any Jane Austen enthusiast. Jane really comes alive thanks to Ms. James and you will love every page." Kinx’s Book Nook

"I really enjoyed getting to know my favorite author when she was 15 and simply observing the world around her... I loved seeing the world through her eyes and watching her fall in love for the first time... Any Jane Austen fan will enjoy this historical novel. I loved getting lost in Jane's world that was beautifully captured by Syrie James." Peace Love Books

"It was like watching a beautiful BBC production unfold before you on paper...The writing is just gorgeous and you lose yourself as James effortlessly transports you back to eighteenth century England... This was a delightful read and such a great escape. James, ‘Afterward’, made me fully appreciate the research that had been conducted and that this is not just a flight of fancy – it is a story that was researched and well crafted." Royal Reviews

"An exquisite portrait of a youthful, vibrant Jane, who at fifteen is eager to explore the possibility of romance while honing her writing craft. James knows Austen's world like few others, her prose saturated with the period's rhythm of speech and colorful descriptors that bring everyday existence in the early nineteenth century to vibrant, technicolor life on the page...I am SO intrigued by the possibility that a youthful Jane's first brush with romance may have been with this Edward Taylor, heretofore completely unknown to me, and yet such a fascinating potential hero template!" -Book Talk & More

"James truly captures the wit and style of Austen's writing and expertly writes it into the character itself, keeping true to the Jane we love… If you're a fan of classics or Jane Austen, then I would highly recommend this novel as it definitely does justice to its namesake and brings you back to an era not often indulged in these days." Janelle in Wonderland

"Syrie James does a wonderful job of preserving the warm humor and classic matchmaking foibles that have entertained Austenites from the beginning. Readers of all ages will enjoy Jane and Edward's antics and faulty first impressions. It is truly an enjoyable story." -Coffeetime Romance

"For all of you Jane Austen buffs this is one book you need to get your hands on. Syrie's writing gives you the feeling that you're there with Jane, experiencing everything with her, a fascinating look into the life of one of the greatest authors who ever lived, who still leaves an impression today all these years later of the work she left behind." Head Stuck In A Book

"A welcome and creative adition to the Austen-inspired genre, one I'm sure many fans of Jane's works will enjoy." Journal of a Dutch 20-Something

"It was so refreshing to read this historical fiction of Jane Austen and her first love, Edward Taylor. With Austen’s love of life and adventurous side, this book wasn’t smothered in romance but quirky and fun in addition to the excitement of courtship in the late 1700’s...I highly recommend this book, especially for those who love Jane Austen novels." Build a Bookshelf

"In true Austen style, Syrie James weaves together a tale of a fifteen-year-old Jane...Not only does Jane fall in love, but she is challenged by Edward to see the world differently, to not be swayed by popular opinion but to be true to herself. I liked seeing how Jane's life is shaped by this visit. She learns valuable lessons about people and relationships, and that maybe she should not judge people too quickly. I loved seeing people who looked familiar. People from whom Jane might someday use as characters in her stories… I really enjoyed Jane Austen's First Love! It may have been a fictional story of a fifteen-year-old Jane, but she is as inquisitive and adventurous as I imagined her to be! I would highly recommend it to all Jane Austen fans!" -So Little Time

"Something unusual in the world of Austen-inspired fiction...I certainly enjoyed it!"
Babblings of a Bookworm

"Awesome! It resembled a true Austen novel in so many ways. Even through the 'romance' there was plenty of comedy to go around. Jane is marvelously written, and behaved just as you might imagine the real Austen did... I highly recommend this book to long-time Austen readers, fans of Austen movies, or anyone who has never read Austen's works at all. I think you'll want to after you read this story." The Sweetest Place is Home

"Facts cleverly meshed with a pleasant series of youthful summer pursuits...set the background for this fanciful tale...with a host of new characters to enjoy." -Historical-fiction.com

"James offers a tale of first love and delightful complications... I am intrigued by the idea that these events may have taken place and shaped the books I know and love... James’ tale moves at a quick pace, drawing the reader into the England of long ago. Aspects of the plot echo bits of multiple Jane Austen novels, giving the reader the sense that they might know what happens next only to be surprised by the next plot twist. The readers can see Jane Austen, the writer, begin to emerge from the young girl...Jane as a character delighted. Her spirit and humor resonated through the book...I recommend it for historical romance fans and Jane Austen readers. There is plenty in the book to enjoy and a few chuckles along the way."
Luxury Reading

"Fans of all things Austen will have fun with this."-Booklist

"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." - -Library Crystal

"For the first time, thanks to Syrie James’s research, Jane Austen fans are treated to a glimpse of Jane Austen as a teenager experiencing all the pangs of first love...Edward Taylor comes alive in the pages of this book—is it possible he inspired some of Jane Austen’s most memorable characters? ... Jane Austen fans will enjoy the image of her portraying Puck in the theatrical as well as the casual allusions to Austen’s own works." -Much Madness is Divinest Sense

"A delightfully charming re-imagining of a time in Jane Austen’s life and of what might have been... Highly recommended for Austen fans or those new to Austen. The extensive research that Syrie James put into this novel shines through on every page and she highlights her inspiration and the fact that this novel is based on true events and real characters in her superb author’s note. Jane Austen’s First Love is truly an enjoyable novel and I absolutely adored it! " -Peeking Between the Pages

"Author Syrie James has done very well when it comes to writing novels about literary figures, particularly Jane Austen as her prior books The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen and The Missing Manuscript of Jane Austen have shown... Her newest title, however, Jane Austen's First Love, pretty much outdoes them both... Here, we find Jane at fifteen, anxious to be out and about in the world, especially when it comes to dances and being allowed the fashionable privilege of powdering her hair... I am delighted to be spreading the good word about this delightful book. Ms. James has a strong flair for Regency era writing and she captures the essence of our dear Jane remarkably well." -Living Read Girl

"At times as I was reading this book, I found myself feeling that this was a true accounting of Jane Austen as a young fifteen year old girl discovering her first love, the dashing Edward Taylor. The words were written in the style of Jane Austen and it was all beautifully done. Thank you, Syrie James, for making this a real and emotive experience. Well done! I highly recommend this book. It is one to savor and to feel." -More Agreeably Engaged

"Syrie James effortlessly captures the sweetness of teenage crushes - the uncertainty, the wish to impress, jealously, and the sudden certainty that, yes, this person above all others is destined to be your one-and-only. But readers know, simply by the introduction to the novel, that this teenage love is destined to be bittersweet. Jane herself tells us that she "once" was fond of Edward Taylor and James does a remarkable job giving the reader an engaging romantic plot while staying true to the biographical history of her very famous protagonist." -Scuffed Slippers and Wormy Books

"James has written a refreshing and imaginative Austen-inspired story that truly seems to capture the essence of the Georgian era and Jane Austen herself. I found the story to be a fun and delightful read. The writing was engaging and showed what a creative mind James possesses. And the characters were lively and very relatable - making it easy to befriend them. I really enjoyed reading Jane Austen's First Love by Syrie James and would happily recommend it to fans of Syrie James and fans of Jane Austen - you will LOVE this book!!" -A Bookish Way oif Life

"Syrie James excels in imagining the voice of a young Jane Austen, full of the exuberance and energy of youth. The voice of the mature woman is equally compelling and poignant." -Woman on a Wire

"A captivating read. Any Austen fan would like to think that Jane herself had been in love at least once even though she never married and this book fulfills our greatest wish as fans---to see Austen in love. James has done her research for the novel and really brings the characters to life. Edward Taylor was a real person and just the sort of man Jane would have been drawn to... A beautiful love story. A fitting interlude that while it brings pangs of regret for its ending can only be looked back upon with fond remembrance." -For the Love of Austen

"What I liked about the story and James's portrait of a very young Jane Austen is that she acted her age--she was young and full of life and not pedantic--but her heart and sense of ethics were solid. She learned from her mistakes, was humbled, and grew in self-awareness and compassion. I love to think of the author I've loved for so long as developing from this sweet, intelligent girl. Kudos to Syrie James for creating a lovable, believable heroine in Jane Austen as a teenager. Jane Austen's First Love is a delightful antidote to the January doldrums and I can recommend it highly." -Reading, Writing, Working, Playing

"There are some great twists and turns that will keep you reading... It was fun the whole way....So much of the book is based on actual events and people, so the follow up is fascinating!" -Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide

" I love how historically accurate Syrie James keeps her novels, while adding her own flair. She writes vividly, using beautiful descriptive passages so I feel like I am physically present in the story. I just loved Jane throughout the entire book. She was well written as what we’d imagine a 15 year old girl to be like during this time period, not so different from today’s teens actually... Syrie James does an admirable job of telling a fictional, though inspired by actual events, coming of age story as we see a young girl on the cusp of womanhood, getting her first real “grown up” experiences, and enjoying everything life has to offer. We see how her love of writing was always there and the beginnings of what would be become a career that is still well loved to this day." - -Kwips and Kritiques