"The haste with which he came to our relief so soon after the receipt of our Note, spoke so greatly in his favour that I hesitated not to pronounce him at first sight, a tender and sympathetic Friend. Alas! He little deserved the name - for though he told us that he was much concerned at our Misfortunes, yet by his own account it appeared that the perusal of them, had neither drawn from him a single sigh, nor induced him to bestow one curse on our vindictive stars -."
- Love & Friendship, Letter the 12th
How fickle the fancies of a silly young lady! One of my favorite things about Austen is how she manipulates appearances, first impressions, and prejudices to expose the hubris of humans. Yet no matter how much she presents Mrs. Norris as loathsome and Mrs. Elton as despicable, I can't help but still love them, and therefore sympathize with them; it is one of many mind-boggling facets of Austen's geniuis. This is why I love sequels of redemption, like Lydia Bennet's Story and Mercy's Embrace. The "What If?" genre also provide plenty of room for redemption, and I engaged in a rather excessive amount of it in First Impressions. Even those who suffer my sorry fates are arguably better off than Austen left them.
Love and Friendship and Other Early Works, with an introduction by Sarah S. G. Frantz. This volume includes Lesley Castle, The History of England, and A Collection of Letters, all essential juvenalia. Please leave your comments, with email addresses, before 12:00 AM EST Wednesday, the 21st of April. This giveaway is open internationally. Good luck!