Jane Austen is one of the world’s most popular novelists and Susannah Fullerton is one of her biggest fans. She’s an authority on Austen, President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia and author of several books about Austen and her novels. Her most recent book is a short, delightful volume explaining her love of the famous author. Called Jane and I, it is appropriately sub-titled A Tale of Austen Addiction.
A BOOK GEM
I wasn’t entirely sure about an account of discovering Austen, but this is a gem of a book. Part autobiography, part memoir, Jane and I is a passionate tribute to the power of the written word. Susannah recalls growing up in a book-filled house and how her loving parents read to her. She remembers how different fictional characters influenced and affected her. Milly-Molly-Mandy, Anne of Green Gables, Jane Eyre, and the Billabong family, among many others. She read poetry and studied the classics at university and rediscovered Georgette Heyer later in life. Watch Stephen Fry speaking about Georgette here.
But for Susannah, nothing can surpass Jane Austen’s novels. Beautifully intermingled with her account of growing up and leaving home, university, marriage and family life, is the all-important role of Austen in her life. In just seventy pages, enriched by gorgeous pictures and pithy Austen quotes, she reminded me of the wonder of books and why they matter. This is much more than just a memoir or a tale of discovering Jane Austen’s six novels. This is the story of how books enrich life. It is an enchanting, enthralling tale of discovery that will inspire and amuse. It is also a timely reminder of why every child should know and love books.